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The 2020 Brill Online Journal Collection International Law & Human Rights gives access to the online content available back to the year 2000 of Brill´s 2020 International Law & Human Rights journal program.

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Peter J. Kurlemann and Jörg Kinzig

The acquittal leads – compared to other phenomena – a shadowy existence in German criminal law and criminological science. A research team from the Institute of Criminology in Tübingen investigated criminal proceedings where the accused were held in pretrial detention before eventually being acquitted and categorized and described the proceedings from various perspectives utilising a multidisciplinary approach. The article deals with the role of doubt in such proceedings and the way in which so-called “second class acquittals” are expressed in written judgements. Furthermore, this article, besides providing an overview of exemplary main results, aims to inspire the scholarly community to pay more attention to acquittal decisions taken in different parts of criminal procedures, also within a comparative perspective.

Michele Caianiello

This work examines some current-time challenges to the basic principles concerning fact-finding in criminal proceedings. The starting point of the analysis is that, no matter the theoretical model adopted in a criminal justice system, the essence of fair trial is that each party shall enjoy an effective chance to tell its story and to challenge the story and the theses proposed by the counterparts.

This approach to criminal proceedings, that we can synthetically define as inspired by the art of doubt, seems nowadays under attack, because of the recent developments at the scientific and technological levels, and of their implication to fact-finding models at trial. In particular, in a cultural and legal framework showing a decreasing sensitivity to the rights of the defence, the “doubt-based” or Socratic traditional approach seems defied by three factors: the digital revolution; the raise and spreading use of neurosciences; and the increasing employment of artificial intelligence in adjudicating cases. The thesis here submitted is that the traditional bases of fact-finding at trial can endure even against these challenges, as far as lawyers and scholars will be able to keep a critical and doubt-oriented approach to the new scientific and digital evidentiary instruments made available by the current development of technology.

Elisabeth Martin

Ergul Celiksoy

Sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of release (irreducible life sentences) have been found to be inhumane and degrading by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Nevertheless, they continue to be imposed and implemented in Turkey. This paper examines the ongoing problem of irreducible life sentences in Turkish criminal and penal law. Firstly, it explores the different life imprisonment regimes in Turkish law, before addressing the question of release from life imprisonment. It then moves on to examine the jurisprudence of the ECtHR on irreducible life sentences and its judgments against Turkey. Subsequently, it discusses why and how the Turkish legislature and judiciary have remained indifferent to the issue of irreducible life sentences. It concludes by recommending how the Constitutional Court may be forced to play an affirmative role in the abolition of irreducible life sentences in Turkey.

Alejandro Sánchez Frías

The threat of foreign terrorist fighters has led to the development of preventive criminal law on an international and European level. The EU Directive on combating terrorism can have two impacts on the free movement of EU citizens. It directly calls upon Member States to criminalise the act of travelling, as well as other conduct that may be connected to a terrorist offence. In addition, ecj case law accepts EU criminal law as a basis for public security derogations against free movement. Therefore, the commission of any of the acts criminalised in the EU Directive on combating terrorism could be used as a reason to restrict the exercise of free movement by EU citizens. When Member States begin to adopt these measures, litigation on the balance between preventive criminal justice and free movement of EU citizens will increase.

Volker Nerlich

The International Criminal Court (‘icc’), just as any other court of law, has several audiences, which include the parties and participants to the proceedings, the legal community and the general public. Based on typologies developed for other courts, this paper seeks to identify categories of audiences of the icc. The identification of such categories may be helpful in understanding reactions to the Court’s work. It may also be a tool in identifying priority audiences for the Court and in managing expectations. Furthermore, identifying audiences potentially may help to explain why certain decisions are taken.