Protective measures for witnesses at the International Criminal Court: a human rights analysis

Pulvirenti, Rossella (2018) Protective measures for witnesses at the International Criminal Court: a human rights analysis. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In prosecuting those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) mainly relies on witnesses’ testimonies. However, witnesses can be easily intimidated and, as a consequence of that, refuse to testify or recant their testimony. Almost every ICC case has been affected, to different extents, by witness tampering. In certain cases, for instance, the Office of the Prosecutor was forced to drop the charges against the alleged responsible of the most heinous international crimes. From this perspective, an effective prosecution depends on an adequate system of protection from threats that may arise inside and outside the courtroom.

Focusing on protective measures for witnesses, this thesis endorses an innovative definition of protective measures based on Article 68 of the Rome Statute, according to which “[t]he Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses”. Since those appropriate measures should safeguard both witnesses’ safety and their well-being, this thesis proposes suggests to include, in addition to traditional protective measures applied inside and outside the courtroom, special measures for vulnerable witnesses and procedures which aim to familiarise witnesses with the ICC premises and prepare them for their testimony.

Although the ICC is an instrument to protect human rights, it may potentially violate some human rights. By analysing the case law and the transcript of ten cases before the ICC, this thesis examines how the ICC has interpreted and developed protective measures for witness and assesses whether the ICC has safeguarded witnesses’ human rights when interpreting and applying those measures. More specifically, this thesis focuses on witnesses’ right to life, the right to be free from torture (and inhuman and degrading treatment) and the right to privacy. Where witnesses’ rights have not been adequately protected by the ICC and its organs, this thesis proposes recommendations to make protective measures more respectful of witnesses’ human rights.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Jackson, John
Fraser, David
Keywords: international criminal court, protective measures, witness, victim
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Law
Item ID: 53026
Depositing User: Pulvirenti, Rossella
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2019 14:21
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2020 04:30

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