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International Criminal Investigations of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: A War Crimes Investigator's Perspective

NCJ Number
International Criminal Justice Review Volume: 19 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 175-191
John R. Cencich
Date Published
June 2009
17 pages
Written from the perspective of a war crime investigator, this article focuses on the unique problems that are associated with undertaking international criminal investigations.
Problems are identified in relation to investigating violations of international humanitarian law. These problems range from personal security and counterintelligence issues to providing unique elements of crimes and determining who is actually in charge of running the case. Many of the problems result from the differences in legal systems and in the end, there must be a true partnership between the investigators and the prosecutors. Overall, there should be more training for investigators and prosecutors at the time of initial assignment to an international case. First and foremost is the serious issue of personal security. This training should include protection from threats ranging from foreign intelligence services (FIS) and common criminals. There are many nuances, complexities, and problems associated with true international criminal investigations. In this article, 10 of the most significant problems encountered by war crimes investigators are laid out. The article is written through the author's personal experiences in Bosnia, Serbia, and Kosovo. Note and references