International criminal tribunals face an enormous task when they seek to analyse the thousands of pages of evidence that are presented in the course of their trials...
International criminal tribunals face an enormous task when they seek to analyse the thousands of pages of evidence that are presented in the course of their trials, and to draw conclusions on the guilt or innocence of accused persons based on that evidence. Yet, whilst rules of admissibility have been subjected to a great deal of academic commentary, many key debates relating to proof in international criminal trials have remained under-theorised to date. This paper discusses the evaluation of evidence in international criminal trials. It argues that, despite over two decades of practice in contemporary international criminal tribunals, no consistent approach as to how judges should weigh evidence and use it for fact-finding has emerged. The quality of evidence required to meet the standard of proof at different stages of proceedings in the International Criminal Court remains uncertain. Furthermore, it shall be argued that the structure of international criminal judgments can detract from the clarity of their findings, and this in turn has an impact on their legal and sociological legitimacy.
Yvonne McDermott Rees is Associate Professor of Law at the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University. She is the author of Fairness in International Criminal Trials (Oxford University Press, 2016) and over 50 journal articles and book chapters on international criminal procedure, human rights, and the law of evidence in international criminal trials. She is an Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, and a Door Tenant at Invictus Chambers, London.