Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Research Student: Ilaria Zavoli

In Absentia Proceedings and International Criminal Justice. Foundations, Operation and Future Perspectives

Photo of Ilaria Zavoli

In absentia proceedings have a history in International Criminal Justice since Nuremberg and they are used in current international legal cases. Nevertheless, they remain contested and the debate on in absentia origins from the different conceptions existing in civil law and common law systems.

These different approaches are present also in the international scenario. Indeed, the majority of international tribunals do not accept in absentia proceedings. Instead, the STL codified in absentia in its procedural rules and it applies it in the Ayyash et al. case.

Considering this background, there is a gap in the study of the foundations, operation and future perspectives of in absentia proceedings in International Criminal Justice.

My research will seek to fill this gap, proposing a clarification and an in-depth analysis of the phenomenon and determining a set of guidelines that can be used by international courts when dealing with in absentia. In existing studies, the emphasis is placed on trials in absentia. I will adopt a differentiated logic, by examining in absentia proceedings as a general category, comprehensive also of trials in absentia.

Firstly, I will analyze their historical precedents and their normative basis, focusing on the different approaches of common law and civil law and of four international courts.

Secondly, I will study the practice and effects of in absentia proceedings. I will consider them in each phase of international criminal proceedings and I will conduct interviews with main core actors. I will then analyze the impact and effectiveness of in absentia proceedings, giving particular attention to the values, interests and rights affected by in absentia and to the conflicts/accordance with the principles of International Criminal Justice.

Finally, I will address the question of the future perspectives of in absentia proceedings. In this sense, I will consider the weak and strong points of these proceedings and the alternative procedures to in absentia. Moreover, I will elaborate policy recommendations on the use of in absentia proceedings before international courts.

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