School of Law

Research Student: Sylvia Ntube Ngane

The position of witnesses before the International Criminal Court (ICC)

My research is on the position of witnesses before the ICC, the extent to which they may be subject to the jurisdiction of this international organisation and what this tells us about the system of global governance.

It reflects ...

  • on the justification of universal jurisdiction over witnesses and the question of judicial authority by an international authority
  • and on the theory of crime and punishment, witnesses in crime and punishment, and the necessity of criminalising crimes against the administration of justice.

It examines ...

  • the risks and responsibilities of witnesses before the ICC grabbling with the complexities of ICC procedural laws
  • the possibility that the actions of witnesses may be criminalised and the justifications for imposing sanctions
  • an analysis of doctrinal practices of States
  • a comparative analysis of the rights, responsibilities and risk of witnesses before other international courts
  • the relationship of the ICC regime concerning witnesses to domestic constitutional law and international human rights law.

My inspiration to carry out this research came from previous work experience at

  • the ICC (Office of the Prosecutor (OTP)/Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Co-operation Division) where I conducted legal research on a diverse number of issues
  • the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (OTP/Transition team) where I did analyses on witness testimonies and writing of synopsis based on these witness statements.

Witnesses have been a vital source of evidence and have made major contributions in the development of international law. Most especially international criminal tribunals have made important use of witness evidence in proceedings before them and the evidence given by these witnesses helped shaped most of the brilliant judgements taken by these tribunals.

Nonetheless, little has been written on witnesses in international law, their contributions in shaping international law and other complexities pertaining to issues regarding them.

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