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Fact-Finding without Facts


  • Page extent: 430 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.68 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 345/.06
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: KZ7422 .C66 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Evidence, Criminal (International law)
    • International criminal courts
    • International Criminal Court

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521111157)

Fact-Finding Without Facts explores international criminal fact-finding - empirically, conceptually, and normatively. After reviewing thousands of pages of transcripts from various international criminal tribunals, the author reveals that international criminal trials are beset by numerous and severe fact-finding impediments that substantially impair the tribunals' ability to determine who did what to whom. These fact-finding impediments have heretofore received virtually no publicity, let alone scholarly treatment, and they are deeply troubling not only because they raise grave concerns about the accuracy of the judgments currently being issued but because they can be expected to similarly impair the next generation of international trials that will be held at the International Criminal Court. After setting forth her empirical findings, the author considers their conceptual and normative implications. The author concludes that international criminal tribunals purport a fact-finding competence that they do not possess and, as a consequence, base their judgments on a less precise, more amorphous method of fact-finding than they publicly acknowledge.

• Considers ways that fact-finding accuracy can be improved in international criminal tribunals • Explores international criminal fact-finding - empirically, conceptually, and normatively • Based on the review of thousands of pages of transcripts from various international criminal tribunals


1. The evidence supporting international criminal convictions; 2. Questions unanswered: international witnesses and the information unconveyed; 3. The educational, linguistic, and cultural impediments to accurate fact-finding at the international tribunals; 4. Of inconsistencies and their explanations; 5. Perjury: the counter-narrative; 6. Expectations unfulfilled: the consequences of the fact-finding impediments; 7. Casual indifference: the trial chambers' treatment of testimonial deficiencies; 8. Organizational liability revived: the pro-conviction bias explained; 9. Help needed: practical suggestions and procedural reforms to improve fact-finding accuracy; 10. Assessing the status quo: they are not doing what they say they are doing but is what they are doing worth doing?; 11. Conclusion.


'Combs supports her critique of the fact-finding competence of the tribunals with empirical evidence combining trial transcripts with a sample of interviews of defence counsel, prosecutors, and investigators.' Journal of Law and Society

'Combs' analysis of trial transcripts and her torrent of examples of testimonial inconsistency warrant admiration and gratitude from others in the field.' Asad Kiyani, International Journal of Transitional Justice

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