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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. The book ends with an exploration of various normative questions, including the most foundational: whether the international tribunals’ fact-finding impediments fatally undermine the international criminal justice project.Read more
- 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
Reviews & endorsements
"Fact-Finding Without Facts is stunning in its quality, meticulous in its methodology, and revolutionary in its effects. Combs cracks the conventional wisdom that international criminal trials successfully determine who did what to whom during the cataclysm of mass atrocity. Hers is a grounded critique -- piercing, precise, yet itching with the promise of institutional reform. Fact-Finding Without Facts is among the most impressive publications to appear in the past decade in the field of post-conflict justice."
Mark A. Drumbl
Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law
Director, Transnational Law Institute
Washington and Lee University, School of Law
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"Nancy Combs's latest book, Fact Finding Without Facts provides a startling indictment of the fact-finding process in international criminal law. Her conclusion that "more than 50% of the witnesses appearing in these trials testified in a way that was seriously inconsistent with their pre-trial statements" is chilling. Those interested in social epistemology, normative inquiry, and legal theory, as well as practitioners in international criminal law cannot afford to ignore this brilliant book."
W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law
"Fact-Finding Without Facts is an excellent and unique study on what is the core of every criminal trial, proper and accurate fact-finding. Based on meticulous research, Combs makes us aware of the fragile state of international criminal proceedings. The field of international criminal law is in dire need of this type of critical study for further improvement. But Combs not only criticizes, she also offers highly valuable recommendations. This book is a must-read for everybody who sincerely wishes to improve the quality of fact-finding in international criminal trials."
G. K. Sluiter
Professor of International Criminal Law, University of Amsterdam
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- Date Published: July 2010
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521111157
- length: 430 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 158 x 25 mm
- weight: 0.7kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
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?
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