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The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding$
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Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190239480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239480.001.0001

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The Relationship between Fact-Finders and Witnesses in Human Rights Fact-Finding

The Relationship between Fact-Finders and Witnesses in Human Rights Fact-Finding

What Place for the Victims?

Chapter:
(p.131) 7. The Relationship between Fact-Finders and Witnesses in Human Rights Fact-Finding
Source:
The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding
Author(s):

Théo Boutruche

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239480.003.0007

This chapter examines some of the facets of the complex interaction between fact-finders and victims-witnesses, taking into account various legal, psychological, and practical considerations. It analyzes how victims may at times, in the eyes of fact-finders, disappear behind their quality of witnesses providing information. It first briefly describes the role of victim and witness testimonies in the context of fact-finding methodology and sources of evidence. It then looks into the perspectives of both fact-finders and victims and witnesses to identify the points of convergence as well as the gaps between those two categories, notably within the particular context of fact-finding as a preliminary step to criminal prosecutions. Finally this chapter looks at how those two perspectives can be reconciled. It describes the key guiding principles and standards that provide a framework to conduct human rights fact-finding work in an ethical way, with due consideration for the victims, including protection concerns.

Keywords:   victims’ perspective, witness testimony, fact-finding methodology, sources of evidence, criminal prosecution, do no harm

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