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This third leg of CILRAP’s broadly-based ‘Quality Control Project’ concerns the phase that encompasses criminal investigation and case-preparation, that is, between the opening of criminal investigation and start of trial. As with the earlier legs of the wider project – called ‘Quality Control in Fact-Finding’ and ‘Quality Control in Preliminary Examination’ – the focus is on core international crimes, but it also includes perspectives from other fact-rich crime such as serious fraud and organised crime (human trafficking).

This third phase is characterised by, inter alia, the deployment of substantial resources (including for personnel, missions and evidence handling), interaction of different professional groups (primarily investigators, prosecutors, analysts and forensic experts), fact-centred work-processes, and the prospect of judicial scrutiny of the file. The project is premised on the assumption that all investigation and preparation of fact-rich criminal cases can improve its quality control. This is a common challenge both in international and national jurisdictions. It is a challenge of professionalisation.

The concept note of the third phase (which we refer to as the ‘Quality Control in Criminal Investigation Project’ or just the ‘QCCI Project’) has been published as the policy brief ‘Towards a Culture of Quality Control in Criminal Investigations’ by CILRAP Director Morten Bergsmo, with input from many of the project participants named there. It analyses the substantive agenda of the project.

Apart from the CILRAP Director, the QCCI Project Team consists of Mr. Xabier Agirre (Head of Investigative Analysis Section, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court), Dr. Simon De Smet (Legal Officers, Chambers, International Criminal Court), and Professor Carsten Stahn (Leiden University), working together with Professor Manoj Kumar Sinha (Director, Indian Law Institute). The project is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

An international expert conference was held at the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi on 22-23 February 2019. Above you find the conference programme, as well as AV-recordings of the conference presentations, a link to podcasts of the presentations, and links to earlier publications in the wider Quality Control Project.

The QCCI Project zooms in on some systemic bottlenecks in relevant work-processes in criminal investigation and case-preparation, and asks whether we can improve the way we work. These bottlenecks include a) the long duration and high cost of many investigations of core international crimes; b) loss of overview of information and potential evidence; c) lack of clear focus in the building of the case; d) vague formulation of criminal responsibility even after the organisation has in its possession enough potential evidence; e) use of cumulative charges as part of a related precautionary approach; f) excessively long exhibit and witness lists; and g) disclosure to the defence of voluminous materials not clearly related to a central hypothesis of criminal responsibility. The project asks whether work-processes can be developed further to reduce the negative impact of such challenges. It seeks unbiased analysis and new ideas – not boxed in by any one jurisdiction – on how we can work better.

The QCCI conference programme reveals a structured approach with five main parts. Part I concerns ‘The Context of Quality Control in Investigations and Case Preparation’; Part II, ‘Evidence and Analysis’; Part III, ‘Systemic Challenges in Case-Preparatory Work-Processes’; Part IV, ‘Investigation Plans as Instruments of Quality Control’; and Part V, ‘Prosecutorial and Judicial Participation in Investigation and Case Preparation’. The QCCI Project is particularly concerned with whether the use of existing quality-control instruments such as investigation plans, draft indictments, indictments and pre-trial briefs can be developed, and whether they should be supplemented by additional instruments.

In his keynote presentation at the New Delhi conference, CILRAP Director Morten Bergsmo stressed the importance of developing a continuous knowledge-base at the centre of core international crimes cases, that runs like a red line from preliminary examination until the end of trial. He observed that investigation plans are essential in all core international crimes cases that are so large that a team is required. He maintained that the investigation plan must be developed before the opening of an investigation, and that its adoption should be a requirement to open the investigation. He also argued that it is essential to keep an open mind about the use of information-technology to enhance factual analysis and quality-control in the management of case-preparation.

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