What matters for assessing insider witnesses? Results of an experimental vignette study

Gabriele Chlevickaite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Assessments of insider or accomplice witnesses are a major challenge in complex criminal cases, such as those of international crimes: war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. While insiders are both important and problematic, little is known about how legal decision-makers determine to what extent such witnesses can be relied upon. This study, the first to experimentally study practitioner decision-making in this context, presents the findings of an online vignette experiment with former and current international criminal law practitioners (N = 160). Quantitative analyses show that the assessments of the witness and the information quality are interdependent, hence, where an insider is considered not credible, the information they provide is perceived as less reliable as well, and vice versa. Furthermore, decision-makers tend to accord more weight to the quality of information rather than the quality of the witness, in line with jurisprudence analyses. The consequences for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-210
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Evidence and Proof
Volume27
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (grant number 406.17.519).

Funding Information:
I would like to thank my PhD supervisors Dr Barbora Hola and Prof Catrien Bijleveld for their extensive support in conducting this research, and Prof Wim Bernasco for lending a helping hand. I am also grateful to all the respondents who took part in the study, the experts and the NSCR colleagues who participated in the pilot of the vignettes, and everyone who helped to reach the participants. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (grant number 406.17.519).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Funding

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (grant number 406.17.519). I would like to thank my PhD supervisors Dr Barbora Hola and Prof Catrien Bijleveld for their extensive support in conducting this research, and Prof Wim Bernasco for lending a helping hand. I am also grateful to all the respondents who took part in the study, the experts and the NSCR colleagues who participated in the pilot of the vignettes, and everyone who helped to reach the participants. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (grant number 406.17.519).

FundersFunder number
NSCR
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek406.17.519
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

    Keywords

    • empirical
    • evidence
    • experiment
    • international crime
    • international criminal justice
    • witness

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