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Some issues addressed by CMN services

CMN Senior Adviser Tore Soldal speaking with prosecutors and investigators, May 2011.
CMN Senior Adviser Dr. Patrick Treanor giving a lecture on documentary evidence, September 2011.
CMN Adviser Salim A. Nakhjavani making a presentation.
Case Matrix training session, Komnas HAM, Jakarta, June 2009.
Lawyers from Comision Mexicana Para La Defensa Y Promocion De Los Derechos Humanos (CMPDPH) practice building case files using the case managment application of the Case Matrix.

1. Mapping of open case files
Some jurisdictions have more open case files involving core international crimes than the criminal justice system can deal with due to limited capacity. Public expectations may also exceed what the criminal justice system can reasonably do. The case files may be spread across several prosecution or judicial offices in the country concerned. Their quality may vary considerably. The CMN has developed an approach to how such open case files can be systematically assessed and analyzed, so that decisions on the selection and prioritization of cases is done on as informed a basis as possible.

2. Selection and prioritization of cases
In the aftermath of mass atrocity, criminal justice institutions with restricted resources or expertise normally have limited capacity to process cases. Consequently, it is necessary to select and prioritize. A range of criteria may be used for such selection and prioritization, such as the gravity of the crimes, the role of the suspect, or the number of victims affected by the alleged conduct. The CMN can assist with the formulation of such criteria and provide advice on the system of their implementation.

3. Abbreviated criminal procedures
In some countries the number of open core international crimes case files exceeds the capacity of the criminal justice system to such an extent that most cases will not be prosecuted. The authorities may choose not to do anything about this problem. Or the criminal justice system may decide to develop a proper system of case selection and prioritization to ensure that the best suited cases are processed first. Neither response resolves the problem of what to do with the cases that are not prioritized. Both approaches may lead to widespread impunity. The CMN can assist with advice on whether abbreviated criminal procedures should be introduced for less serious core international crimes, to ensure that such case files are processed by prosecutors and judges and not taken out of the criminal justice system.

4. Preserving the overview of evidence
Serious international crimes are, by nature, factually rich and may require the handling of large volumes of evidence. Practice shows that preserving the overview of facts and evidence is a problem in core international crimes cases. The ability to organize and manage evidence is essential to the efficiency and quality of the criminal justice process. A proper overview of the evidence, clearly correlated to the legal requirements that must be met in order to secure a conviction for an international crime, is significant for several reasons: it allows for cases to be selected for prosecution which have a good chance of resulting in conviction, and ensures that cases proceed on the basis of a clear prosecutorial strategy, which is of importance not only for the efficiency of the case preparatory and trial processes, but also for the rights of the accused. The CMN can offer advice relating to the organization and management of evidence and available tools.

5. Strengthening capacity on substantive law
The documentation, investigation, prosecution, defence or adjudication of core international crimes requires adequate knowledge and understanding of the legal requirements of international crimes and modes of liability. These legal requirements differ from those of ordinary national crimes, in particular the contextual and circumstantial requirements. Some of the modes of liability also have distinct definitions in international criminal law. The CMN can strengthen the capacity of personnel involved in the investigation, prosecution, defense or adjudication of core international crimes, ensuring that the legal requirements are fully comprehended and consistently applied by those involved in the criminal justice process.

6. The role of analysis in criminal justice for atrocities
The internationalised criminal jurisdictions have made use of analysts in the preparation and prosecution of core international crimes cases. Such analysts have included statisticians, demographers, military analysts, criminal analysts and more strategic analysts. Their contribution has improved the quality of case preparation and presentation. Some national criminal jurisdictions are using analysts in core international crimes cases. This is gradually becoming more common. The CMN can advise jurisdictions on different ways analysts can be useful in criminal justice for atrocities.

7. Balancing criminal justice for atrocities with other transitional justice
Criminal justice for atrocities may co-exist with other forms of transitional justice, such as truth and reconciliation mechanisms or traditional justice processes. The relationship between court-based criminal justice and other justice mechanisms requires careful consideration in order to resolve jurisdictional and procedural issues, whilst respecting the rights of the accused and the interests of justice. The CMN can provide advice on all aspects of the interaction between criminal justice for atrocities and other transitional justice mechanisms. 

8. Advice on national implementing legislation
Implementation enables the application of international criminal law within the domestic legal order of a particular State. Through the enactment of adequate legislation, a State is able to comply with a request for co-operation by an international criminal jurisdiction. Moreover, incorporation of the core international crimes and modes of liability at the national level enables a State to undertake investigations and prosecutions nationally for core international crimes. The CMN can assist in the drafting of national implementing legislation, including the review of existing legislation and the provision of advice on the requisite standards to be adopted nationally.

9. Advice on international criminal procedure and evidence case law
The preparation and litigation of core international crimes cases require comprehension not only of the legal requirements of the crimes and modes of liability, but also adequate understanding of distinct procedural and evidentiary issues for these crimes. This is particularly so in situations where such proceedings are being held for the first time. But even within established institutions, assistance may be sought in relation to international criminal procedure and evidence in order to increase the cost-efficiency and quality of work. Such advice is available through the CMN, one of whose Advisers is a leading expert on international criminal procedure and evidence who can assist with knowledge transfer from internationalised criminal jurisdictions to the national level.

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