Momentum building towards the finalisation of the principle on effective interviewing

Monday, March 15, 2021

The APT recently brought together international experts and practitioners to present the forthcoming Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigative Authorities.  

Moderated by APT Secretary General, Barbara Bernath, the virtual event – “Improving efficiency and quality of investigations: Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigative Authorities” – was held on 7 March 2021 as an ancillary meeting of the UNODC Crime Congress in Kyoto, Japan.

The Principles, which are currently being finalised by an international panel of experts, promote scientifically-grounded, non-coercive interviewing techniques with the implementation of associated legal and procedural safeguards.

Opening the event, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ilze Brands-Kehris highlighted the importance of effective interviewing and safeguards in upholding the role of public authorities as guardians of human rights.

UNODC Deputy Director Division for Operations, Candice Welsch spoke of the added value that evidence- and intelligence-led policing can have for criminal investigation, crime prevention, and the administration of justice.

In his welcoming remarks, Bernardo Stadelmann, Vice-Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Justice, highlighted the relevance of this initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals. He also welcomed the reference to the Principles in the Kyoto Crime Congress Declaration.

Juan Méndez, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee developing the Principles and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2010-2016), provided the rationale for the Principles and described their content and structure.

Professor Becky Milne presented some of the evidence base behind non-coercive interviewing practices and explained how scientifically-grounded techniques support informed decision-making in the criminal justice system.

Members of the Steering Committee and Advisory Council for the Principles – Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of Police in Nigeria; Lilian Stein, Professor of Psychology in Brazil; and Suzanne Jabbour, Chairperson of the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture – made the case for the Principles, from their own disciplinary perspective.

Gisle Kvanvig of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Nicolas Caruso of UNODC and Alexis Comninos of the APT shared some current and prospective initiatives for implementation of the Principles.

In addition, two UNODC experts – Tom Parker in Nigeria and Nawad Riaz in Khazakhstan – endorsed investigative interviewing techniques in brief video statements.

Closing the event, Jan Austad, Specialist Director for Crime Prevention at the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security, restated Norway’s commitment to promoting non-coercive interviewing.

The APT would like to thank the co-organisers - UNODC, OHCHR, the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Anti-Torture Initiative – for hosting such a rich event. The APT is also thankful to Switzerland and Norway for their continued support.

Staff members