Basic Investigative Standards For International Crimes Investigations

6 April 2021

Increasingly, human rights defenders and other concerned professionals have to conduct investigations into the commission of international crimes but without appropriate experience, training or access to best practice information. As a result, despite best efforts, information proving international crimes and associated human rights violations may be lost, damaged, destroyed or rendered inadmissible with serious consequences for justice and accountability.

The Basic Investigative Standards for International Crimes (‘BIS’) developed by Global Rights Compliance (‘GRC’) provides a range of minimum standards for the investigation of international crimes. The BIS relies on the most widely accepted international standards, including those employed by the International Criminal Court, increasing the likelihood that relevant information is collected in ways that preserve its potential to be useful evidence in future national or international trials or accountability mechanisms.

The BIS addresses essential investigative and ethical principles that should be implemented throughout an investigation. It provides guidance on the practical steps that should be taken to ensure information is safely preserved, including how to record a chain of custody to ensure against interference; standards and procedures to be followed when collecting physical, documentary, digital and testimonial information (including that relevant to prosecuting sexual and gender based (‘SGBV’) crimes); and direction on how to develop a case theory.  In addition, the BIS includes a function that will enable users to contact GRC, a specialist team of international lawyers, to obtain answers to questions concerning international justice and accountability.

The BIS can be downloaded in English here.

The BIS can be downloaded in Russian here.

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