International Standards on Non-Coercive Interviewing and Associated Safeguards: One Step Closer to Completion of Guidelines

Monday, September 23, 2019

September 20, 2019 (Geneva – Oslo – Washington, D.C.) The Steering Committee and the Drafting Group for the development of Guidelines on Investigative Interviewing and Associated Safeguards met jointly for the first time in Bangkok, Thailand in early September. The Thailand Institute of Justice hosted the three-day meeting.

During this meeting, the experts tasked with drafting and overseeing the development of the Guidelines reviewed a third draft of the text and addressed critical issues concerning substance and process, as the final phases of drafting begin.

“We were very pleased with the progress made towards finalising the text of the Guidelines,” said Steering Committee Co-chair Juan E. Méndez, adding that “during this meeting, the experts reaffirmed their conviction about the much-needed essence of the Guidelines: a practical tool that will help authorities in all States conduct more professional and effective interviews, reduce risks of mistreatment, and protect the rights and dignity of all persons—including law enforcement officers.”

“The unique value of the Guidelines will rest in bringing together investigative interviewing methodology and the operationalisation of safeguards in a common set of standards and practical guidance. Importantly, these will be grounded in a robust international legal framework and firmly based on scientific evidence,” said Drafting Group and Coordination Group member and the APT’s Legal and Detention Adviser, Anne Lardy. “Although traditionally these have been addressed as separate paradigms, practitioners are now increasingly acknowledging their interconnected nature, and the Guidelines will speak precisely to this reality.”

The drafting process is expected to continue through the spring of 2020, with advocacy efforts on this topic being pursued in parallel. On September 3, the Coordination Group co-organised an event entitled Professional Forum on the Future of Investigations: Investigative Interviewing and Associated Safeguards for Thailand, together with partners from the Thailand Institute of Justice. The event was attended by government authorities, including representatives from the Ministry of Justice, national law enforcement bodies, including the Royal Thai Police, international organisations, civil society, and diplomatic representatives.

Background

The APT, together with Anti-Torture Initiative (ATI) and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) are coordinating the development of the guidelines, which will provide practical guidance to law-enforcement officials and other authorities on the conduct of effective, ethical, and non-coercive investigative interviews, and on the implementation of associated safeguards.

The expert-driven, multidisciplinary process for developing the guidelines, which features the participation of professionals from dozens of countries around the world, has been ongoing since May 2018. More information about the process can be found here.