NCHR hosting the drafting group on the Universal Protocol on Investigative Interviewing
The drafting group on the Universal Protocol on Investigative Interviewing and Associated Safeguard gathered at the University of Oslo 2.-3. April to review and edit the current draft of the Universal Protocol.
The work on this protocol was initiated by former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez who called for the developing of such a set of standards for non-coercive interviewing in his report to the General Assembly in October 2016. Along with the Anti-Torture Initiative (ATI) at the Washington College of Law, and the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights make up the Coordination Group of this initiative.
Method and safeguards
The drafting group was divided into two sub-groups during most of the working time in Oslo, one focusing on the description of the investigative interviewing method itself, while the other group is developing the legal safeguards. Among the challenges for the group working on the method itself is describing the method in a manner that is precise, generic, but at the same time not too rich in details. The working climate in the group was immensely productive, and all the members of the group seemed to share the same vision of what the raison d'être behind the investigative interviewing method should be: “…to obtain accurate and reliable information in order to discover the truth of all relevant facts about matters under investigation” and also to comply with human rights and avoid any kind of torture, undue pressure or manipulation. One challenge that the legal safeguards may face is that when amassing references to various human rights obligations, although these already exist under international law, they may still put off many states given the current climate of human rights scepticism.