IJ №2 (18) 2016
The offence of giving false testimony under oath in international criminal law

Abstract

The article considers the actus reus and mens rea of the offence of giving false testimony when under an obligation to tell the truth in international criminal law. It relies primarily on the relevant provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICTY, ICTR, Special Court for Sierra Leone and Special Tribunal for Lebanon, as well as on article 70(1)(a) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The article also surveys other areas of international law, such as the law of treaties, for the notions which may be indicative of a settled understanding of certain conduct comparable to false testimony, such as, for example, fraud in the conclusion of a treaty. This methodology is predicated on a premise refusing that a concept of international law automatically receives the content of a similar national law concept. The prosecution – and investigation – rates for the offence of giving false testimony are almost inexistent, notwithstanding that at least some of the allegations systematically proffered at each trial may have merit. The lack of serious legal research on this matter and inappreciably small number of such cases may be partially, or, to some extent, mutually responsible for this. This article posits that the norms punishing the witnesses for lying in the course of criminal proceedings involving the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole are not to become a dead letter. Instead, they are to serve the interests of international criminal justice as a means to assert the tribunals’ authority and to preserve both the integrity of the proceedings and their reputation.

About the author

Ekaterina Kopylova – Ph.D. сandidate in International Law, MGIMO-University

Citation: Kopylova E. (2016) Prestuplenie dachi lozhnykh pokazaniy pod prisyagoy v mezhdunarodnom ugolovnom prave [The offence of giving false testimony in international criminal law]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.2, pp.108–118. (In Russian).

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