(Not) for the record: state security archives and accountability for state crimes

Habraken, Helena (2011) (Not) for the record: state security archives and accountability for state crimes. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Domestic and international investigations and prosecutions for state crimes face a variety of difficulties and obstructions, in their efforts to secure credible and pertinent evidence. In particular the acquisition of classified information, (with)held by state security services, is a daunting task, in view of the powerful position of such services, which are often themselves intimately involved in state criminality.

    This type of evidence is often of crucial importance in criminal proceedings against high-ranking state officials, carrying senior responsibility for serious crimes, in the absence of more conventional forensic evidence or reliable witnesses. However, too often state officials evade criminal responsibility by concealing or destroying records containing evidence against them which is in the possession of the state security services, reinforcing the perception that those in governmental office are above the law.

    This study discusses the key factors underlying the (lack of) access to and use of records emanating from state security services in proceedings against the perpetrators of state crimes. It explains the problems associated with accessing state security archives and records collections, and navigating their sometimes impenetrable structures. In addition it explores the use of classified information in court, which as a rule is regulated by legislation favourable to the state executive, whose very officials are under scrutiny. Case examples, featuring investigations and prosecutions for a range of state crimes -from war crimes and genocide to political murders and extraordinary renditions - are examined to highlight the key aspects of such problems and how national and international prosecutors have attempted to address them.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 13:32
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:50
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/5686

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