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Dr Melanie Klinkner has always been interested in interdisciplinary study: from her choice of subjects at degree level to her research into how law and forensic science interact. She won a Wingate Scholarship in 2007 for a research project on UN organised or assisted criminal investigations in the aftermath of serious violations of international law. The study involved an empirical assessment of the value of forensic evidence and the issues that can arise during the production, documentation and use of such evidence. This led to important recommendations for effective cooperation between lawyers and forensic science experts in post-conflict situations.
Having worked primarily on the Cambodian and Yugoslav tribunals, Melanie also conducted a study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, concentrating on the workings of the International Criminal Court asking what impact a ‘right to truth’ may have on international criminal justice provisions. Given that knowledge of what happened and who was responsible can be of great importance in terms of both individual and social healing, there is concern to give this right legal force in the context of criminal trials by the International Criminal Court of alleged perpetrators... She continues to work on the 'right to truth' topic with Dr Howard Davis.
Melanie is part of the University's Conflict Transformation Studies group. Given current conflicts across the world, Melanie is also keen to keep working on the subject of mass graves and their protection under international law. At Bournemouth University, she teaches International Law at undergraduate and Master’s level.more
Together with Dr Howard Davis my current research project explores the roots, developments and implications of the 'right to truth.' To date, work on the ‘right to truth’ is predominantly located in human rights discourse, where the focus is on the right in terms of the needs of, and benefits to, the victims of gross violations of human rights. There is less work done on the problems of integrating the ‘right to truth’ with the judicial approaches to transitional justice, and international criminal justice in particular. We are asking what the central problems, practical and theoretical, of giving effect to victims’ rights to truth in the context of the juristic-forensic approach to transitional justice are; specifically - the investigation, trial and remedial procedures of the International Criminal Court.
Together with my colleagues Schwandner-Sievers I am also working on a projects surrounding post-war reconciliation. In divided societies emerging from war, monuments and cultural heritage can be used to create, silence, resurrect and preserve narratives of the past, shaping the perception of the past and thus impacting upon future generation’s understanding of conflict. Our research is motivated by questions such as: how can a plurality of narratives be preserved to ensure empathy and recognition of the cultural heritage of war beyond one-sided narratives? And how do young visitors really experience such war monuments?
In addition, the topic of mass graves continues to fascinate me and I am interested in how the rights of survivors to know the truth about what happened to their loved ones and the preservation of evidence for justice purposes can be safeguarded...
- Klinkner, M., 2017. Towards Mass Grave Protection Guidelines. Human Remains and Violence.
- Klinkner, M., 2016. Karadžić’s guilty verdict and forensic evidence from Bosnia’s mass graves. Science & Justice, 56 (6), 498-506.
- Klinkner, M., 2015. Is all Fair in Love and War Crimes Trials? Regulation 55 and the Katanga Case. International Criminal Law Review, 15 (2), 396-410.
- Klinkner, M. and Davis, H., 2014. A right to truth, victims and the International Criminal Court. Torture – Asian and Global Perspectives (Asian Human Rights Commission), 3 (3), 55-59.
- Klinkner, M., 2014. Mass Grave Investigations for International Criminal Proceedings. Torture - Asian and Global Perspectives, 3 (2), 50-55.
- Klinkner, M. and Wessling, R., 2013. The challenges for capacity building and subsequent impact assessment: the case of mass grave investigation training by Inforce at Bournemouth University. Science & Justice, 53, 442-444.
- Klinkner, M., 2012. Improving International Criminal Investigations into Mass Graves: Synthesizing Experiences from the Former Yugoslavia. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 4 (3), 334-364.
- Klinkner, M.J., 2012. Psycho-social aspects surrounding criminal investigations into mass graves. International Criminal Law Review, 12 (3), 409-426.
- Klinkner, M.J., 2009. Forensic science expertise for international criminal proceedings: an old problem, a new context and a pragmatic resolution. International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 13, 102-129.
- Klinkner, M.J., 2008. Forensic Science for Cambodian Justice. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 2, 227-243.
- Klinkner, M.J., 2008. Proving Genocide? Forensic Expertise and the ICTY. Journal of International Criminal Justice, 6, 447-466.
- Klinkner, M., 2015. The Right to Truth, Appropriate Forum and the International Criminal Court. In: Szablewska, N. and Bachmann, S., eds. Current Issues in Transitional Justice. Towards a More Holistic Approach. Springer, 3-29.
- Klinkner, M., 2013. Scientific Evidence in International Criminal Trials. In: Weisburd, D., ed. Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Springer.
- Klinkner, M., Schwandner-Sievers, S., TIan, F. and Biran, A., 2015. Rethinking post-war reconciliation, memory and heritage via ‘gaming’ technology. In: BFX Academic Conference 2015 26-27 September 2015 Bournemouth, Bournemouth University.
- Klinkner, M., 2015. Ukraine and Russia: International (criminal) responses to hybrid war? In: International Criminal Trials: Historical Paradigms and Contemporary Dimensions 21 September 2015 Preston, University of Central Lancashire.
- Klinkner, M. and Davis, H., 2014. Institutionalising the right to the truth at the ICC. In: SLSA Conference 26-28 March 2013 York.
- Bray, M., 2014. Mass grave evidence before international criminal trials. In: Forensic Forum 2014 5 March 2014 London.
- Klinkner, M., 2012. Improving forensic investigations into mass graves for international criminal proceedings. In: European Academy of Forensic Science 20-24 August 2012 The Hague.
- Klinkner, M., 2011. The value of forensic evidence for international criminal proceedings. In: 2nd Biennial War Crimes Conference: Justice? Whose Justice? Punishment, Mediation or Reconciliation 3-5 March 2011 London.
- Klinkner, M., 2008. International Justice through Science: Investigating Human Rights Violations with or without Forensic Science? In: The 12th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Justice Research 14-17 August 2008 Adelaide.
- Klinkner, M., 2008. Proving Genocide – Cooperation between lawyers and forensic scientists under the ICTY. In: Seventh Biennial Meeting of the International Association of Genocide Scholars 9-13 July 2007 Sarajevo.
- Klinkner, M.J., 2009. Toward improved understanding and interaction between forensic science and international criminal law in the context of transitional justice. PhD Thesis. Bournemouth University; Business School.
- Ellie Smith (The need for truth-telling as a part of the right to truth and its realisation at the ICC)
Profile of Teaching PG
- International Criminal Law and International Criminal Justice
- Dissertation Support and Research Methods
- Principles of International law, International Organisations and the WTO
- International Economic Law
Profile of Teaching UG
- Advanced Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
- Ukraine/Russia: International (criminal) responses to hybrid war?
- Fusion co-creation project involving BU students and partners in Kosovo: rethinking post-war reconciliation via ‘gaming’ technology (Fusion Investment Fund, 01 Nov 2015). Awarded
- Rethinking Reconciliation (European Union Academic Development Scheme, 01 Feb 2015). In Progress
- A victim's right to truth and the International Criminal Court (Nuffield Foundation, 01 Sep 2013). Completed
- Cambodia Field Research - financial support (Harold Wyam Wingate Foundation, 01 Jan 2007). Completed
Public Engagement & Outreach Activities
- There is currently no international legal protection specifically for mass graves. This gap needs to be filled by guidelines that are of practical use to state actors, armed groups, occupying forces, civil society and specialist agencies
- The protection of mass grave sites and their content is paramount since they provide invaluable information for both the prosecution of perpetrators of international crimes, and the realisation of the right to truth, effective remedies and reparation for families of the deceased. The piece draws attention to the lack of legal protection, and the dire need for legal regulation and its effective implementation with respect to the treatment and maintenance of mass grave sites.
- Interdisciplinary Workshop on innovative ways of engaging with conflict transformation
- We challenged participants’ assumptions about the ease with which reconciliation expectations can be exported to countries of Western geo-political interest after war and conflict.
- MA in Philosophy, Anthropology, Biology (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 2003)
- PhD in Law (Bournemouth University, 2009)
- Higher Education Academy, Fellow (2015-),