Melanie Klinkner

Dr Melanie Klinkner

  • 01202 961857
  • mklinkner at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
  • Principal Academic in Law
  • Weymouth House W405, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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Dr Melanie Klinkner is a transitional justice scholar majoring on international criminal justice and has been awarded an AHRC Research Leadership Fellow for the creation of mass grave protection guidelines. She has a background in Philosophy, Anthropology and Biology. Melanie’s current research focuses on three core areas (1) the protection of mass graves; (2) the right to the truth of victims of gross human rights violations in international law; and (3) advancing our knowledge on conflict transformation through an interdisciplinary approach combining social anthropology with rights-based perspectives. In addition, she is involved in projects concerning the human rights of migrants and refugees, the subject of missing migrants as well as research on the ‘post-truth’ phenomenon.

She was a Research Visitor at Oxford University's Bonavero Institute for Human Rights and in her previous research projects, she analysed the use of forensic evidence from mass graves during international criminal proceedings and, together with her colleague Dr Howard Davis, conducted a Nuffield Foundation funded project into the right to truth at the International Criminal Court...



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...


Journal Articles


  • 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. and Schwandner-Sievers, S., 2017. Grieving lost normalcy: a Kosovo case study of social memory, incomplete transitional justice and political agency. In: Sixth International Expert Seminar on Transitional Justice 25-26 September 2017 KU Leuven.
  • 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.


PhD Students

  • Ellie Smith. The need for truth-telling as a part of the right to truth and its realisation at the ICC
  • Luke Nwibo Eda. Missing Migrants
  • Giulia Levi. Bridging post-Brexit Referendum Divides

Profile of Teaching PG

  • International Economic Law
  • Principles of International law, International Organisations and the WTO
  • Dissertation Support and Research Methods
  • International Criminal Law and International Criminal Justice

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Constitutional Law
  • Advanced Criminal Law

Invited Lectures

  • International Criminal Trials-Historical Paradigms, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, 21 Sep 2015 more


  • Fusion co-creation project involving BU students and partners in Kosovo: rethinking post-war reconciliation via ‘gaming’ technology (Fusion Investment Fund, 01 Nov 2015). Completed
  • Rethinking Reconciliation (European Union Academic Development Scheme, 01 Feb 2015). Completed
  • 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

Internal Responsibilities

  • LLM Coordinator, Business School - postgraduate

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.
  • 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.
  • Interdisciplinary Workshop on innovative ways of engaging with conflict transformation

Attended Training

  • Doctoral Continued Supervision Training, 17 Jun 2015
  • Doctoral Supervision training, 25 Jan 2012, qualified to be a PhD supervisor


  • PhD in Law (Bournemouth University, 2009)
  • MA in Philosophy, Anthropology, Biology (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 2003)


  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow (2015-),
  • Society of Legal Scholars, Member,

External Media and Press

The data on this page was last updated at 04:07 on December 16, 2018.