Human rights investigations: remote and restricted access interviews

Interviewing witnesses is a fundamental part of international human rights and criminal investigations, fact-finding missions and the research of non-government organisations.  Insecurity and official refusals to grant access to investigators can make in-person interviews with witnesses impossible. The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel and personal contact have exacerbated challenges surrounding access to witnesses.

Can witnesses be interviewed for fact-finding and accountability processes when in-person contact is impossible or severely limited? And how can this be done effectively, safely and ethically?

Join an expert panel to discuss the newly released PIAC and Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI) companion publications that seek to provide practical guidance for investigators grappling with these issues.

View PIAC’s Restricted access interviews: a guide to interviewing witnesses in remote human rights investigations and the IICI guidelines on remote interviewing.

Date                Tuesday 28 September 2021

Time               6:00pm AEST | 10:00am CET (1 hr 15 mins)



The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG

Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator. He has served as Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); President of the NSW Court of Appeal (1984-96) and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009). Michael has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations and was Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) in 2013-14. He was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in 1991.

Erin Gallagher

Erin is a criminal investigator at the International Criminal Court and has led the survivor’s consultation component of the Murad Code for IICI. She was previously the Director of Investigations for Physicians for Human Rights (NYC) documenting war crimes in Syria. Erin has worked as an investigator with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and on Libya as a SGBV expert. 

Mohamed Kheir

Mohamed is currently the investigations team leader with the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Libya. He has participated in a number of UN Human Rights Council-mandated investigations, including on Gaza, Syria and Yemen. Prior to that, he worked with the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division of the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, and with the UNIIIC who provided technical cooperation to the Lebanese judicial authorities in their investigations into a number of political assassinations and attempted assassinations.

Shuvai Busuman Nyoni

Shuvai is a gender advisor and investigator for sexual and gender-based violence as crimes in conflict, including on the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and serves on the UN Women/Justice Rapid Response Roster. She is the Executive Director of the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, and previously worked as the Director of Interventions for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Philip Trewhitt

Philip is the Executive Director of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI). He has over 17 years’ experience conducting and leading investigations including into violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, as well fraud and corruption within international organisations. He was the investigation team leader of the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Libya.

Daniela Gavshon (moderator)

Daniela is Truth and Accountability Program Director at PIAC, leading Towards Truth (in support of Indigenous truth-telling), Sri Lanka Conflict Mapping and Archive, and Remote Human Rights Investigations projects. Daniela has co-authored major reports produced by these projects, including Restricted access interviews: a guide to interviewing witnesses in remote human rights investigations.

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