All Projects

International fact-finding in response to human rights violations has been proliferating and becoming more sophisticated and complex. At the same time, it remains strikingly under-theorized with few attempts made to subject the assumptions, methodologies and techniques of this rapidly developing field to critical and constructive scrutiny.  The Initiative on Fact Finding, Methods, and Evidence aimed to identify key issues that might benefit from further sustained analysis and critique, taking account potential contributions by diverse disciplines.  The overall goal was to generate a better understanding of these issues with a view to facilitating more effective fact-finding.


To address these gaps, the 2014-2016 program of activity conducted as part of the Initiative on Fact-Finding, Methods, and Evidence included:
  • A conference. An international conference on human rights fact-finding designed to bring key actors together and generate new perspectives. The conference took place on November 1-2, 2013 at NYU School of Law.
  • New scholarship. The publication of a volume of essays analyzing the principal emerging challenges and opportunities to move fact-finding to a new level of sophistication.  Through these essays, CHRGJ promoted new critical scholarship and opened up new directions in relevant research.  The results were widely disseminated through human rights academics and practitioner communities.
  • Interdisciplinary workshops. The Center organized a series of interdisciplinary fact-finding workshops involving academics and practitioners.  In December 2012, it hosted a workshop on the role of new information and communication technologies in human rights investigations.  In May 2013, it hosted a workshop on the reliability of witness testimony as evidence, bringing together experts in neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive interviewing with human rights researchers.  Other workshops addressed  social science methodologies in human rights investigations, informed consent and security for witnesses, vicarious trauma, big data in human rights, and assessing the outcomes of human rights investigations.
  • Critical labs. The Center also hosted a series of small labs for practitioners and academics, where past, ongoing, and planned fact-finding investigations were subjected to peer and cross-disciplinary constructive critique.
  • Scholars. The center hosted scholars and student-scholars in residence conducting research and writing on cutting edge issues in fact-finding.