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Title: International criminal courts and the introduction of the Daubert standard as a mode of assessing the psychological impact of warfare on civilians : a comparative perspective
Author: Solomon, Solon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 0957
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This research project aims to address the oxymoron created by the fact that although the infliction of serious mental harm is an international crime and, as in every crime according to the legality principle that applies in criminal law, all of its elements have to be proven in order for the defendant to be convicted, in the course of warfare, international criminal courts and tribunals convict defendants for the causation of serious mental harm to civilians with no recourse from ad hoc furnished psychological and psychiatric opinions and reports. Rather convictions are made through discussion only of facts or by citing psychological reports for the mental harm incurred in general to the wider affected civilian population. On this account, and taking as a model the Daubert standard which requires a judge to take a stance on issues of scientific or technical expertise by relying only on reliable expert opinions and reports, the current thesis explores whether the particular standard and its reliability precept that originate from the U.S. criminal procedure can be transplanted into international criminal law. This would thereby oblige international judges to relate to civilian mental harm only through ad hoc provided substantiated psychological opinions and reports. This thesis can be largely seen as informally divided into three thematic units. The first one relates to the international criminal law contour and explores how international criminal courts and tribunals, with no resort to psychological opinions and reports provided ad hoc, reach the conclusion that civilians have suffered mental harm. Underlining the problems such practice creates for the integrity of law, a possible way of introducing the Daubert standard as a general principle, is further explored. Following this thread of thought, the discussion in the second thematic unit takes place on a domestic law framework and looks at the Daubert standard as a domestic principle that could be possibly transplanted into international criminal law. The analysis begins by delineating the standard in the U.S. jurisprudence from where it originated, and continues to encompass about twenty different legal orders in coming to underline the need different legal systems point out for issues of expertise to be addressed by the judge on scientifically reliable grounds. Finally, in the third thematic unit, the thesis returns again to the international contours to discuss and demonstrate that the reluctance of international criminal courts and tribunals to resort to the aid of mental health experts for the assessment of the psychological harm suffered by civilians, is not something that should be seen as related to any structural limitations these courts may face in addressing such psychological opinions and reports.
Supervisor: Biondi, Andrea Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available