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The Lecture ¡±Process and Methods of Interrogation¡±was Successfully Held

  On the evening of November 5, 2018, three experts from the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights of the University of Oslo, prof. AsbjørnRachlew, prof.Ivar A. Fahsing and Ms. Elisabeth Bjørnstøl were invited to Renmin Law school for academic exchange. They gave a brilliant lecture in conference room 206 of Ming De Law Building.

  The lecture was held by Renmin University Centre for Criminal Jurisprudence and hosted by associate professor Cheng Lei from Renmin Law School. Professor Zhang Pinze from People¡¯s Public Security University of China School of Law, professor Liu Jingkun China University of Political Science and Law, Researcher Dong Kun from China Institute of Procuratorial Theories were invited as guests. Undergraduates and postgraduates of Renmin Law School attended the lecture.

  On behalf of Renmin Law school and Renmin University Centre for Criminal jurisprudence, professor Cheng Lei expressed welcome and gratitude to the three experts from Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. The three experts felt honored to have an enlightening academic exchange with Renmin Law School and were glad to have discussions with the participants.

  Professor AsbjørnRachlew began with a preview of the lecture which focused on two topics. One is the recent development of investigative inquiry around the world. The other is how to interrogate with the tactics of investigative inquiry. He introduced the background of investigative inquiry with his professional training in police academy and his rich practical experience. He pointed out that once a suspect is caught, usually the first responsibility for the police man is to get him to confess. Extorting confession still exists in most countries. For example, in several countries, the police will exert mental pressure and psychological compulsion. They use manipulative skills along with isolated interrogations on suspects. This is a global problem. In prof. AsbjørnRachlew¡¯s view, the limited improvement can be achieved if we only solved the problem simply by revising the law. When it comes to global human rights issues, he found that the problem was never a legislative one but a practical one. If we want the police to change their interrogation habits, we need to teach them relevant knowledge, methods, and alternative ways of interrogations, telling them to prove their assumptions by those methods instead of compulsion. Thirty years of scientific research indicated that there are ways better and wiser than extorting interrogation to acquire more accurate and more reliable information concerning the case. Feasible alternative ways of interrogations are the concept and principle of investigative inquiry.

  Afterwards, prof. AsbjørnRachlew talked about the process of investigative inquiry development. It originated in the UK as a method developed by law enforcers, practitioners and psychologists in response to the judicial scandal in early 1990s. Ten years later, prof. AsbjørnRachlew and Prof. Ivar A. Fahsing learnt police interrogation in the UK and brought the skills of investigative inquiry back to Norway. In the past ten years, they have been disseminating investigative inquiry skills all round the world, and proved its effectiveness by the practice of the police. He emphasized that there are no coercive measures in the process of investigative inquiry and that investigative inquiry fulfills the doctrine of presumption of innocence in interrogation room.

  Then, prof. AsbjørnRachlew introduced the main content of investigative inquiry methods. First, he pointed out that investigative inquiry is based on the principle of communication. The outcome will be better when the due dignity of a suspect is respected. In an investigative inquiry, the fundamental principle of communication is the same among suspects, witnesses and victims, which is different from interrogation. In addition, he mentioned the changes after Norwegian police took this method of investigative inquiry. They discovered that the atmosphere of militarization and male domination. From gender perspective, investigative inquiry can remove the masculine and antagonistic characteristics of interrogation.

  Later, prof. AsbjørnRachlew introduced the tactics of investigative inquiry. The policeman must clarify the potential evidence before he conducts an interrogation. After confirming the evidence, the policeman should make reasonable explanations from various angles. For example, he can try to work out other reasonable explanations of the evidence under the assumption of innocence. When the choices of reasonable explanations are selected, he should test all the possible explanations in the inquiry. Policemen are required to seek information to prove the assumption of innocence of the suspect. When all the assumptions of innocence are tested, he can present the evidence of the crimes. Now since all the assumptions of innocence are positively tested, it will be difficult for the suspect to give reasonable excuses given that he is guilty. This kind of method urge the police to inquiry with an open mind because they don¡¯t focus on how to get the suspect confess during the interrogation. Next, prof. AsbjørnRachlew gave a demonstration of investigative inquiry in the conference room based on specific cases. He said that the UN anti-torture commissioners proved that the method was effective and could stop the impulsion of people to confess. At present investigative inquiry has been adopted by many institutions. In an investigative inquiry, the police communicate with suspects through a system protected by law and tell them what rights they have.

  In the following session, prof. Ivar A. Fahsing continued to talk about the specific methods of investigative inquiry. He said that the policemen first need to find and keep the evidence before talking to suspects. If the suspect is innocent, he can provide reasonable explanations in response to the inquiry of truth. If he is guilty, he can not give reasonable excuses. This method can help innocent suspects and exert pressure on guilty suspects. It needs to be stressed that if the suspect fails to give reasonable explanations, the police will not stop but should tell the suspect that his statement is invalid. However, the police cannot conclude the guilt, which is up to the prosecutor or the judge to decide. Prof. Ivar pointed out that investigative inquiry is an integrated thinking mode which is applied in interrogations and evaluation of evidence throughout the stages of judicial process, and put the concept of ¡°beyond reasonable doubts¡± into practice. A seeker of legal facts should observe the following procedure: he shall first exclude all reasonable explanations for the presumption of innocence before confirming the guilt. He expected that people can start cooperation in these aspects and apply them in all process of judiciary.

  After the two professors finished the report, they were glad to have in-depth discussion with participants. Professor Zhang first raised questions: does the police stand neutral in investigative inquiry? Does this method apply not only to the interrogation by the police, but also the cross- examination by lawyers? The two professors replied that the police must stand neutral and objective according to the definite statement in Norwegian law, but are also obliged to find the guilty. Professor Ivar pointed that the police should use a method to seek the truth and the reasonable explanations in wider range. The method of investigative inquiry is not available for everyone because it requires corresponding knowledge and experience of the user to come out with reasonable results. Professor Zhang Pinze added that it would be a great challenge for the police to prove the innocence of the suspect when they are presented with evidence indicating that the suspect is guilty. Professor Ivar agreed that it is hard for an individual to be neutral and objective after he has formed an opinion according to scientific research, but this doesn¡¯t mean that he can not remain sceptical. As the policemen are trained in interrogation skills, this method is still very effective at present.

  Professor Liu Jingkun then asked: is the investigative inquiry based on the falsification philosophy of Popper theoretically? Given the premise of this philosophy is that the police can assess the evidence at hand, how is investigative inquiry performed in this aspect? Professor Ivar said that the theory focuses on how to make a conclusion while the primary duty of the police is to investigate. In Norway, before conducting an interrogation, there should be a written investigation plan which includes the assumptions to test and the role of each evidence relating to each assumption. The assumption with the most supporting evidence is most likely to be true. Professor further asked: how will the judges assess the controversial evidence if the police doesn¡¯t apply this method? Professor Asbjørn took a judicial case in Norway as an example. He believed that the court can not adopt evidence which is acquired by compulsive interrogation because it is a breach of the regulations of investigative inquiry.

  Researcher Dong Kun put forward that the purpose of interrogation is not only to find out whether the accused is innocent or not, but also to obtain relevant information of the crimes on the basis of conviction, such as the criminal partners and the place of the bomb. Professor Asbjørn thought that investigative inquiry is required after the suspect confesses to prove the consistency of evidence and assumptions from information obtained by confession or other means. Professor Ivar acknowledges external information is needed for investigation synchronously.

  Professor Zhang Pinze asked whether the method to acquire information is a kind of exchange because in China, the suspect will receive less punishment if he cooperates with the police. Professor Ivar did not consider it as a kind of exchange but an announcement in advance. At the start of an investigative inquiry, the police will inform him as neutrals that the court will take his cooperation into account during the conviction and sentence. Professor Zhang then asked whether a reduced punishment for confession is a method to obtain the truth of the crime. Professor Ivar thought it is not incentive for criminals considering the lenient sentence in Norway.

  In the end, associate professor Cheng Lei expressed heartfelt gratitude to Professor AsbjørnRachlew and professor Ivar A. Fahsing for their excellent lecture. He said that they had reached lots of consensuses and discussed a number of problems which existed in both countries. He hoped that such exchanges will continue. The lecture ended with a round of warm applause.

£¨Editor: QIN Siqian£©

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