News Media Europe

Guide for Journalists on Documenting International Crimes

Press releases , July 5, 2022


-Brussels, 5 July 2022-

The Centre for Law and Democracy and News Media Europe are thrilled to launch the Guide for Journalists on How to Document International Crimes, with concrete recommendations for journalists and editors on how to capture information about international crimes so that it may be admitted as evidence in court. News professionals are often the first observers to arrive at international crime scenes and may be in a position to document them at an early stage, which is invaluable since evidence often degrades with time.

This Guide aims to help journalists take simple steps to increase the reliability of the information they collect, thereby enhancing the chance that a court will accept it as evidence”, said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of CLD.

Iacob Gammeltoft, Policy Manager at News Media Europe, added: “In these extraordinary times, this resource is designed to support journalists and news organisations investigating international crimes and to help them understand what kind of impact they can have.”

The role of news professionals is first and foremost to inform the public, and not to collect and analyse evidence on behalf of public authorities. At the same time, news organisations are expressing a growing interest in understanding the requirements for information to be admissible as evidence in court, so as to help to hold criminal actors to account.

The Guide provides advice about several legal issues in a way that is accessible to non-legal experts, including:

  • Privileges regarding the protection of confidential sources and not having to testify
  • What constitutes an international crime
  • Different types of evidence and basic rules regarding admissibility of evidence
  • How to gather information in a way that promotes its legal reliability and tips on doing this
  • Interviewing victims and witnesses

The Guide also includes a section on Resources with links to various written documents, apps and civil society organisations which can provide support.

The Guide is available in English here. Translations to follow.

For further information, please contact:

Toby Mendel Iacob Gammeltoft
Executive Director EU policy manager
Centre for Law and Democracy News Media Europe
Executive Director EU policy manager
twitter: @law_democracy twitter: @newsmediaEU