Dr Melanie Klinkner has always been interested in interdisciplinary study: from her choice of subjects at degree level to her research into how law and forensic science interact. She won a Wingate Scholarship in 2007 for a research project on UN organised or assisted criminal investigations in the aftermath of serious violations of international law. The study involved an empirical assessment of the value of forensic evidence and the issues that can arise during the production, documentation and use of such evidence. This led to important recommendations for effective cooperation between lawyers and forensic science experts in post-conflict situations.
Having worked primarily on the Cambodian and Yugoslav tribunals to date, Melanie’s current research funded by the Nuffield Foundation concentrates on the workings of the International Criminal Court asking what impact a ‘right to truth’ may have on international criminal justice provisions. For this project she is working together with Dr Howard Davis. Given that knowledge of what happened and who was responsible can be of great importance in terms of both individual and social healing, there is concern to give this right legal force in the context of criminal trials by the International Criminal Court of alleged perpetrators. However, there are likely to be considerable difficulties in integrating this right with the practices of the International Criminal Court. For future research projects and given current conflicts across the world, Melanie is planning to return to the subject of mass graves and their protection under international law.
At Bournemouth University, she teaches International Law at undergraduate and Master’s level. She also works closely with her forensic science colleagues and is keen to inject forensic science elements into the law curriculum.