Simon Oleszkiewicz

Iowa State University & University of Gothenburg

Lecture: To know or not to know: Using information presentation techniques to counter resistance strategies in the interrogative context

Gathering information from human subjects is critical for intelligence purposes, such as to advance ongoing investigations and prevent criminal activities before they take place. Although recent terrorist activities have highlighted the need of effective and ethical interview techniques, there is still quite little research on the efficacy of strategies and tactics to gather information from resistant subjects. That is, to gather information from individuals who are not willing to provide a complete and accurate account. During my talk, I will explain how my colleagues and I have contributed to this research agenda by breaking down the behaviour of a successful WWII interrogator, conceptualized and evaluated the efficacy of his approach in the lab, and then trained and tested police and military practitioners in using this evidence-based technique. I will also discuss how interviewers can use different forms of evidence-presentation strategies to influence the interview outcome.

Simon Oleszkiewicz

Prof.dr. Peter J. van Koppen
VU University Amsterdam and Maastricht University

Lecture; The Judge as Partner in Crime: Judicial Errors that Free the Guilty by Convicting the Wrong Guy

The end check of everything that has been done in criminal proceedings, by the police, by the prosecution, by the defence, is laid in the hands of the court. The court trial – in cases of serious crimes in The Netherlands usually a three-judge bench trial – is there to ensure that everything done earlier in the proceedings has been done soundly and properly. One would expect a judicial role that resembles the final check, in, for instance, a car factory. That final check is there to ensure that no bad cars and cars with major faults leave the factory. The role of the judge is different. In practice that causes some major problems.

Prof. dr. P.J. van Koppen

Carlo Schippers

Landelijke Eenheid Politie

Lecture; Criminal Profiling

How to get away with murder… Committing the perfect murder would be the best option to achieve this goal, but getting the most experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer possibly might also do the trick. Not answering any questions during your police interview or pretending you’re crazy or can’t remember what happened to avoid a conviction are methods that have been tried by murderers also.

For a while the development in DNA-science seemed to be the answer to all the prosecution’s problems, but without the proper context a DNA match doesn’t necessarily proof anything. So, what about using psychological or criminal profiling? It seems to work in Mindhunter on Netflix.

Well, it may contribute to police investigations and help them find their murderers, but the opinions of a profiler cannot be considered evidence in court. What does profiling contribute, what is it based on and how is it used? It helps detectives consider the possible scenarios of the crime they’re investigating and the roles of those involved in that crime, making the murderer’s chances of getting away with it a lot smaller…

Carlo Schippers

Sven Zebel
University of Twente, Department of Conflict, Risk and Safety

​Lecture; Understanding victim-offender mediation: When are victims and offenders of crime open to constructive dialogue?

In Europe and abroad, victims and offenders of crime are increasingly offered the opportunity to repair (im)material damage through voluntary forms of victim-offender mediation (VOM). VOM is considered an important step in victims’ recovery as well as an effective means for offenders to take responsibility and make amends. Importantly, strong empirical indications exist that participation in VOM reduces offenders’ risk of reoffending. However, the VOM literature suffers from selection bias: effects have largely been documented among victims and offenders who agreed to participate to begin with. As participation rates in VOM around the world typically vary between 40-70%, there is a fair chance that parties may decline VOM when offered. Thus, examining why victims and offenders choose to participate in VOM is crucial (a) to understand how the beneficial outcomes documented in the literature come about and (b) important to identify when (and which) victims and offenders are open to constructive dialogue after crime. In the first part of this talk, research is discussed that tested whether the above beneficial outcomes also apply to VOM in the Netherlands. After this the results of a field study are presented in which the process of participation in VOM is examined (n=91 VOM cases). Based on Shnabel and Nadler’s (2008) needs-based model of reconciliation, victims’ need to restore a loss of control and offenders’ need to repair a damaged moral self-image were hypothesized to be motivational forces that explain participation in VOM. 

Sven Zebel