UO Abroad: Law school professor Carrie Leonetti lectures in Sarajevo
1. Where in the world were you?
2. What work were you doing there?
I lectured to undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of criminal justice and forensic science and researched issues related to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Criminal Procedure Code and eyewitness identification procedures.
3. What does this work mean for your students, peers and/or the university?
This work was particularly germane in Bosnia and Herzegovina because DNA identity testing has been the primary means of establishing the identities of Bosnian/Herzegovnian war crime victims; eyewitness identification has been the primary means of establishing the identities of the perpetrators of those alleged crimes; and Article 85 of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Criminal Procedure Code provides detailed requirements, as a prerequisite to admissibility, for eyewitness identification evidence, which are intended to improve its accuracy and reliability. The comparative study of confrontation and cross-examination was also important because the American institution of cross-examination, which significantly restricts the admissibility of forensic science evidence in common law systems, is historically foreign to the civil law system of adjudication, but is nonetheless increasingly being grafted onto the continental system through mechanisms like Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 261 of the criminal procedure code. The central role that cross-examination plays in the Bosnian/Herzegovnian judicial system (which retains other characteristics of a civil, inquisitorial system) necessitates that Bosnian/Herzegovnian lawyers have an in-depth understanding of expert scientific testimony in criminal trials.
My work is important here in the United States because DNA analysis has led to numerous exonerations of innocent people in the United States who were convicted, at least in part, on the basis of faulty eyewitness identification, and the procedures established in Article 85 are significantly more stringent than those required by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. I regularly teach law school courses in forensic science and criminal law, criminal adjudication (advanced criminal procedure), criminal investigation and evidence, which will be informed by my work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. Tell our readers something they should do if they ever visit this locale.
Visit the Tunnel Museum, which sits on the site of the mouth of the tunnel that ran underneath the Sarajevo Airport from within the city limits to "Free Bosnia" outside, during the siege of Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995, supplying the city with its only source of supplies from outside the siege lines.
5. What was the most memorable experience on your trip?
Watching portions of the war crimes prosecutions at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
UO Abroad is a recurring feature in Inside Oregon that spotlights UO professors, staff and GTFs whose work takes them overseas. If you or someone you know is traveling abroad, contact Communications Specialist Matt Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.