At the heart of the procedural interview are principles of interpersonal communication, namely: respect, ethics and human rights.
On January 17, 2018, a visit of Asbjørn Rachlew to Kyiv took place. Asbjørn Rachlew is a Norwegian investigator with 25 years of experience, who led the investigation team in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, suspected in committing the terrorist attack in Norway on July 22, 2011, killing 77 people. In his work Asbjørn Rachlew uses the method of procedural interview versus classical interrogation. The Norwegian investigator, who came to Ukraine at the invitation of the International Renaissance Foundation, told the Ukrainian human rights activists, investigators and prosecutors about the difference between these two approaches, the advantages of the procedural interviewing and the use of this method in practice.
For over 20 years the International Renaissance Foundation has been creating an environment to respect and to protect human rights in Ukraine, seeking to ensure a greater openness of the law-enforcement system and a better access of Ukrainians to public services, in particular, in the field of justice.
According to Asbjørn Rachlew, the main goal of any investigation is to obtain as much of information as possible in an accurate and reliable manner. At the heart of the procedural interview are principles of interpersonal communication, namely: respect, ethics and human rights. Communication built on these principles helps stimulate an interlocutor to communicate, thus allowing the investigation to collect as much information as possible.
The information obtained as a result of classical interrogation, which in any country, including Ukraine, is usually accompanied by manipulative techniques, intimidation, and sometimes torture, cannot be accurate and reliable. First, the information obtained with a violation of human rights should not be acceptable. Second, being in such situations of interrogation, any person would be obviously very nervous, and that would slow down the work of brain and memory. All this would hamper the communication, thus greatly reducing the chances of the investigation to get as much information as possible in an accurate and reliable manner.
Asbjørn Rachlew emphasizes that while the use of interrogation would stimulate the narrow “tunnel vision” in the investigators, the procedural interview would broaden it. The reason behind it is that the goal of interrogation is to examine any one key accusatorial hypothesis and to obtain the confession of the suspect. This path may lean the investigation to the wrong conclusions. Instead, the methodology of procedural interview would allow testing not only one, but all possible hypotheses, thus, excluding all those that are refuted.
Mr.Asbjørn Rachlew has 25 years of experience in the investigation, of which he spent 20 years using the method of procedural interview instead of interrogation. Working on the case of Breivik, who was accused of terrorism, the investigation team led by Mr.Asbjørn Rachlew managed not to betray their own values and approaches to work.
In the investigation of that case, the method of procedural interview was also used: Norwegian investigators conducted 31 interviews during nine months, which lasted 220 hours in total. Breivik was sentenced to imprisonment and is still in prison. In his blog, Rachlew provided the details of the investigation in the Breivik’s case.
Talking to Ukrainian colleagues, Asbjørn Rachlew emphasized that the case of Breivik, who was accused of terrorism, is a vivid example that demonstrates the effectiveness of interviewing in the investigation of any crimes, including such grave ones.