The emerging paradigm for operational incident investigation
Investigating operational incidents in a military context : law, justice, politics
Leiden ; Boston : Brill Nijhoff, 2015
In this closing chapter Rob Mc Laughlin considers the following questions: what can we learn about the proper conduct of investigations into operational incidents from recent cases, and what does the future hold for legal and military authorities in this area? The key influences over the evolution of investigations in this area are the expansion of the pool of relevant law, the development of technology that enables better communication of information and gathering of evidence (while at the same time raising unrealistic expectations that military operation should be error-free), the greater contribution by NGOs of various sorts, and finally the interconnectedness of states in operational matters which gives rise to even greater complexity (of law, and interested parties) in the investigatory process. There are three features of investigations that the author believes will characterize developments in the next decade and beyond. First, there will be greater demands for transparency of investigations, including about who conducted the investigation, and how. Second, the scope of what counts as an "operational incident" will continue to expand, to encompass the sources of information and intelligence that led to an operation, and other parts of its planning. And third, investigations will remain open-ended, in the sense that both facts and findings may be revisited formally again and again.