The ill-treatment of prisoners is a deep-rooted issue in several
countries of Eastern Europe, with
incidents of coercion and torture frequently appearing before the European
Court of Human Rights.
Professor Jim Murdoch's fact-finding missions to the Ukraine and Georgia
on behalf of the
European Union and the Council of Europe have resulted in changes to
structures and procedural frameworks in the Ukraine and Georgia.
Additionally, the reports
produced by Professor Murdoch and his colleagues led to a €700,000
training programme affecting
more than 7,000 judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers across the
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Professors Carolyn Hoyle and Roger Hood have, since 1988, carried out
research in Oxford on the death penalty. Their work has had impact in
several countries, including
Trinidad, India, Uganda, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Most recently, it
is acknowledged as having
contributed to reforms of the death penalty in China, the main case
discussed here. In February
2011, China abolished the death penalty for 13 non-violent crimes, thereby
reducing the number of
crimes punishable by death from 68 to 55. Various influences shaped these
changes, and in a
society where access to academic work is highly restricted, the influence
of most foreign research
inevitably has been minimal. The comparative studies undertaken by Hood
and Hoyle, however,
are a remarkable exception. The only work of its kind to have been
translated, published, and
widely disseminated in China, it provided a unique resource and body of
evidence, and was used
not only by emergent civil society groups, but also in official Chinese
circles, including the judiciary.
The impact of their research in China extends the existing worldwide
influence of their research.