Resolutions passed by consensus of members of the IAFPA.
Language and Determination of National Identity Cases Resolution
At the IAFPA’s 2009 Annual Conference held in Cambridge (UK), a resolution concerning analysis of language and speech for the determination of national identity was passed at the AGM:
In cases involving the analysis of language and speech for the determination of national identity IAFPA recognises the contribution to be made by:
- Linguists and trained native speakers with the latter working under the guidance and supervision of the former;
- Linguists with in-depth research knowledge of the language(s) in question.
It is not a valid assumption that a native speaker, linguist or specialized linguist is by definition also a qualified analyst, capable of performing the type of analysis referred to here. Language analysis is a form of forensic analysis that requires additional skills and competence. Individual competences and experience affect the quality of the analyses, regardless of the method. Specific training and testing is therefore recommended.
The conclusion expressed should in all cases reflect not only the strengths and weaknesses of the material analysed but also of the personnel involved.
At the IAFPA’s 2007 Annual Conference held in Plymouth (UK), a resolution was passed at the AGM which presents the organisation’s position in relation to voiceprints:
IAFPA dissociates itself from the approach to forensic speech comparison known as the “voiceprint” or “voicegram” method in the sense described in Tosi (1979).
This approach to forensic speaker identification involves the holistic, i.e., non-analytic, comparison of speech spectrograms in the absence of interpretation based on understanding of how spectrographic patterns relate to acoustic reflexes of articulatory events and vocal tract configurations.
The Association considers this approach to be without scientific foundation, and it should not be used in forensic casework.
Tosi, O.I. (1979) Voice Identification: Theory and Legal Applications. Baltimore: University Park Press.