California University of Pennsylvania

A Member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education


Dr. John Cencich

 Professor and Director
Pennsylvania Institute of

Criminological and Forensic Sciences






U.N. War Crimes Tribunal

National Institute of Military Justice

National Institute of Justice International Center

U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI)


International Association of War Crimes Investigators

International Association of Chiefs of Police

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences




Dr. Cencich is a legal scientist and career law enforcement professional who specializes in international crime and the application of law and forensic science to the practical aspects of modern criminal investigation. 

His research, service, and teaching interests are in the areas of:

  • International Law, Crime & Security

  • Political Assassinations

  • Organized Crime

  • Advanced Criminal Investigation

  • Forensic Law and Expert Testimony

Dr. Cencich is a former senior United Nations War Crimes Investigator who previously served more than 20 years as a police officer, investigator, and as a special agent with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Headquartered at The Hague, Netherlands, he and his colleagues undertook international criminal investigations that were principally focused on violent crimes such as mass murder, rape, torture, and extermination.  Special Agent Cencich co-developed the prosecution theory, wrote the investigations plan, and led an international team of senior police investigators on the case against Slobodan MiloÜević (and numerous other co-perpetrators in the joint criminal enterprise),  for crimes against humanity alleged to have been committed throughout Croatia. 

Professor Cencich earned a doctorate in  Juridical Science from the University of Notre Dame. He also holds a law degree from Kent Law School at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, a master's degree in criminal justice, a certificate in forensic science and law, and a bachelor's degree in organizational management. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he attended executive programs in crisis management and leadership.   

Dr. Cencich is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and has received advanced law enforcement and criminal investigative training from the FBI and New Scotland Yard. His law-enforcement experiences range from conducting national security and violent crime investigations to traditional and non-traditional organized crime cases, particularly those involving conspiracies such as bootlegging, narcotics, and illegal gambling enterprises.  He is a court-qualified expert witness relative to the forensic analysis, reconstruction, and interpretation of racketeering records, and his previous appointments have included the Governor's State Agency Drug Task Force, the Attorney General's Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Task Force, and the Organized Crime Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

As the Director of the Pennsylvania Institute of Criminological and Forensic Sciences, Dr. Cencich works with a unique team of forensic and behavioral scientists who provide specialized services and training to police officers, detectives, district attorneys, coroners, and others involved in the administration of justice.  These services include: Crime Scene Investigation; Cold Case Files; Threat Assessment; Behavioral Crime; Computer Forensics; Forensic Anthropology; Gambling Device Examination; Fraud Examination; Forensic Analysis, Reconstruction, and Interpretation of Racketeering Records; Criminal Intelligence Analysis; and Forensic Interrogations of Criminal Suspects. 

Watkins B-1
250 University Avenue

California, PA 15419

Office:  724.938.1576
Fax:     724.938.4265
E-mail at:


Courses Taught Since 2002:

Criminal Investigative Analysis

Equivocal Death Analysis

Sex Crimes and Predators

Behavioral Analysis of Violent Crime

International Criminal Justice 

Foreign Study in Law and Justice

The Death Penalty

Criminal Law

Forensic Law

Organized Crime 

Advanced Criminal Law and Investigation


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