International and Regional Mechanisms for Holding Human Rights Offenders Accountable

“International and Regional Mechanisms for Holding Human Rights Offenders Accountable” by Kapok Tree Diplomacy

PREVIEW            [Includes Table of Contents] Full essay is 2,825 words. 10 pages double-spaced. 12 references

Section One – United Nations Charter-Based and Treaty-Based Bodies

Charter-Based Institutions. These institutions include the UN General Assembly (GA), the UN Security Council (UNSC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Human Rights Council (HRC), and other authorized bodies created by them such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) (Steiner, Alston & Goodman (SAG) 737). “The single most important contribution made by the Charter-based bodies … has been through the elaboration of an ever-growing body of standards designed to flesh out … the norms enunciated in the Universal Declaration” (SAG 742). Each institution differs in its accountability processes.

Processes for Obtaining Justice


Fact-finding, is often subject to numerous obstacles such as government secrecy, availability of witnesses and lack of evidence that can negatively impact its credibility (SAG 749). Special rapporteurs may be appointed by UN bodies to conduct the mission, but even they may be intimidated and inhibited in their freedom of movement and inquiry (SAG 752).

1503 and 1235 Procedures

The 1503 procedure investigates “situations which appear to reveal a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations” that may come from “any person or group who is a victim or has direct and reliable knowledge of violations” (SAG 755). The procedure is slow and lightly used and has also been accused by Amnesty International of being a “screen of confidentiality” that allows violations to continue. The 1235 procedure examines gross violations in a range of states and allows special rapporteurs to present detailed findings and recommendations to the HRC on an annual basis (SAG 760).  Shaming can have an impact.

Table of Contents

I.  United Nations Charter-Based and Treaty-Based Bodies

A.  Charter-Based Institutions

B.  Processes for Obtaining Justice

1.  Fact Finding

2.   1503 and 1235 Procedures

3.  Special Procedures

C.  UN Human Rights Council

D.  UN Security Council

E.  ICCPR Human Rights Committee

II.  Regional Human Rights, Courts and Councils

A.  European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

B.  Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

III.  The Impact of Tradition and Culture

IV.  Accountability for Human Rights Violations During Armed Conflict

V.  Conclusion

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