Joint study on the contribution of transitional justice to the prevention of gross violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and their recurrence


Published
6 June 2018
Issued by
The Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide
Presented
At the 37th session of the HRC

Background

The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 33/19, in which the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the Special Adviser to the Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide to prepare a joint study on the contribution of transitional justice to the prevention of gross violations and abuses of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and their recurrence.

The two experts welcome the opportunity to collaborate in articulating views on the prevention of atrocity crimes, a long-standing issue of concern to the entire United Nations system. The issue has regained prominence, given the emphasis placed on prevention by the new Secretary-General, who has underscored the vast resources expended in responding to crises, rather than preventing them, and has stated that prevention is not merely a priority, but the priority, with atrocity prevention at the heart of his overall prevention agenda.

Summary

The purpose of the present report is to highlight the ways in which transitional justice can contribute to the prevention of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, in particular genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The term “atrocity crimes” refers to those four categories of acts. Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are crimes under international law. Although not explicitly defined as an independent crime under international law, ethnic cleansing includes acts that are serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law and that may amount to crimes against humanity, genocide or war crimes. “Atrocity prevention” refers to the prevention of those four types of acts.

Inputs received

The Special Rapporteur and the Special Adviser were asked, in preparing the study, to seek the views of States, relevant United Nations mandate holders, relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and in particular the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders.