Accountability for gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law in transitional justice processes: Report

Issued by
Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence
Purpose
To inform his report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2021

Background

In the report, the Special Rapporteur the promotion of truth, justice reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence examines the question of the investigation, prosecution and sanctioning of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in transitional contexts.

Summary

The rendering of accounts is a legal obligation of States that is grounded in international human rights law. Additionally, the accountability of perpetrators of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law is an essential pillar of a peaceful and sustainable transition.

The report examines the scope of the legal obligation to prosecute and sanction gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as the constraints, gaps and opportunities encountered in the implementation of this obligation in transitional justice contexts. It explores the accountability mechanisms established in certain countries to hold accountable persons accused of committing such violations, as well as the limits or obstacles imposed in others on the criminal prosecution and/or sanction of perpetrators. It further assesses the normative and conceptual frameworks applicable to such cases.

The report concludes with recommendations addressed to States on how to improve accountability for gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law in compliance with international standards.

Inputs received

In 2021, the Special Rapporteur held an open-ended consultation with States, international organisations, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations to receive their inputs on the issue, through responses to a questionnaire, available in English, Français and Español. The Special Rapporteur is grateful for the valuable contributions received.