Since its establishment in 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has authorised a growing number of independent commissions of inquiry (COI) to investigate the facts and circumstances of urgent human rights situations. Overall, the UNHRC has established 28 COI, fact-finding missions and other investigations. Increasingly, these international COI receive explicit mandates to pursue ‘accountability’ in addition to their central fact-finding role.
In parallel, CSOs, both international and local, are increasingly advancing accountability mechanisms. For example, the International Bar Association (IBA) has developed capacity-building activities for the legal community in Syria through the autonomous International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute; set up a civil society-led inquiry model in North Korea under the auspices of the IBA War Crimes Committee; and created the organisation eyeWitness to Atrocities alongside an eponymously titled mobile phone app. The app is a tool for documenting and reporting human rights atrocities in a secure and verifiable way in order that the information can be used as evidence in a court of law to hold perpetrators to account.
This event, to be video recorded and thereafter placed in the public domain, is taking place with the support of: