Reporting Killings as Human Rights Violations Handbook

Reporting Killings as Human Rights Violations Handbook

How to document and respond to potential violations of the right to life within the international system for the protection of human rights

By Kate Thompson and Camille Giffard

Handbook links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Part I: Essential Reading - Part II: Identifying a Potential Violation - Part III: How to Document Allegations of Unlawful Killings - Part IV: Responding to the Information Collected - Part V: Where can you Seek Further Help? - Appendices

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Selected Abbreviations

Index of Tables

Glossary of Specialised Terms

Publishing Information, Contributors and Acknowledgements

Search

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PART I - ESSENTIAL READING

1. INTRODUCTION

2. USING THIS HANDBOOK

2.1. Outline of core chapters

2.2. Terminology

2.3. Essential policy issues

2.3.1. Security

2.3.2. Professional ethics

2.3.3. Informed consent

2.3.4. Support and rehabilitation of witnesses, relatives and friends of the victim

2.4. Practical advice

3. WHAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE BY TAKING ACTION

3.1. Draw attention to a situation/establish a pattern of violations

3.1.1. Seek positive changes in a general situation

3.1.2. Challenge impunity

3.2. Seek a remedy for an individual victim

3.2.1. A finding of violation

3.2.2. Holding perpetrators to account

3.2.3. Reparation

3.2.4. Preventing the deportation of an individual to a country where he or she would be at risk of unlawful death or ill-treatment

3.3. Encourage reform of a state agency: Improvements in the implementation of international standards

SUMMARY OF PART I

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PART II - IDENTIFYING A POTENTIAL VIOLATION

1. INTRODUCTION

2. LEGAL CONTEXT

2.1. Human rights law

2.2. International Law of Armed Conflict

2.3. Individual criminal responsibility under international law

3. THE RIGHT TO LIFE

3.1. Prohibition of arbitrary killing

3.1.1. Law enforcement

3.1.1.1. Basic principles

3.1.1.2. Potential violations

3.1.2. Institutions

3.1.2.1. Institutions within the criminal justice system

3.1.2.2. Institutions outside the criminal justice system

3.1.3. Military operations

3.1.3.1. Applicable human rights rules

3.1.3.2. Applicable ILAC rules

3.1.4. Deaths resulting from torture

3.2. Obligation to protect the right to life

3.2.1. General obligation to protect

3.2.2. State officials and the obligation to protect

3.2.2.1. Law enforcement

3.2.2.2. Institutions

3.2.3. Non-state actors and the obligation to protect

3.3. Obligation to conduct an effective investigation

3.4. Obligation to provide an effective domestic remedy

3.5. Enforced disappearances as a violation of the right to life

4. PATTERNS OF VIOLATION

5. IS THERE A VIOLATION

SUMMARY OF PART II

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PART III - HOW TO DOCUMENT ALLEGATIONS OF UNLAWFUL KILLINGS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. BASIC AIMS OF DOCUMENTATION

2.1. Good quality information

2.1.1. Evaluating the evidence

2.2. Accurate and reliable information

2.3. Urgent cases

3. EVIDENCE

3.1. Medical evidence

3.2. Witness evidence

3.2.1. General considerations

3.2.2. Witness statements

3.2.3. Conducting the interview

3.2.3.1. Before you start

3.2.3.2. How should you begin the interview?

3.2.3.3. Should you keep notes of the interview?

3.2.3.4. By whom should the interview be conducted?

3.2.3.5. Are there any special considerations to keep in mind when using interpreters?

3.2.3.6. What can you do to make the interviewee feel more at ease?

3.2.3.7. How can you deal with people who are too afraid to talk?

3.2.3.8. Are there any special considerations to keep in mind when conducting interviews in prisons or other places of group custody?

3.2.3.9. How can you address the sensitivity of the subject-matter?

3.2.3.10. What can you do to maximise the reliability of information?

3.2.3.11. Are there any special gender considerations to take into account when selecting an interviewer or interview team?

3.2.3.12. Are there any special considerations to take into account when interviewing children?

4. INVESTIGATIVE FRAMEWORK

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Basic facts about the killing

4.2.1. Who - is there a dead body and what is its identity?

4.2.1.1. Sources of evidence

4.2.2. When, where - the scene of the killing?

4.2.2.1 Sources of evidence

4.2.3. Why and how - cause and manner of death?

4.2.3.1. Sources of evidence for establishing cause and manner of death

4.3. History and circumstances of the killing

4.3.1. What you need to know about the deceased

4.3.1.1. Sources of evidence

4.3.2. The scene and the suspects

4.3.2.1. Sources of evidence

4.3.3. The general context

4.3.4. Death in custody and non-custodial residential settings

4.3.4.1 Types of institution

4.3.4.2. Circumstances and location of detention

4.3.4.3. Conditions of detention

4.3.4.4. Sources of evidence

4.4. The state's response

4.4.1. Sources of evidence

4.4.1.1. General legislation and regulations

4.4.1.2. Documentation on the state's response in the individual case

SUMMARY OF PART III

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PART IV - RESPONDING TO THE INFORMATION COLLECTED

1. INTRODUCTION TO POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION

1.1. Action at the international level

1.1.1. Range of international procedures

1.1.1.1. Origin of the mechanism

1.1.1.2. Functions of the mechanism

1.1.1.2.1. Reporting functions

1.1.1.2.2. Complaint procedures

1.1.2. How to select an international procedure

1.1.2.1. Availability: which mechanisms are open to you?

1.1.2.2. Suitability: which mechanisms are most suited to your objectives?

1.2. Action at the national level

1.2.1. Criminal proceedings

1.2.2. Civil proceedings

1.2.3. Human rights proceedings in national courts

1.2.4. Administrative proceedings

1.2.5. Disciplinary proceedings

1.2.6. Asylum claims

1.2.7. Exceptional remedies

1.2.8. National human rights institutions

1.2.9. Field offices of inter-governmental organisations

2. WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTERNATIONAL REPORTING MECHANISMS AND HOW TO USE THEM

2.1. What kind of general characteristics should your communication have?

2.1.1. Accessible

2.1.2. Balanced and Credible

2.1.3. Detailed

2.2. Submitting information to a body engaged in monitoring: what should your communication include?

2.2.1. Sending general information to a monitoring body

2.2.2. Sending an individual allegation to a monitoring body

2.3. Submitting information in the context of the state reporting procedure

2.3.1. How does the state reporting procedure work?

2.3.2. What can you achieve by submitting information in the context of the state reporting procedure?

2.3.3. What should an NGO report in the context of the state reporting procedure contain?

2.3.4. Practical tips for submitting information in the context of the state reporting procedure

2.4. Submitting information to a body engaged in fact-finding

2.4.1. Submitting information in advance of a fact-finding visit

2.4.2. Submitting information during a fact-finding visit

3. WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COMPLAINT PROCEDURES AND HOW TO USE THEM

3.1. What can you seek to achieve by using individual complaint procedures?

3.2. What kind of complaints can individual complaint procedures examine?

3.3. How do individual complaint procedures work?

3.3.1. Basic chronology

3.3.2. Admissibility

3.3.2.1. What is admissibility?

3.3.2.2. Why might a complaint be declared inadmissible?

3.3.2.2.1. What does 'exhaustion of domestic remedies' mean?

3.3.3 Amicus curiae briefs/Third party interventions

3.3.4. Provisional measures

3.4. What should an application under an individual complaint procedure contain?

3.5. Practical tips for using individual complaint procedures

4. THE MECHANISMS AND PROCEDURES: UNITED NATIONS

4.1. Introduction to the United Nations system

4.2. Reporting mechanisms within the United Nations system

4.2.1. The United Nations Non-Treaty Procedures

4.2.1.1. The revised 1503 Procedure

4.2.1.1.1. How does the revised 1503 Procedure work?

4.2.1.1.2. What can you achieve by submitting information to the revised 1503 Procedure?

4.2.1.1.3. What should a communication to the revised 1503 Procedure contain?

4.2.1.1.4. Specific tips

4.2.1.2. The Special Procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights

4.2.1.2.1. Thematic Rapporteurs and Working Groups

4.2.1.2.2. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

4.2.1.2.2.1. How does the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions work?

4.2.1.2.2.2. What can you achieve by submitting information to the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions?

4.2.1.2.2.3. What should a communication to the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions?

4.2.1.2.2.4. Specific tips

4.2.1.2.3. Country Rapporteurs

4.2.2. The United Nations Treaty Bodies

4.2.2.1. Human Rights Committee

4.2.2.1.1. How does the Human Rights Committee work?

4.2.2.1.2. Specific tips

4.2.2.2. Other committees

4.2.2.2.1. Specific tips

4.3. Complaint procedures within the United Nations system

4.3.1. The Human Rights Committee

4.3.1.1. What are the admissibility requirements?

4.3.1.2. Specific tips

4.3.2. CERD

4.3.2.1. What are the admissibility requirements?

4.3.2.2. Specific tips

4.3.3. CEDAW

4.3.3.1. What are the admissibility requirements?

4.3.3.2. Specific tips

4.3.4. CAT

5. THE MECHANISMS AND PROCEDURES: REGIONAL

5.1. The European System

5.1.1. Complaint Procedure: The European Convention on Human Rights

5.1.1.1. What are the admissibility requirements?

5.1.1.2. What should your application contain?

5.1.1.3. Specific tips

5.1.2. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture

5.2. The Inter-American System

5.2.1. Reporting Mechanism: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

5.2.1.1. How does the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights work?

5.2.1.2. What can you achieve by submitting information to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights?

5.2.1.3. What should a communication to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights contain?

5.2.2. Complaint Procedure: the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights

5.2.2.1. What can you achieve by using this procedure?

5.2.2.2. What kind of complaints can be examined?

5.2.2.3. What are the admissibility requirements?

5.2.2.4. Specific tips

5.3. The African System

5.3.1. Reporting Mechanisms

5.3.1.1. African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

5.3.1.1.1. Functions

5.3.1.1.2. Specific tips

5.3.1.2. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

5.3.1.2.1. Functions

5.3.1.2.2. Specific tips

5.3.1.3. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions in Africa

5.3.1.4. Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa

5.3.2. Complaint Procedures

5.3.2.1. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

5.3.2.2. What are the admissibility requirements?

5.3.2.3. Specific tips

5.3.2.4. African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

5.4. Other Regions

6. COMPARATIVE EVALUATION TABLES OF THE INTERNATIONAL PROCEDURES

SUMMARY OF PART IV

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PART V - WHERE CAN YOU SEEK FURTHER HELP?

1. WHY YOU MAY WISH TO SEEK FURTHER HELP?

2. SOME SPECIFIC SOURCES OF HELP

2.1. International Committee of the Red Cross

2.2. UN High Commissioner for Refugees

2.3. Field missions and visits

2.4. International Fact-Finding Commission

2.5. International and national or local NGOs, and other support organisations

2.6. Professional associations or networks

2.7. Internet

2.8. Lobbying

SUMMARY OF PART V

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APPENDICES

1. APPENDIX I - LIST OF RELEVANT INSTRUMENTS

2. APPENDIX II - CONTACT DETAILS AND OBTAINING FURTHER INFORMATION

3. APPENDIX III - STANDARD APPLICATION FORMS

4. APPENDIX IV - INTERNATIONAL LAW TEXTS

5. APPENDIX V - BODY DIAGRAMS

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Handbook links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Part I: Essential Reading - Part II: Identifying a Potential Violation - Part III: How to Document Allegations of Unlawful Killings - Part IV: Responding to the Information Collected - Part V: Where can you Seek Further Help? - Appendices
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