New publication shows how Geneva-based UN human rights bodies can be used more effectively to combat impunity

TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) and the ICJ presented a new publication on the potentials of Geneva-based human rights bodies in the fight against impunity and in promoting accountability of individuals responsible for crimes under international law and gross human rights violations.

The publication Promoting Accountability through the Human Rights Bodies in Geneva focuses on bodies such as the Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies.

The report proposes initiatives through which States, civil society and other stakeholders can better engage the Human Rights Council and other Geneva-based human rights mechanisms promoting better accountability. They include:

  • Ensuring that the Human Rights Council focuses more consistently on accountability, for instance through the introduction of a periodic resolution on international justice and accountability and with greater attention given to international criminal law and the International Criminal Court;
  • Ensuring that accountability-related action points are systematically taken up by the Human Rights Council in thematic and country-specific resolutions, as well as in recommendations made within the UPR mechanism;
  • Ensuring that Special Procedures and Commissions of Inquiry engage on a deeper basis with accountability-related issues, formulating appropriate recommendations and conducting studies where needed and appropriate.

“Although the UN human rights system has made great strides over the years in the promotion and protection of human rights, one area in which it has fallen short of its potential is in the area of combating impunity,” said Ian Seiderman, ICJ’s Legal & Policy Director. “As long as perpetrators of gross human rights violations avoid facing justice, human rights can never be fully realized.”

Gabriella Citroni, TRIAL’s Senior Legal Adviser added: “promoting and mainstreaming issues related to the fight against impunity requires cooperation between all stakeholders, in particular States and civil society organizations. The publication aims at fostering joint efforts to make accountability a key issue in the discussions and activities undertaken by Geneva-based human rights bodies.”


Gabriella Citroni, Senior Legal Adviser, TRIAL,: +41 22 321 61 10 ; email: gabriella.citroni(a)

Ian Seiderman, Director, Legal & Policy, ICJ, t: +41 22 979 3837; email: ian.seiderman(at)

Universal-ICJTRIAL-Geneva bodies-impunity-Publications-report-2013 (full text of version for States in pdf)

Universal-ICJTRIAL-Geneva bodies-impunity-Publications-report.2013 (full text of version for NGOs in pdf)

Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferré


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