Human Rights Prosecutors? The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Justice, and the Example of Syria
19 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2013 Last revised: 17 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 4, 2013
This draft essay explores the relationship between the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and international justice. I devote a substantial portion of this essay to the ongoing crisis in Syria (as of October 2012), in which the Security Council and international justice have played limited roles while the High Commissioner has taken on increasingly visible tasks as investigator, reporter, advocate, and voice of outrage. Though the Syria experience sits at the center of this essay, ultimately I have broader questions: What are the origins of this relationship and how are these different actors meant to interact? How should OHCHR, and the High Commissioner in particular, engage with international justice? What opportunities exist for the High Commissioner to advance the goals of international justice? What might the framework of a High Commissioner-International Justice relationship look like? Are there any risks involved in the increasing association of OHCHR with international justice? If so, are those acceptable risks? How may those risks be managed? Finally, I conclude with some thoughts about key priorities over the coming years.
Keywords: international law, international justice, human rights, international criminal law, United Nations
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