The Design and Planning of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions

54 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2013

See all articles by Rob Grace

Rob Grace

Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies; US Institute of Peace; Harvard Program on Negotiation

Date Written: December 9, 2013


The design and planning process is crucial to the implementation of monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms geared toward investigating violations of international law, including human rights, international criminal law, and international humanitarian law. However, many disagreements exist about how MRF actors should weigh different factors in their design and planning decision-making processes. This paper — to provide a point of reference indicating the implications of different methodological choices — examines areas of methodological agreement and disagreement, trends of professional decision-making, and normative perceptions that practitioners hold about best practices regarding the design and planning of MRF mechanisms. Based on an assessment of fifteen MRF missions implemented over the past decade, this paper analyzes how commissioners on these missions interpreted the mission’s investigative scope, examines the factors that guided decisions about the activities that the mission would undertake, and offers an overview of common staffing dilemmas. Overall, the paper aims to present a portrait of the state of MRF practice, in terms of how practitioners approach fulfilling their mandates.

Suggested Citation

Grace, Rob and Grace, Rob, The Design and Planning of Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions (December 9, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Rob Grace (Contact Author)

Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies ( email )

280 Brook Street
Providence, RI 02906
United States

US Institute of Peace ( email )

2301 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Harvard Program on Negotiation ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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