Monitoring Second-Order Compliance: The Follow-Up Procedures of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies

Czech Yearbook of International Law 9 (2018): 329-356

46 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2018 Last revised: 7 May 2018

Date Written: January 12, 2018


A key question concerning the role and relevance of international organizations is the extent to which their rules and decisions are being complied with and how effective they are in resolving the problems for the solution of which they were ostensibly created. This also applies to Dispute settlement mechanisms whose raison d’être is to clarify the boundaries of permissible behaviour within applicable international law and, ideally, to trigger remedial action when these boundaries have been overstepped. Yet formally institutionalized mechanisms to monitor second-order compliance with judgments and decisions of judicial and quasi-judicial decision-making bodies remain a rarity in the designs of dispute settlement mechanisms. Where these are lacking in their constitutive instruments, some dispute-settlement bodies have developed mechanisms to monitor and assess second-order compliance of their own. This article explores the follow-up procedures of the UN human rights treaty bodies with a focus on the compliance standards employed by them. While these procedures by themselves will not suffice to resolve the compliance challenges that the treaty bodies face, they may contribute to enforcement by enabling more targeted naming and shaming by interested stakeholders and NGOs.

Keywords: compliance, human rights, treaty bodies, individual communications, views, follow-up, enforcement

Suggested Citation

von Staden, Andreas, Monitoring Second-Order Compliance: The Follow-Up Procedures of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies (January 12, 2018). Czech Yearbook of International Law 9 (2018): 329-356, Available at SSRN:

Andreas Von Staden (Contact Author)

Universität Hamburg ( email )

Department of Social Sciences
Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, Hamburg 20148

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