United Nations mandated commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions and investigations are increasingly being used to respond to situations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, whether protracted or resulting from sudden events, and to promote accountability for such violations and counter impunity. These international investigative bodies have been established by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
As part of its core work, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides expertise and support to commissions and missions established by UN bodies, and carries out missions under the mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or at the request of other bodies. OHCHR work includes developing guidance and tools for the operation of commissions and missions, advising on mandate development, investigation methodology and applicable international law, setting up secretariats with specialist staff, providing administrative, logistical and security support, providing briefing and training to members and staff, undertaking reviews and lessons learned exercises. Since 1992, OHCHR has provided support to and deployed close to 50 commissions and missions.
The Research Guide accessible on the left-hand side provides key information on international commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions and other investigations established by the United Nations to gather information, analyze and report on violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including: mandating authority, mandate, members, key dates and links to related resolutions and reports.
UN Human Rights Commission collects evidence to hold more than 40 South Sudanese officials accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity23 February 2018
Freedom of expression vital for peace in conflict-afflicted South Sudan22 February 2018
Stop the “monstrous annihilation” of Eastern Ghouta21 February 2018
Yemen: Civilians at mercy of sniping, shelling and airstrikes12 February 2018
UN rights chief urges international action as violence soars in Syria9 February 2018
President of Human Rights Council appoints new chairperson of Commission of Inquiry on Burundi1 February 2018
UN human rights experts call for perpetrators of widespread human rights violations to be brought to justice in South Sudan 22 December 2017
Human Rights Commission wants end to impunity for perpetrators of violence against South Sudanese 16 December 2017
Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar concludes visit to Malaysia 11 December 2017
UN human rights expert group begin visit to South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia 11 December 2017
Yemen: Zeid appoints group of eminent international and regional experts 4 December 2017
Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic A/HRC/36/55 (8 August 2017) | العربية (Annex)
Human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations in the Syrian Arab Republic, 21 July 2016- 28 February 2017*. Conference room paper of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic - A/HRC/34/CRP.3English only (10 March 2017)
Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi
A/HRC/36/54 (11 Aug. 2017) and Corr.1 (4 October 2017)
Rapport final détaillé de la Commission d’enquête sur le Burundi A/HRC/36/CRP.1/Rev.1 (20 September 2017) (Français)
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