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A Practical Guide to Using International Human Rights and Criminal Law Procedures

Connie de la Vega and Alen Mirza

This book is a practical, experience-based guide for advocates seeking remedies for human rights violations through the use of international institutions. Since 1948, when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mechanisms for addressing human rights violations have multiplied to include UN Charter based bodies, treaty-based organizations including the international criminal court, and regional institutions. Each mechanism has its own admissibility requirements: accreditation, timeliness of claims, and exhaustion of remedies. For practitioners, the maze of rules and institutions can be difficult to navigate. This book offers step-by-step approaches for maximizing the institutions’ intended effect–promotion of human rights at all levels.
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Contents

Connie de la Vega and Alen Mirza

List of authors and contributors
Acknowledgements
List of abbreviations
Introduction
1. International human rights procedures
A Charter-based procedures
1 Human Rights Council
2. Economic and Social Council
B Treaty-based procedures
1 Considering State reports
2 Adjudicating individual communications
3 Conducting inquiries
4 Issuing general comments
5 Taking measures under early warning and urgent action procedures
6 Establishing national preventive mechanisms and conducting country visits (under the SPT)
2. Regional human rights systems
A Organization of American States human rights bodies
1 Petition system
2 Thematic hearings
3 Country studies and on-site investigations
4 Advisory jurisdiction
B The European Court of Human Rights
1 Impact litigation in the European Court
2 Backlog: a cautionary tale
3 Introduction to the individual complaint system
4 Understanding the protocol system and how it impacts the work of litigators
5 Third-party interventions – Article 36(2) of the Convention
6 Remedies
7 What role does the Council of Europe play?
8 Looking to the Court of Justice of the European Union
C African human rights system
1 Engaging with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
2 Engaging with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
3. Advocacy at the International Criminal Court
A Background
B Contributing to court proceedings: victim advocacy during investigation and litigation, amicus curiae briefs and Article 15 submissions
1 Direct victim advocacy
2 Contributing to court proceedings: Article 15 communications to the Prosecutor
3 Contributing to court proceedings: amicus curiae briefs
C Working outside the court: fieldwork and the Assembly of States Parties
1 Fieldwork and serving as an ‘intermediary’
2 Attending and participating in the annual Assembly of States Parties
Conclusion
A Mechanisms for the development of thematic standards
1 Admissibility and access
2 Political or independent
3 Degree of urgency
4 Confidential or public
5 Desired outcome
B Mechanisms for addressing human rights violations in a particular country
1 Admissibility and access
2 Political or independent
3 Degree of urgency
4 Confidential or public
5 Desired outcome
C Reprisals
D The International Criminal Court
Index