Impunity report -Legal aspects study


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Presentation by Dr. Carmen Draghici of the Legal aspects study during the June 1 conference.

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Impunity report -Legal aspects study

  2. 2. <ul><li>Background: </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic violations of the fundamental rights of journalists </li></ul><ul><li>as they exercise their profession </li></ul><ul><li>Climate of impunity in respect of such violations </li></ul><ul><li>Non-compliance with human-rights obligations as regards the victims </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on freedom of expression and rule of law in societies concerned </li></ul><ul><li>Impunity and the Rule of Law initiative: </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the normative gaps under international law </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize enforcement gaps in current compliance-monitoring mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Explore more effective solutions for the prevention/ sanction of violations </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Existence of substantive norms across general human-rights instruments </li></ul><ul><li>1. General international law instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Binding instruments </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>European Convention on Human Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EU Charter of Fundamental Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>American Convention of Human Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>African Charter on Human and People’s Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Arab Charter on Human Rights </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>right to life </li></ul><ul><li>right to personal liberty and integrity </li></ul><ul><li>freedom from torture </li></ul><ul><li>freedom of expression </li></ul><ul><li>right to an effective remedy </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>General international law instruments (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Scope of provisions as interpreted by monitoring bodies : </li></ul><ul><li>Negative obligations : refrain from </li></ul><ul><li>deliberate killings </li></ul><ul><li>ill-treatment </li></ul><ul><li>unlawful arrest </li></ul><ul><li>interferences having a chilling effect on all media operators/citizenry at large </li></ul><ul><li>Positive obligations : </li></ul><ul><li>conduct police/ military operations in such a way as to minimize loss of life </li></ul><ul><li>adopt all necessary legislative etc. measures to protect journalists against third-party violence/ intimidation </li></ul><ul><li>prompt and effective investigations into suspicious deaths or allegations of torture </li></ul><ul><li>provide effective remedy to victims – identify and prosecute those responsible </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>1. General international law instruments (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Further relevant provisions: humanitarian law </li></ul><ul><li>Applies in times of armed conflict alongside human-rights provisions </li></ul><ul><li>(except for express derogations) </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of civilians in times of war </li></ul><ul><li>- obligations of belligerent parties: </li></ul><ul><li>discriminate civilians from legitimate military targets </li></ul><ul><li>observe proportionality in planning attacks likely to result in collateral damage </li></ul><ul><li>Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions: </li></ul><ul><li>express recognition of civilian status of journalists </li></ul><ul><li>- reiterated in Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006) </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>General international law instruments (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Non-binding instruments </li></ul><ul><li>UN and regional level </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce/ detail the scope of treaty obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Some address explicitly the issue of impunity </li></ul><ul><li>UN General Assembly </li></ul><ul><li>Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power </li></ul><ul><li>ECOSOC </li></ul><ul><li>Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions </li></ul><ul><li>African Commission </li></ul><ul><li>Guidelines and measures for the prohibition and prevention of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Africa </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>2. Measures Specific to the Situation of Journalists </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusively non-binding instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Council: Resolution 12/16 ‘Freedom of opinion and expression’ (2009) </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO: Resolution 29 ‘Condemnation of violence against journalists’ (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO: Medellin Declaration Securing the Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly: Resolution 1535 (2007) on ‘Threats to the lives and freedom of expression of journalists’ </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Resolution on the adoption of the declaration of principles on freedom of expression in Africa (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>call upon States to end the culture of impunity </li></ul><ul><li>require criminalization and independent investigations leading to the punishment of those responsible </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>2. Measures Specific to the Situation of Journalists (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>NGO-promoted instruments </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Reporters Without Borders </li></ul><ul><li>Declaration on the safety of journalists and media personnel in situations involving armed conflict (2003) </li></ul><ul><li>contribution to standard-setting </li></ul><ul><li>incremental operation rather than swift solution </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Implementation deficits </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>affects implementation of positive obligations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. effective police and judicial systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>impairs the functioning of relevant international bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reluctance to accept supra-national monitoring institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>scarcity of international enforcement bodies with binding powers </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>A. Universal mechanisms for monitoring compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Security Council </li></ul><ul><li>binding powers circumscribed to situations amounting to a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace or an act of aggression (Art. 39 UN Charter) </li></ul><ul><li>no general law-enforcement competence </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. in respect of peacetime killings and intimidating acts </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Committee </li></ul><ul><li>quasi-judicial procedure - individual communications </li></ul><ul><li>optional jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>non-binding (albeit authoritative) reports </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>A. Universal mechanisms for monitoring compliance (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Other UN treaty-based monitoring bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Committee against Torture, </li></ul><ul><li>Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women </li></ul><ul><li>no power to adopt binding decisions </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>follow-up mechanism on a voluntary basis </li></ul><ul><li>IPDC Council – meetings every 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>focus on killings of journalists rather than all forms of violence and harassment </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>B. Regional mechanisms for monitoring compliance </li></ul><ul><li>more far-reaching enforcement mechanisms: </li></ul><ul><li>regional courts issuing binding judgments on individual complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Council of Europe – European Convention on Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>compulsory jurisdiction of the European Court to receive individual complaints </li></ul><ul><li>monitoring of execution by the Committee of Ministers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can bring States before the Court for non-compliance (Protocol 14) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suspension and expulsion of States for serious human-rights violations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>American and African human rights systems </li></ul><ul><li>comparable but less incisive </li></ul><ul><li>limits on the ability of the individual to bring a complaint </li></ul><ul><li>many States have not ratified the Protocols giving the relevant courts jurisdiction </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>B. Regional mechanisms for monitoring compliance (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Other regional systems </li></ul><ul><li>- weaker enforcement mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Arab Human Rights Committee </li></ul><ul><li>periodic reports </li></ul><ul><li>ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>consultative body </li></ul><ul><li>South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>no human-rights body </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>B. Regional mechanisms for monitoring compliance (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Factors impairing the effective access to a court </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>excessive length of the proceedings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>costs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ignorance of the legal avenues available </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>intimidation of lawyers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Possible legal responses to the current situation of violations and impunity </li></ul><ul><li>New international instruments for the protection of journalists; and/or </li></ul><ul><li>New specific enforcement mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>The case for a specific instrument/mechanism for the protection of journalists </li></ul><ul><li>vulnerability as a category - targeted on account of their profession </li></ul><ul><li>systemic effect of attacks against journalists </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>impact upon the public’s right to information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>decline of democratic control over the ruling elites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>chilling effect on every one’s freedom of expression </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>success of sectoral conventions </li></ul><ul><li>special categories (children, women, minorities, disabled); or </li></ul><ul><li>special rights (protection against torture, non-discrimination) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>consolidate the guarantees in general instruments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>attach particular stigma to violations </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>1. Options concerning new instruments </li></ul><ul><li>1.1. International Convention </li></ul><ul><li>negotiated within the UN General Assembly or the UNESCO General Conference </li></ul><ul><li>systematize and detail existing obligations in respect of media workers </li></ul><ul><li>1.2. Declaration of Principles </li></ul><ul><li>UN General Assembly resolution </li></ul><ul><li>express determination of the international community to counter impunity </li></ul><ul><li>set the foundations for the adoption of a binding instrument </li></ul><ul><li>precedents: rights of child and women, racial discrimination </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>1. Options concerning new instruments (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate forum: global instrument rather than regional action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cover regions with limited inter-governmental cooperation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>set uniform standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>< trans-border dimension of violence against journalists </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contents of the new conventional/ declaratory instrument </li></ul><ul><li>protection of journalists against attacks on their life </li></ul><ul><li>protection against forced disappearances and kidnapping (by state or private actors) </li></ul><ul><li>protection against arbitrary arrest </li></ul><ul><li>protection against arbitrary deportation/refusal of entry </li></ul><ul><li>protection against confiscation/ damage to property </li></ul><ul><li>humanitarian law provisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>comprehensive codification of all applicable rules in a single instrument </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>2. Options concerning new enforcement mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>2.1. New monitoring body </li></ul><ul><li>2.1.1 Ad hoc body of independent experts </li></ul><ul><li>monitoring compliance of the new convention for the protection of journalists </li></ul><ul><li>mandatory competence to receive complaints </li></ul><ul><li>mandatory power of inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more expedite procedure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>avoid the loss of political pressure ensuing from fragmentation of initiatives </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>2. Options concerning new enforcement mechanisms (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.1. New monitoring body (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.1. 2 Specialist sub-Committee within the Human Rights Council </li></ul><ul><li>an equal number of Gov’t agents and representatives of media workers’ NGOs </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>model similar to International Labour Organization assembly delegations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>empowered to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>undertake studies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>issue recommendations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>report to the Council on individual/ NGOs/ State communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+ Advantages: may receive easier approval </li></ul></ul><ul><li> - Disadvantages: lack of binding powers </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>2. Options concerning new enforcement mechanisms (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.2 Expand the prerogatives of existing bodies </li></ul><ul><li>2.2.1 Human Rights Council </li></ul><ul><li>remove the prior consent requirement for country visits </li></ul><ul><li>introduce a system of regular country visits </li></ul><ul><li>introduce a mechanism of complaints for less exceptional cases </li></ul><ul><li>2.2.2 UNESCO </li></ul><ul><li>IPDC Council </li></ul><ul><li>non-binding reports on individual and collective communications </li></ul><ul><li>power to undertake country visits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advantage: autonomous media issues focal point </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>increase visibility of the challenges facing journalists </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>provide a centralized forum for reaction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Committee on Conventions and Recommendations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance the individual communications procedure </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>2. Options concerning new enforcement mechanisms (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.2 Expand the prerogatives of existing bodies (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.2.3 Regional courts </li></ul><ul><li>priority procedure for media violations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>modelled after the EU post-Lisbon speed procedure for persons deprived of liberty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>acknowledge the wider public implications on freedom of expression </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>2. Options concerning new enforcement mechanisms (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><li>2.3 Enhancing the effectiveness of existing organs within their current competence </li></ul><ul><li>States members of international bodies taking a more pro-active role </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provisions on media protection in Security Council authorizations of peace-keeping missions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>regional bodies - linking trade agreements with compliance with human rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>experience of EU conditionality for accession, association and cooperation agreements </li></ul></ul>