The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

Cover page of the book Cover page of the book

27 March 2018

A new book, edited by the two Co-Directors of our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Frank Haldemann and Thomas Unger, provides an unmatched analysis of the United Nations Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity (UN Principles to Combat Impunity).

While widely recognized as an authoritative reference point for the fight against impunity, the UN Principles to Combat Impunity have so far not received a systematic analysis. The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary fills this gap.

‘With the other commentary published by OUP on the 1949 Geneva Conventions, we have now two major commentaries realized under the auspices of the Geneva Academy that cover international humanitarian law and transitional justice, which are the main focus of our three master’s programmes’ underlines Robert Roth, Director of the Geneva academy.

Addressing the Various Dimensions of Transitional Justice and the Fight Against Impunity

Gathering more than 36 scholars and practitioners, the book engages in detail with the various dimensions of the fight against impunity and transitional justice.

‘This commentary provides a detailed principle-by-principle analysis in light of relevant literature and practice, as well as a critical mapping of the field’ underlines Frank Haldemann. ‘As such, it will be of real interest for those seeking to grasp with current issues, challenges and gaps in transitional justice and the fight against impunity’ he adds.

‘The commentary engages with central aspects of transitional justice and the fight against impunity as addressed by the UN Principles to Combat Impunity, including criminal justice, truth commissions, institutional reform and reparations. It touches on issues of victim participation, gender-justice, and the question of amnesties and prevention of mass crimes’ stresses Thomas Unger.

Key Contributions by Geneva Academy Professors, Staff and Alumni

Besides, the two editors, several Geneva Academy professors, staff and alumni contributed to this volume, including Valentina Cadelo (editorial assistant and co-author of the commentaries on Principles 14, 15 and 17), Professor Paola Gaeta (author of the commentary on Principle 21), Professor Robert Roth (author of the commentary on Principle 26), Professor William A. Schabas (author of the commentary on Principle 20), Dr Sandra Krähenmann (author of the definitional part), Ilya Nuzov (co-author of the commentaries on Principles 6 and 7) and Ilia Maria Siatitsa (co-author of the commentary on Principle 25).

About the UN Principles to Combat Impunity

Updated in 2005, the UN Principles to Combat Impunity are the fruit of several years of study, developed under the aegis of the UN Commission on Human Rights and then affirmed by the Human Rights Council.

These Principles are today widely accepted as constituting an authoritative reference point for efforts in the fight against impunity for gross human rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law.

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