The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

Completed in March 2018

Beginning with the post-World War II Nuremberg and Tokyo trials and gaining momentum since the 1990s, a global anti-impunity discourse has increasingly shaped international law and practice. This marks a shift away from the traditional practice of amnesty towards holding individuals accountable for international crimes.

The United Nations Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity (UN Principles) can be seen as a reflection of this global anti-impunity movement. Originally drafted by Louis Joinet and updated by Diane Orentlicher in 2005, the UN Principles are today widely accepted as constituting an authoritative reference point for efforts in the fight against impunity for gross human rights and serious international humanitarian law violations.

As a comprehensive attempt to ‘codify’ universal accountability norms, the UN Principles marked a significant step forward in the debate on the obligation of states to combat impunity in its various forms. Despite this significance, no comprehensive academic commentary of the 38 principles has yet been provided so far. This project seeks to fill this gap. It aims to provide a companion to the document, setting out the text of the UN Principles and their detailed commentaries, with a full introduction and guide to the relevant literature and case law.

Research Team

The volume, published by Oxford University Press, was prepared under the editorship of Frank Haldemann and Thomas Unger, in collaboration with Valentina Cadelo.

Publications

Cover page of the book

The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

March 2018

Thomas Unger, Frank Haldemann

Oxford University Press

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Cover page of the book News

The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

March 2018

This 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 Principles to Combat Impunity.

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

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This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

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Cover page of the book Publication

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published on July 2019

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Cover page of the War Report 2018 Publication

The War Report 2018

published on April 2019

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