Part III The Right to Justice, A General Principles, Principle 19 Duties of States with Regard to the Administration of Justice
Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger
- Access to justice — Right to truth — Immunity from jurisdiction — Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Principle 19 outlines the duties of States with regard to the administration of justice for victims of serious human rights violations and other international crimes. Under this Principle, States must ensure that those responsible for serious crimes under international law are prosecuted, tried and adequately punished. A state’s (criminal) justice obligations have long been recognized by regional human rights courts and international human rights bodies. While the fight against impunity is the explicit aim of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a major goal of the United Nations, the duty to prosecute lies primarily with the domestic justice system with regional or international mechanisms being subsidiary or complementary. This chapter first provides a contextual and historical background on Principle 19 before discussing its theoretical framework and how human rights courts and treaty bodies have interpreted the duty of States to investigate and prosecute serious human rights violations.