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Part II The Right to Know, A General Principles, Principle 4 The Victims’ Right to Know

Dermot Groome

From: The United Nations Principles to Combat Impunity: A Commentary

Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Right to truth

Principle 4 deals with the victims’ right to know, which is most often exercised in conjunction with Principle 2, the right to truth. This principle not only guarantees families to know the ultimate fate of relatives but also requires a full and fair exposition of what happened, including the existence of human rights violations. The right to know was first articulated in Article 32 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and has evolved as a principle of customary international humanitarian law. Principle 4 recognizes the basic human need for families to know the fate of missing loved ones and is best understood as a right extending humanitarian protection to families of the missing. This chapter first provides a contextual and historical background on Principle 4 before discussing its theoretical framework and the ways in which the right to know is exercised in practice.

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