Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger
- Human rights — Immunity from jurisdiction — International criminal law, victims
In this prologue, the author reflects on the process of updating in 2005 the United Nations Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity (‘The Principles’). The author, who drafted the report that accompanied the Updated Principles, discusses the challenges involved in her work as well as the factors that were taken into consideration in the preparation of the report. The Principles, first conceived in 1997, serve two fundamentally different functions: first, as a classic soft law instrument and second, as ‘standards drawn from experience’ that could serve ‘as a broad strategic framework for action against impunity’. As a source of practical guidance derived from ‘best practices’, the Principles seek to honor local agency, reflecting in particular the perspectives of victims. They also recognize the elemental importance of clarifying where local discretion ends and legal obligation begins.