Are UN Investigations into Human Rights Violations a Viable Solution? An Assessment of UN Commissions of Inquiry

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This paper evaluates the activities of UN commissions of inquiry and asks whether investigations can be a viable solution to human rights violations. A case study of UN commissions of inquiry was used to evaluate the activities of commissions. The recent increase in UN commissions is significant as they could potentially be an alternative to the international accountability system. Specifically, there have been three achievements: (1) innovations in investigation methods; (2) international agenda setting; and (3) establishing grounds for accountability. However, there are still problems and issues with UN investigations that need to be overcome in the course of future developments. Three requirements were identified: (1) a balanced perspective; (2) reliable sources of information; and (3) more access to and cooperation from the target state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-115
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Human Rights Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • investigation
  • North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
  • UN commission of inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law

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