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The role of Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council in atrocity prevention

Rossetti, Clarissa

The research looks into mass human rights violations categorized as atrocity crimes, i.e. genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, examining the role played by the United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures in their prevention. The research examines whether the nature of the mechanism makes it well-positioned to identify patterns of human rights violations which may escalate into large-scale violence and mass atrocities. Atrocity crimes can represent a significant threat to stability. Given their relevance of mass atrocities for peace and security matters, the research focuses its attention on the engagement of Special Procedures with the Security Council. In particular, the research explored how Special Procedures have engaged with the Security Council to deliver early warnings regarding mass violations of human rights and unfolding crises. The research focuses on three case studies involving atrocities in former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a timeframe extending from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, in which Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council directly interacted with the Security Council. The interactions are analyzed in light of their impact, or lack thereof. Afterwards, instances of interaction decreased; therefore, the research explores potential factors behind the shift in engagement between Special Procedures and the Security Council. Additionally, it presents obstacles to the effectiveness of the early warning capacity of Special Procedures and examines what could be the most suitable role of Special Procedures in the broader atrocity prevention agenda.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Winkler, Inga T.
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 25, 2020