International law and fact-finding in the field of human rights


International law and fact-finding in the field of human rights

edited by Bertrand G. Ramcharan

(Nijhoff classics in international law, v. 2)

Brill Nijhoff, c2014

Rev. and edited reprint

  • : hardback

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Previous ed.: 1982

Includes bibliographical references (p. [243]-244) and index



At the time of its original publication in 1982, this ground-breaking volume sought to identify fundamental norms and standards which could help to guarantee the quality and integrity of fact-finding reports. A lot has happened in human rights fact-finding since then. There are numerous human rights fact-finding rapporteurs within the United Nations system and within regional organizations; there are many international commissions of inquiry; international criminal tribunals have helped clarify various areas of the law; NGOs are extremely active in the field. Despite, or perhaps because of these developments, controversies over fact-finding reports are very common. A source of reference to help fact-finders strengthen their work is sorely needed, and this volume remains of inestimable value in that regard. The guidance it provides has stood the test of time and is as valuable today as it was when it was first advanced, arguably it is more valuable today when the need for objective standards of human rights fact-finding has become of urgent importance in a world in which the political ground is shifting visibly. The current volume is a re-issued version of the original text, with new introductory materials.


  • Foreword: Dr. N. Valticos, Former Assistant Director-General and Adviser for International Labour Standards, ILO
  • Secretary-General, Institute of International Law Introduction: Dr. B.G. Ramcharan Chapter I Substantive law applicable - Dr. B.G. Ramcharan Chapter II Procedural law - K.T. Samson, Co-ordinator for Human Rights, ILO Chapter III Evidence - Dr. B.G. Ramcharan Chapter IV The competence and functions of fact-finding bodies - Prof. Felix Ermacora, Member of the Austrian Parliament, Member of the European Commission on Human Rights, Member of the Human Rights Committee, former member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Chapter V Hearings - A. Dieye, Judge of the Supreme Court of Senegal, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Chile, Member of the Human Rights Committee Chapter VI Legal representation - Prof. R. Clark, Rutgers University Chapter VII Visits on the spot A. The Experience of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights - Edmundo Vargas Carreno, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights B. The experience of the European Commission on Human Rights - C.H. Kruger, Secretary, European Commission of Human Rights C. The experience of the I.L.O. - Mr. G. von Potobsky, Chief, Application of Standards Branch, International Labour Standard Department, I.L.O. D. The experience of the United Nations - Dr. B.G. Ramcharan Chapter VIII The reports of fact-finding bodies - Dr. Theo C. van Boven, former Director, United Nations Division of Human Rights. Chapter IX Fact-finding by non-governmental organizations - Prof. D. Weissbrodt, University of Minnesota, and J. McCarthy Annex I: Model rules of Procedure for United Nations Bodies dealing with violations of human rights Annex II: Draft Model Rules of Procedure suggested by the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Ad Hoc bodies of the United Nations entrusted with studies of particular situations alleged to reveal a consistent pattern of violations of human rights Annex III: Economic and Social Council resolution 1870 (LVI): Model rules of procedure for United Nations bodies dealing with violations of human rights. Annex IV: Belgrade Minimal rules of procedure for international human rights fact-finding missions Annex V: U.N. General Assembly Resolution 35/176 Bibliography
  • Index.

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