Reporting Killings as Human Rights Violations Handbook

Reporting Killings as Human Rights Violations Handbook

How to document and respond to potential violations of the right to life within the international system for the protection of human rights

By Kate Thompson and Camille Giffard

Handbook links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Part I: Essential Reading - Part II: Identifying a Potential Violation - Part III: How to Document Allegations of Unlawful Killings - Part IV: Responding to the Information Collected - Part V: Where can you Seek Further Help? - Appendices
II. Identifying a Potential Violation: section links...
1. Introduction - 2. Legal Context - 3. The Right to Life - 4. Patterns of Violation - 5. Is There a Violation? - Summary of Part II

PART II - IDENTIFYING A POTENTIAL VIOLATION

4. PATTERNS OF VIOLATION

You may find that through the documentation of a number of unlawful killings it becomes apparent that there are established patterns of behaviour, institutional faults or types of human rights violation. If you can analyse and describe such patterns, you may be able to access more than one type of remedy for ongoing violations and you can also produce reports based on information on cases about which you do not have sufficient information to take an individual action. Evidence of patterns also helps to persuade the international community that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, in particular, where it is indicative of gross and systematic human rights violations, which may amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes, or even genocide.

Patterns may be found in the agency involved (e.g. a certain branch of the security forces, or personnel from one particular police station), the type of person being targeted (e.g. children, certain ethnic groups), the circumstances in which killings take place (e.g. masked men take the victim from his or her house in the middle of the night, drive away in an unmarked van, and the body is found abandoned some miles away a few days later) or even the method of killing. You should watch for such patterns and develop a system of keeping effective and clear records to illustrate them. You could establish a database and/or a network with other NGOs who are dealing with similar cases. It is likely that pooling such information will strengthen your case.

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Handbook links: website home page
Table of Contents - Search - Part I: Essential Reading - Part II: Identifying a Potential Violation - Part III: How to Document Allegations of Unlawful Killings - Part IV: Responding to the Information Collected - Part V: Where can you Seek Further Help? - Appendices
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