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Intl & Transntl Justice: Commissions of Inquiry (LAW-739-001)
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This seminar will take an in-depth look at a human rights tool that has assumed growing importance in recent years-international and internationalized commissions of inquiry. Although long utilized, such commissions have been established with increasing frequency to address situations involving widespread and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. In the past year alone, such commissions have been established by the United Nations Human Rights Council to address human rights crises in Libya, Syria, and Cote d'Ivoire, while national governments have appointed international experts to commissions of inquiry to examine human rights violations in Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain. In the same period, international human rights organizations have campaigned actively for such inquiries to be established for Sri Lanka and Burma, among other countries. Despite the international community's and national governments' growing recourse to this mechanism, relatively little is known about the impact of human rights commissions of inquiry-and thus policymakers have little guidance based on past experience to draw upon when they consider whether a commission of inquiry would be a useful tool to address a particular situation involving human rights violations. The seminar will examine various forms of commissions of inquiry, contrasting them with other widely-used mechanisms, such as national, international, and hybrid truth commissions. Students will write papers aimed at better understanding the real-world impact of such commissions, focusing on case studies.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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