Crimes against humanity - Information on existing treaty-based monitoring mechanisms which may be of relevance to the future work of the International Law Commission - Memorandum by the Secretariat (A/CN.4/698)

from International Law Commission
Published on 18 Mar 2016 View Original

International Law Commission
Sixty-eighth session
Geneva, 2 May-10 June and 4 July-12 August 2016

I. Introduction
  1. At its sixty-sixth session (2014), the International Law Commission decided to include the topic “Crimes against humanity” in its programme of work. At its sixty-seventh session (2015), the Commission requested the Secretariat to prepare a memorandum providing information on existing treaty-based monitoring mechanisms which might be of relevance to its future work on the topic. The present memorandum has been prepared in fulfilment of that request.

  2. In his first report, the Special Rapporteur identified a number of multilateral conventions that promote prevention, criminalization and inter-State cooperation with respect to acts which were considered relevant for the Commission’s work on the topic. The present memorandum provides a survey of provisions in these multilateral conventions that institute monitoring mechanisms. A number of further instruments have been added to the survey on the basis of their relevance to the present memorandum, including optional protocols to the above-mentioned multilateral conventions, and regional treaties pertaining to human rights that contain treaty-based monitoring mechanisms. Each of the universal and regional monitoring mechanisms identified and described in the present memorandum plays a unique role within its sphere of competence. Comparative analysis has been carried out exclusively on the basis of the text of the relevant treaty provisions, and no judgments made or implied regarding the relative merits of the various mechanisms and their functioning.

  3. The present memorandum focuses exclusively on the text of the relevant treaties and does not address their application or their interpretation by the respective monitoring institutions. Furthermore, the memorandum examines only the institutions established by the relevant treaties and does not address provisions, such as compromissory clauses, involving other institutions. Similarly, the scope of the present memorandum does not extend to monitoring mechanisms whose mandates are derived from instruments other than the relevant treaties, such as the special procedures of the Human Rights Council operating on the basis of resolutions of the Council. Finally, the memorandum is concerned only with mechanisms that monitor the implementation or application of the relevant treaties by the States parties.

  4. Section II of this memorandum includes a typology of the various institutions established by the relevant treaties to monitor their implementation. Section III describes the various procedures that such institutions may undertake in this regard. The first annex contains a chronological list of the treaties considered in the memorandum and the monitoring institutions thereby established, while the second annex contains a synoptic table of the monitoring procedures exercised by the institutions under review.