• + UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS HANDBOOK

    The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Handbook is an edited collection of the UN Special Rapporteur's published writings on the law and policy of unlawful killings (2004-2010). The Handbook organises his writings into thematic chapters on each of the issues the Special Rapporteur's mandate covers, including the use of forced during armed conflict, force by law enforcement officials, and the death penalty . The Handbook contains sections clarifying the relevant law, analysing gaps in the law, applying the law to common fact scenarios, setting out best practices, and surveying categories of unlawful killings around the world. The Handbook is intended as a resource for academics, students, and practitioners working in the field of human rights.

  • + Use of force during armed conflict

    This chapter of the Handbook collects the findings and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur with respect to violations of the right to life during international and non-international armed conflict. This chapter especially focuses on the obligations of States and armed non-state actors vis-à-vis civilians, the methods and means of warfare, and the complementary relationship between international human rights and humanitarian law.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    A. MANDATE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR IN THE CONTEXT OF ARMED CONFLICT
    B. FACTUAL BACKGROUND ON KILLINGS BY STATE AND NON-STATE ACTORS IN AREAS OF ARMED CONFLICT
    C. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW
    D. INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW AND KILLINGS BY ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS
    E. EXTRATERRITORIAL APPLICABILITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
    F. HUMANITARIAN LAW OBLIGATIONS AND RECIPROCITY
    G. CEASEFIRE AGREEMENTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW
    H. INTERNATIONAL ACTORS AND MECHANISMS OF ACCOUNTABILITY
    I. METHODS AND MEANS OF WARFARE
    1. "Mercy killings"
    2. Cluster bombs
    3. Principles of distinction and proportionality; obligation to take precautions
    4. “Drone” killings
    5. Airstrikes
    6. Raids
    7. Use of perfidy and effects on civilians
    8. Suicide attacks
    9. Human shields
    10. Killings of persons hors de combat
    11. Urban counter-insurgency
    J. HUMAN RIGHTS BASED SECURITY SECTOR REFORM
    K. RECRUITMENT INTO THE MILITARY
    L. INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW TRAINING FOR MILITARY OFFICIALS
    M. RESPONSIBILITY OF STATES IN JOINT-MILITARY OPERATIONS
    N. COMMUNICATIONS WITH ARMED NON-STATE ACTORS
    O. PRIVATE CONTRACTOR ISSUES
    P. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
    Q. TARGETED KILLINGS
    1. Targeted killing of "terrorists"
    2. Accountability and transparency in targeting operations

  • + Use of force by law enforcement officials

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur with regards to use of lethal force by law enforcement officials. It especially addresses the misperception that increased use of lethal force by law enforcement authorities is a necessary and effective response to situations of endemic criminality, and that greater respect for suspects’ individual rights must necessarily come at a cost to public security. In its evaluation of several countries’ efforts to reform their police institutions, this Chapter provides recommendations of best practices for police that meet the needs of both individual and public security.

    A. USE OF FORCE GUIDELINES
    B. FACTUAL BACKGROUND ON KILLING BY STATE ACTORS OF “CRIMINALS”
    C. SHOOT-TO-KILL POLICIES
    D. POLICE DEATH SQUADS
    E. HUMAN RIGHTS TRAINING FOR POLICE
    F. POLICING GANG-CONTROLLED AREAS
    G. KILLINGS BY POLICE IN THE CONTEXT OF EXTORTION
    H. COMMUNITY POLICING
    I. USE OF FORCE DURING RIOTS; CROWD CONTROL
    J. POLICE RECORDING AND TRACKING OF POLICE KILLING
    K. TARGETED KILLING BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS

  • + Killings by non-state actors and affirmative State obligations

    This chapter of the Handbook addresses a wide variety of situations in which killings by non-state actors can nonetheless implicate the State to some degree, or invoke responsibilities on its part. The right to life includes not only a prohibition on illegal killings by State authorities, but also entails State obligation is to adequately protect this right and punish violations of it by non-state actors. In situations of widespread killings, or traditions which tend towards regular violence against a particular portion of the population, States can be held responsible for failure to adequately address systemic causes, for instance, through efforts to protect vulnerable populations, improve education, address impunity, or correct perceived inadequacies in law enforcement and the justice system which lead to vigilantism.

    A. LEGAL BASIS OF RESPONSIBILITY OF STATES FOR VIOLATIONS BY NON-STATE ACTORS
    B. KILLINGS BY ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS
    C. MANDATE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR AND ADDRESSING KILLINGS BY ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS
    D. DUE DILIGENCE AND INTER-COMMUNAL/ETHNIC VIOLENCE
    E. KILLINGS BY VIGILANTES AND MOB JUSTICE
    F. KILLINGS OF “WITCHES”
    G. DEATH SQUADS AND MILITIAS AND VIGILANTE GROUPS
    H. “HONOUR” KILLINGS
    I. KILLINGS BY BANDITS
    J. “SOCIAL CLEANSING” KILLINGS
    K. KILLINGS BY CORPORATIONS
    L. “BLOOD FEUD” KILLINGS
    M. KILLINGS BY PARAMILITARY GROUPS

  • + Deaths in custody

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur regarding abusive practices in detention centers and prisons resulting in custodial deaths. States have heightened responsibilities for persons within their custody. This section focuses on the issue of prisoners taking control of prisons, the failure by states to monitor prisons as well as the unlawful practice of torture in custody. Attention is also given to the states’ standard of due diligence in preventing such custodial deaths by making, for instance, health care available if necessary. Finally, this section reviews abuses and deaths in the context of immigration detention and at Guantanamo.

    A. RESPONSIBILITY OF STATES FOR PREVENTION OF DEATHS IN CUSTODY
    B. PRISONER CONTROL OF PRISONS
    C. MONITORING OF PRISONS TO REDUCE KILLINGS
    D. TORTURE AND EXTRA-JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS IN CUSTODY
    E. DUE DILIGENCE AND HEALTH CARE FOR DETAINEES
    F. IMMIGRATION DETENTION
    G. GUANTANAMO DEATHS IN CUSTODY

  • + Investigation and prosecution of killings

    This chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur with respect to States’ investigation and prosecution of killings. A State’s obligation to ensure the right to life includes a duty to promptly and effectively investigate alleged violations of that right, whether by the State itself or by non-state actors. The material in this chapter addresses the various governmental institutions necessary to carry out this obligation, including police, prosecutors and the judiciary. Accountability for violations of the right to life requires the consistent functioning and cooperation of all of these institutions. This chapter also collects the Special Rapporteur’s observations regarding the efficacy of mechanisms for investigating alleged violations of the right to life in special contexts, such as in armed conflict and societies in transition. Finally, the Special Rapporteur discusses how international assistance can complement domestic efforts to investigate and prosecute killings.

    A. OBLIGATION TO INVESTIGATE, PROSECUTE AND PUNISH EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS
    B. THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
    C. POLICE INVESTIGATIONS
    D. PROSECUTIONS
    E. THE JUDICIARY
    F. COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY
    G. WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAMS
    H. POLICE INTERNAL AFFAIRS
    I. OMBUDSMEN
    J. NATIONAL POLICE COMMISSIONS
    K. POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARDS
    L. CORONERS
    M. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POLICE AND PROSECUTORS
    N. CORRUPTION AND IMPUNITY
    O. POOR FORENSICS AND IMPUNITY
    P. TRANSPARENCY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS
    Q. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE PROSECUTION OF MILITARY OFFICIALS
    R. INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTION ISSUES ARISING IN ARMED CONFLICT
    1. Military justice systems
    2. Accountability for civilian deaths
    3. Command responsibility
    4. Transparency in armed conflict
    5. Armed opposition groups and their “justice” systems
    6. Prosecutions of private contractors and civilian government employees
    S. TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS
    1. Amnesties and extrajudicial executions
    2. Obligation to preserve evidence
    T. INDEPENDENT OR EXTERNAL AND INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS AND MONITORING
    1. Role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    2. National commissions on human rights
    3. Non-governmental organisations
    4. The International Criminal Court
    5. Ceasefire monitoring

  • + Death penalty

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur with respect to a State’s imposition of the death penalty in a criminal proceeding in a civilian or military court. This Chapter focuses on the systemic inadequacies within a State’s laws or judicial procedures that can lead to a death sentence being a de facto arbitrary deprivation of life.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    A. DUE PROCESS AND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE
    B. TRANSPARENCY
    C. THE DEATH PENALTY FOR JUVENILES
    D. ISLAMIC LAW AND THE DEATH PENALTY
    1. Sharia law – sodomy & adultery
    2. Victim empowerment (diyah)
    E. MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY
    F. MOST SERIOUS CRIMES
    G. RIGHT TO SEEK PARDON OR COMMUTATION OF A DEATH SENTENCE
    H. MILITARY TRIBUNALS AND THE DEATH PENALTY

  • + Reparations for violations by a State

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the reparations for victims provided by a state in the context of extrajudicial killings. This section includes case studies that illustrate the obligations of states to compensate victims who have had their human rights violated during armed conflict. The Special Rapporteur also considers the requirement of governments to compensate individuals who have had their human rights violated as a result of acts by government officials.

    A. COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLATIONS BY A STATE
    B. COMPENSATION IN OTHER SITUATIONS

  • + Victim groups

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on victim groups in the extrajudicial executions context. This section focuses on civilians in armed conflict, refugees and internally displaced persons and women. Attention is also given to particular groups, such as human rights defenders and activists, persons who have been victimized because they assist the Special Rapporteur, indigenous persons, victims killed in land-use disputes, alleged criminals, prisoners, journalists and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer persons. Finally, this section includes the abuses and deaths of persons considered as “social undesirables” and cases of political assassinations.

    A. CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT
    B. REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY DEPLACED PERSONS
    C. WOMEN
    1. Honor Killings
    2. Witchcraft Killings
    3. “Femicide”
    4. Gender-Based Violence and Vigilante Groups
    5. Effect of Armed Conflict Killings on Women
    D. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND ACTIVISTS
    E. REPRISALS AGAINST THOSE WHO ASSIST THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
    F. INDIGENOUS PERSONS
    G. KILLINGS IN LAND-USE DISPUTES
    H. ALLEGED CRIMINALS
    I. PRISONERS
    J. GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND QUEER (GLBTQ)
    K. JOURNALISTS
    L. VICTIMS OF “SOCIAL CLEANSING”
    M. POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS

  • + Mandate and working methods

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the scope of his mandate and the working methods used to carry out his mandate. This section focuses on the development of effective working methods, (mainly communications and on-site visits to countries), and points out the factors that hinder the effective implementation of these methods. In addition to describing the parameters and scope of the mandate, this section also gives particular attention to the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and role in the context of armed conflicts. Finally, this chapter highlights the importance of follow-up reports that track the implementation of country recommendations as well as the methodology used to create these reports.

    A. DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE WORKING METHODS
    B. FACTORS HINDERING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE MANDATE
    C. THE MANDATE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR IN ARMED CONFLICTS
    D. SCOPE OF MANDATE
    E. COUNTRY FOLLOW-UP REPORTS

  • + Other areas

    This Chapter of the Handbook collects the observations and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on subjects not covered in the previous chapters. It addresses the responsibilities of foreign donors with regard to practices which systematically violate human rights by a State receiving international assistance; the duty to protect individuals against violence by non-state actors in situations where State authorities have reason to know such violence will occur; the role of “soft law” standards in guiding compliance with obligations under human rights law; and how the international community can better prevent genocide and widespread crimes against humanity.

    A. RESPONSIBILITIES OF FOREIGN DONORS
    B. RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT
    C. THE ROLE OF “SOFT LAW” STANDARDS
    D. GENOCIDE AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY