International Commissions of Inquiry, Commissions on Human Rights, Fact-Finding missions and other Investigations


United Nations mandated commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions and investigations are increasingly being used to respond to situations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, whether protracted or resulting from sudden events, and to promote accountability for such violations and counter impunity. These international investigative bodies have been established by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

As part of its core work, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides expertise and support to commissions and missions established by UN bodies, and carries out missions under the mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or at the request of other bodies. OHCHR work includes developing guidance and tools for the operation of commissions and missions, advising on mandate development, investigation methodology and applicable international law, setting up secretariats with specialist staff, providing administrative, logistical and security support, providing briefing and training to members and staff, undertaking reviews and lessons learned exercises. Since 1992, OHCHR has provided support to and deployed close to 50 commissions and missions.

The Research Guide provides key information on international commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions and other investigations established by the United Nations to gather information, analyze and report on violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including: mandating authority, mandate, members, key dates and links to related resolutions and reports.

See also

    Commissions of Inquiry and Fact-finding Missions on International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Guidance and Practice
  • English | French | Spanish
    Who’s Responsible? Attributing Individual Responsibility for Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in United Nations Commissions of Inquiry, Fact-finding Missions and other Investigations
  • English

Research Guide