Human Rights Violations by Private Persons and Entities: The Case-Law of International Human Rights Courts and Monitoring Bodies
Title: Human Rights Violations by Private Persons and Entities: The Case-Law of International Human Rights Courts and Monitoring Bodies
Author: ZIEMELE, Ineta
Series/Report no.: EUI AEL; 2009/08; PRIV-WAR Project
External link: www.priv-war.eu
The article sums up the state of international human rights law as concerns the issue of responsibility for human rights violations allegedly carried out by private persons and entities. It employs four main legal concepts: imputability of private actions to a State, positive obligations of States, duties of private persons and entities, and 'horizontal' effect of human rights. The attempt is made to see how these concepts appear in the case-law of international monitoring bodies and regional courts. The article also attempts to indicate pending questions as concerns the responsibility of private persons and entities for human rights violations and to introduce possible approaches that an international or regional judicial or legislative process could undertake to remedy the gaps, in particular in the narrower context of private military companies. One of the obvious conclusions that emerges from the study is that international actors have preferred the development of the scope of positive obligations that States ought to undertake within various human rights treaties. It is through these obligations that international human rights standards have come to circumscribe private actions. The scope of positive obligations for States typically involve the following measures: adoption of appropriate legislation, provision of judicial remedies and compensation where appropriate. It can be said that the existing legal framework contains most if not all the necessary elements to hold such legal entities as private military or security contractors accountable for human rights violations. The question lies more with the courage to use them to ensure respect for human rights.
Subject: Fundamental/human rights; European Convention; Council of Europe; Law
Type of Access: openAccess