This article reveals the significance and presents the theoretical and legal grounds of international enquiries, and assesses the role of the Russian Federation in the genesis and development of the concept of international fact-finding commissions. In the author’s opinion, despite its considerable potential, the enquiry procedure is not used by the international community to the full extent. States do not use it even in cases where an international dispute is a disagreement on a point of fact. Single cases, where states used enquiry in order to settle their disputes, were typical for the first half of the 20th century. Fact-finding missions are actively used within the UN, however, the lack of a database and a uniform methodology for investigations is influencing the effectiveness of these missions. In the author’s opinion, this is the result of a “fragmentation” of the missions. As a solution, the author proposes to gradually phase out fact-finding commissions that are established ad hoc in favor of a standing committee. The author notes the ineffectiveness of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission established in accordance with Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Established in 1991, it was practically inactive until 2017. At the same time, the first investigation conducted by the Commission in 2017 on the initiative of the OSCE was illegal since international organizations are not authorized to initiate investigations by the Commission. As a solution to the problem of the Commission’s inefficiency, the author proposes to integrate it into the UN system. Another problem inherent in international fact-finding commissions is their quasi-judicial nature. As a rule, fact-finding commissions are not limited to establishing facts, but are empowered with a broad competence, including the formulation of legal conclusions. As a result, the initial purpose of the fact-finding commissions is being eroded, and the outcome of the investigations is assessed ambiguously by the international community. In the author’s opinion, this problem can be solved by legally fixing the right of commissions to formulate legal assessments of established facts exclusively as an expert opinion and as an annex to the main part of the report, which should include only information on established facts.
About the author
Aleksey Kudinov – Post-graduate student, Department of International Law, Moscow State Institute (University) of International Relations, Moscow, Russia
Kudinov A. (2018) Pravda nuzhdaetsya v soyuznikakh: znachenie i problemy mezhdunarodnykh komissiy po ustanovleniyu faktov [The truth needs allies: the importance and problems of international fact-finding commissions]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.8, no.2, pp.90–104. (In Russian).
Bassiouni M.C. (2001) Appraising UN Justice-Related Fact-Finding Missions. Washington University Journal of Law Policy, vol.5, pp.35–49.
Blatova N.T. (ed.) (1987) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo [International law], Moscow: Yuridicheskaya literatura. (In Russian).
Butchard P., Henderson C. (2017) A Functional Typology of Commissions of Inquiry. In: Henderson C. (ed.) Commissions of Inquiry: Problems and Prospects, Oxford; Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, pp.11–34.
Cassese A. (2012) Fostering Increased Conformity with International Standards: Monitoring and Institutional Fact-finding. In: Cassese A. (ed.) Realizing Utopia: The Future of International Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.295–303.
Condorelli L. (2001) La Commission internationale humanitaire d’établissement des faits: un outil obsolete ou un moyen utile de mise en œuvre du droit international humanitaire? Revue internationale de la Croix Rouge, vol.83, no.842, pp.393–406.
David E. (2011) Printsipy prava vooruzhennykh konfliktov [Principles of the law of armed conflicts], Moscow: International Red Cross Committee. (In Russian).
Dixon M. (2007) Textbook on International Law, 6th ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Egorov S.A. (ed.) (2014) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo: uchebnik [International law: textbook], 5th ed., Moscow: Statut. (In Russian).
Frulli M. (2012) Fact-finding or Paving the Road to Criminal Justice? Some Reflections on United Nations Commissions of Inquiry. Journal of International Criminal Justice, vol.10, no.5, pp.1323–1338.
Hellestveit C. (2015) International Fact-finding Mechanisms: Lighting Candles or Cursing Darkness. In: Bailliet C.M., Larsen K.M. (eds.) Promoting Peace Through International Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.368–394.
Kalshoven F. (1998) The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission: Its Birth and Early Years. In: Denters E., Schrijver N. (eds.) Reflections on International Law from the Low Countries: in Honour of Paul de Waart, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, pp.201–215.
Kalshoven F. (2002) The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission: A Sleeping Beauty? Humanitäres Völkerrecht – Informationsschriften, vol.15, no.4, pp.213–216.
Kolosov Yu.M., Krivchikov E.S. (eds.) (2005) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo: uchebnik [International law: textbook], 2nd ed., Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. (In Russian).
Kuznetzov V.I., Tuzmukhamedov B.R. (eds.) (2010) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo: uchebnik [International law: textbook], 3rd ed., Moscow: Norma; Infra-M. (In Russian).
Ladyzhenskiy A.M., Blishchenko I.P. (1962) Mirnye sredstva razresheniya sporov mezhdu gosudarstvami [Peaceful means for resolving disputes between states], Moscow: Gosyurizdat. (In Russian).
Lisovskiy V.I. (1970) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo [International law], Moscow: Vysshaya shkola. (In Russian).
Malanczuk P. (1997) Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law, 7th ed., London; New York: Routledge.
Merrils J. (2005) International Dispute Settlement, 4th ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Neshataeva T.N. (1999) Mezhdunarodnye organizatsii i pravo: Novye tendentsii v mezhdunarodno-pravovom regulirovanii [International organizations and the law: New trends in international legal education], 2nd ed., Moscow: Delo. (In Russian).
Pushmin E.A. (1974) Mirnoe razreshenie sporov (mezhdunarodno-pravovye voprosy) [Peaceful resolution of international disputes (international legal issues)], Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. (In Russian).
Ramcharan B.G. (2011) The UN Human Rights Council, London; New York: Routledge.
Romashkina N.P. (2016) OON i mezhdunarodnaya informatsionnaya bezopasnost’ [United Nations and international information security]. In: Arbatov A.G., Bubnova N.I. (eds.) Bezopasnost’ i kontrol’ nad vooruzheniyami 2015–2016. Mezhdunarodnoe vzaimodeystvie v bor’be s global’nymi ugrozami [Security and Arms Control 2015–2016. International cooperation in the fight against global threats], Moscow: IMEMO RAN; ROSSPEN.
Talsma L.C. (2012) U.N. Human Rights Fact-Finding: Establishing Individual Criminal Responsibility? Florida Journal of International Law, vol.24, no.2, pp.383–427.
Tolstykh V.L. (2010) Kurs mezhdunarodnogo prava: uchebnik [Course of international law: textbook], Moscow: Wolters Kluwer.
Van den Herik L. (2014) An Inquiry into the Role of Commissions of Inquiry in International Law: Navigating the Tensions between Fact-finding and Application of International Law. Chinese Journal of International Law, vol.13, no.3, pp.507–537.
Van den Herik L. (2017) Vazhnost’ ustanovleniya faktov: vozvrashchayas’ k kontseptsii rassledovaniya F.F.Martensa [The importance of finding facts: revising Fyodor Martens’ concept of inquiry]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.3, pp.24–33. (In Russian).
Vitzthum W.G. et al. (2011) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo = Völkerrecht [International law = Völkerrecht], Moscow: Infotropik Media. (In Russian).
Wallace-Bruce N.L. (1998) The settlement of international disputes: the contribution of Australia and New Zealand, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
Moscow, Shchepkina str., 8
+7 (495) 608-69-59
+7 (495) 608-66-35