The Special Rapporteur’s Thematic Report on Commissions of Inquiry
Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez presented his thematic report on Commissions of Inquiry to the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council on 5 March 2012. The objective of this thematic Report was to highlight the effectiveness of using Commissions of Inquiry as a tool for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment, and to offer guidance to States on when such commissions should be created in response to patterns or practices of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The report also aims to identify the standards that need to be followed for the establishment of Commissions of Inquiry and for their interaction with other institutions, such as the judiciary, and their main role in prosecuting torture. The SRT stressed that, while Commissions of Inquiry can play an important role in dealing with patterns of human rights violations and their underlying context, and in promoting the victim’s right to truth and redress, they don’t relieve the State of their obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish acts of torture and ill treatment. The SRT concluded that Commissions of Inquiry are, therefore, an appropriate tool to help States fulfill their international obligations.