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Establishment of Principles and Best Practices for International and National Commissions of Inquiry

In 2012 – 2013, the Siracusa Institute conducted an extensive project in which the UN system of fact-finding was assessed. The project involved organizing a “Meeting of Experts on the Establishment of Principles and Best Practices for International and National Commissions of Inquiry“, which brought together 65 esteemed jurists, attorneys and scholars in the field of International Law as well as high-level United Nations and government officials, and presidents and prosecutors of the International Tribunals.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the need for comprehensive reform within the UN system of human rights fact-finding, and to review and adopt the ‘BICI Principles and Best Practices for International and National Commissions of Inquiry‘, a document that provides principles and guidelines for international and national fact-finding bodies in order to ensure that such bodies are fair and objective, and can function independently and effectively.

During the meeting, research was presented that highlighted the ad hoc nature of both international and national Commissions of Inquiry, and established the need to create a set of guidelines that would embody the collective experiences and lessons learned of past commissions. The Meeting of Experts concluded with a number of achievements, including the publication of the ‘Siracusa Guidelines for International, Regional and National Fact-Finding Bodies‘. This volume was submitted to the UN Secretary-General, as well as distributed to about 1200 individuals all around the world.