Drafting Principles for International and National Commissions of Inquiry

Ad hoc commissions of inquiry now play an increasing role in global governance and human rights investigations. Such commissions, however, sometimes suffer from a lack of professionalization and transparency. Furthermore, investigative standards need increased rigor.

Kjell Anderson, senior researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, recently participated in the “Meeting of Experts on the Establishment of Principles and Best Practices for International and National Commissions of Inquiry” at the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences in Siracusa, Italy. The fifteen BICI principles, named after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, cover such topics as reporting, witnesses, data collection, and mandates.

The organizers sought feedback on the principles from a group of experts including former and current members of commissions of inquiry such as Philippe Kirsch, Vitit Muntarbhorn, and Mahnoush Arsanjani. The recommendations of these experts will be incorporated by the drafting committee in a revised set of principles. The Hague Institute’s participation was under the auspices of its Fact-Finding to Evidence project, which seeks to harmonize the investigations of multiple fact finders.

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