Intervention on International Human Rights Matters
29 July 2011
In these guidelines, “intervention” means any representation, statement or other communication expressing the Law Council’s position, other than a formal representation in the proceedings of a court, tribunal or similar body.
A decision on whether to intervene in an international human rights matter must be made by the Secretary-General, unless he or she considers the matter of such significance that it requires a decision by the Executive. The decision to intervene, and the decision on whether to refer the intervention decision to the Executive, may be made in consultation with office holders of the Law Council if this is considered appropriate by the Secretary-General.
A decision not to intervene will be briefly reported in the Secretary-General’s regular written reports to the Executive and Directors.
The decision should take into account the following factors:
- Whether the alleged human rights violation and/or potential violation relates specifically to those fundamental individual rights which affect a person’s liberty, dignity and equality in the context of the legal system (see in particular those rights which are protected by Articles 9, 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights);
- Whether the Law Council has access to sufficient independent and credible information to make an informed assessment of the factual context within which the alleged or potential violation is said to have occurred;
- Whether the Law Council is able to form a definitive view about the extent to which the known facts constitute, or would if they came to pass constitute, a breach of international human rights law or standards;
- Whether a clear objective for Law Council intervention can be identified and whether the intervention is likely to achieve or partially achieve that objective (in this regard particular attention should be given to whether the Law Council has the requisite networks to approach relevant decision makers and exert influence over their decision making);
- Whether other individuals or organisations are already taking action to draw attention to, prevent or address the alleged violation or potential violation and whether Law Council intervention would materially add to these efforts;
- Where the potential intervention concerns an identified individual or individuals, whether he or she has legal representation and if so, what contact has been made with the legal representative about whether and what type of intervention might be helpful;
- Whether Law Council intervention would be consonant with any policy of the Law Council (including the Law Council’s policy in relation to the death penalty); and
- Whether the Law Council realistically has the available resources to intervene taking into account the other priorities of the Law Council.