11 November 2013
Report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe urges accountability mechanisms for international organisations
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe published a report on the accountability of international organisations for human rights violations. The report, written by Rapporteur Mr. José Maria Beneyto, Spain, Group of the European People’s Party, identifies lacunae in the protection of individuals against human rights infringements by international organisations. By virtue of the separate legal personalities of international organisations, their member states are in general not responsible for their acts. This opens an accountability gap, where the conferral of legal personality to international organisations is not accompanied by effective accountability mechanisms. Additionally, member states can use the organisations as a shield from liability. The report notes that the most serious challenges are the lack of fora where the individual could implement accountability of international organisations, as well as procedural obstacles, such as immunity before national courts.
The report offers a number of suggestions in response to these problems. For example, it suggests that organisations should waive immunity when it is not required to ensure the independent fulfillment of its functions. Additionally, the report urges international organisations to establish internal mechanisms for accountability of human rights violations.