Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions

Drafted in consultation with lawyers from The Advocates for Human Rights (formerly the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee), the Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executionsthis ("the Manual"), which supplements the Principles on the effective prevention and investigation of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions (adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1989/65 of 24 May 1989), contains international human rights standards, a model protocol for investigating extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary executions, a model autopsy protocol, and a model protocol for disinterment and analysis of skeletal remains.

In many countries throughout the world, extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions take place undocumented and undetected. These executions include: (a) political assassinations; (b) deaths resulting from torture or ill-treatment in prison or detention; (c) death resulting from enforced "disappearances"; (d) deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by law-enforcement personnel; (e) executions without due process; and (f) acts of genocide. The failure to detect and disclose these executions to the international community is a major obstacle to the rendering of justice for past executions and the prevention of future executions.

The Manual is the result of several years of analysis, research and drafting undertaken because of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions throughout the world. Concurrent to the elaboration of the Principles, there was concerted action by non-governmental organizations to provide additional guidance in the area of effective prevention and investigation of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, by offering technical advice on the meaningful implementation of the Principles.

The preparation of the Manual was greatly facilitated by The Advocates for Human Rights. At its initiative, an international group of experts in forensic science, lawyers, human rights experts and others volunteered their time and expertise to assist in the preparation of the draft Principles and to provide appropriate follow-up for their implementation, the contents of which constitute the major part of the Manual.

To read or download a PDF of the Manual, click here.