Impunity Watch (foundation)

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Impunity Watch is an international non-profit foundation that originated in 2005 as a special programme of the Dutch development organisation Solidaridad. Impunity Watch seeks to promote accountability for serious crimes and human rights abuses in countries emerging from armed conflict or periods of repression. The organisation’s aim is to assist national civil society organisations to have a stronger voice in policy-making on impunity issues.

Impunity Watch produces innovative research and works with national human rights groups to monitor state compliance with legal obligations towards victims of crime. It uses its research results and expertise to advocate for tailored policies to promote accountability. In 2006, Impunity Watch designed an original research instrument to pinpoint obstacles to post-conflict accountability. It has been recently cited for its utility in exposing shielding of alleged perpetrators from justice: Patricia Lundy in “Can the Past be Policed: Lessons from the Historical Enquiries Team Northern Ireland” in Law and Social Challenges, Vol.11, Spring/Summer, 2009, 109-156.

The instrument's foreword is provided by Diane Orentlicher, international law expert and author of the United Nations Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity (2005) [1] which inspired its design. Impunity Watch research focuses on victim’s rights to truth, criminal justice and reparations as well as measures to guarantees non-recurrence of human rights abuses.

Civil society groups working with Impunity Watch have successfully field tested the research instrument in pilot projects in Guatemala and Serbia, and Impunity Watch is planning work with more partners in additional countries. The research report on Guatemala, published 2009, was reviewed favourably in an Op.Ed. in one of the country's leading daily newspapers El Periodico. Impunity Watch also uses specially designed research and monitoring tools to carry out multi-country comparative research.

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