Practice Relating to Rule 98. Enforced Disappearance

Convention on Enforced Disappearance
Article 2006 Convention on Enforced Disappearance provides:
Recalling … relevant international instruments in the fields of human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law,
Determined to … combat impunity for the crime of enforced disappearance,
Considering the right of any person not to be subjected to enforced disappearance, the right of victims to justice … ,
Article 3
Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to investigate acts defined in article 2 committed by persons or groups of persons acting without the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State and to bring those responsible to justice.
Article 7
1. Each State Party shall make the offence of enforced disappearance punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account its extreme seriousness.
2. Each State Party may establish:
(a) Mitigating circumstances, in particular for persons who, having been implicated in the commission of an enforced disappearance, effectively contribute to … clarify cases of enforced disappearance or to identify the perpetrators of an enforced disappearance.
Article 12
1. Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges that a person has been subjected to enforced disappearance has the right to report the facts to the competent authorities, which shall examine the allegation promptly and impartially and, where necessary, undertake without delay a thorough and impartial investigation. Appropriate steps shall be taken, where necessary, to ensure that the complainant, witnesses, relatives of the disappeared person and their defence counsel, as well as persons participating in the investigation, are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of the complaint or any evidence given.
2. Where there are reasonable grounds for believing that a person has been subjected to enforced disappearance, the authorities referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall undertake an investigation, even if there has been no formal complaint.
3. Each State Party shall ensure that the authorities referred to in paragraph 1 of this article:
(a) Have the necessary powers and resources to conduct the investigation effectively, including access to the documentation and other information relevant to their investigation;
(b) Have access, if necessary with the prior authorization of a judicial authority, which shall rule promptly on the matter, to any place of detention or any other place where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the disappeared person may be present.
4. Each State Party shall take the necessary measures to prevent and sanction acts that hinder the conduct of an investigation. It shall ensure in particular that persons suspected of having committed an offence of enforced disappearance are not in a position to influence the progress of an investigation by means of pressure or acts of intimidation or reprisal aimed at the complainant, witnesses, relatives of the disappeared person or their defence counsel, or at persons participating in the investigation. 
International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 61/177, 20 December 2006, Annex, Preamble and Articles 3, 7 and 12.
UN Declaration on Enforced Disappearance
Article 13 of the 1992 UN Declaration on Enforced Disappearance provides:
1. Each State shall ensure that any person having knowledge or a legitimate interest who alleges that a person has been subjected to enforced disappearance has the right to complain to a competent and independent State authority and to have that complaint promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated by that authority. Whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that an enforced disappearance has been committed, the State shall promptly refer the matter to that authority for such an investigation, even if there has been no formal complaint. No measure shall be taken to curtail or impede the investigation.
2. Each State shall ensure that the competent authority shall have the necessary powers and resources to conduct the investigation effectively, including powers to compel attendance of witnesses and production of relevant documents and to make immediate on-site visits.
3. Steps shall be taken to ensure that all involved in the investigation, including the complainant, counsel, witnesses and those conducting the investigation, are protected against ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal.
4. The findings of such an investigation shall be made available upon request to all persons concerned, unless doing so would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.
5. Steps shall be taken to ensure that any ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal or any other form of interference on the occasion of the lodging of a complaint or during the investigation procedure is appropriately punished.
6. An investigation, in accordance with the procedures described above, should be able to be conducted for as long as the fate of the victim of enforced disappearance remains unclarified. 
Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 47/133, 18 December 1992, Article 13.
Colombia
Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995) provides that “in time of peace, States have the obligation to take preventive measures”, inter alia, to “create efficient mechanisms enabling disappeared persons to be located”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 27.
Colombia
Colombia’s Law on the Urgent Tracing Mechanism (2005) states in a chapter entitled “The Urgent Tracing Mechanism for the Prevention of the Crime of Enforced Disappearance”:
The urgent tracing mechanism is a public mechanism that protects the freedom, personal integrity and the other rights and safeguards from which persons benefit who are presumed to have disappeared.
Under no circumstances may the urgent tracing mechanism be considered as an obstacle, limitation or previous stage in constitutional habeas corpus proceedings or in a criminal investigation of the facts. 
Colombia, Law on the Urgent Tracing Mechanism, 2005, Article 1.
The Law also states: “Anybody who knows that a person has probably disappeared may request any judicial authority to activate the urgent tracing mechanism.” 
Colombia, Law on the Urgent Tracing Mechanism, 2005, Article 2.
Nepal
Nepal’s Ordinance on the Disappearance of Persons (2009) states:
10. Commission May Be [Established]:
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this ordinance, the Government of Nepal may, by publishing a notice in the Nepal Gazette, [establish] a high level independent commission in order to carry out investigations [into] the disappeared persons and persons involved in such acts of disappearance of persons in [the] course of the armed conflict during the period from the 1st day of the month of Falgun, 2052 V. S. to the 5th day of the month of Mangsir, 2063 (13 February 1996 to 22 November 2006).
15. Functions, Duties and Powers of the Commission:
In addition to the functions, duties and powers mentioned elsewhere in this ordinance, the functions, duties and powers of the Commission shall be as follows:
(a) To conduct investigations [into] the persons subjected to disappearance and find out the truth and facts;
(b) To determine the persons … guilty of involvement in [the] disappearance of persons;
(c) To make recommendations as to the reparations to be made available to the disappeared person and/or his/her family.
16. Power to Investigate Complaints:
(1) The Commission may, on the following bases, investigate the cases of forced disappearance of persons:
(a) If a complaint is lodged to the Commission by or on behalf of the victim;
(b) If the Commission receives any information on such matter through any source;
(c) If the Commission deems appropriate to inquire and investigate … a matter.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1), the Commission shall investigate as directed by the court … the cases of disappearances at the time of the enactment of this Ordinance.
17. Powers of the Commission Relating to Examination:
(1) The Commission may, in relation to carrying out [the] following acts in [the] course of investigations pursuant to Section 16, exercise the same powers as conferred to courts in accordance with existing laws:
(a) To acquire information or record testimonies by making someone [testify] before the Commission;
(b) To examine witnesses and record their statements;
(c) To [issue] orders for the submission of any document or paper;
(d) To [obtain] any document or a copy thereof from any government or public office or court;
(e) To examine the evidence;
(f) To carry out or [instigate] to be carried out on-the-spot inspections or to [issue] orders for the submission of evidence.
(2) The Commission may, if it deems appropriate, prescribe a reasonable time period … to make anyone [testify] or [submit] … a document, paper or evidence pursuant to Sub-section (1).
(3) The Commission may, while carrying out [the] investigations in accordance with this Ordinance, if it deems that any [item] or document is in possession of anyone or is in a specific location, … [search or instigate a search for] such person or location … and take into possession or [instigate] to be taken into possession … such [item] or document or [make a full or partial] duplicate or copy of such document.
(4) In case there is a need to conduct [an] investigation …[of] a person holding [a] public position and, if there is a possibility of evidence being destroyed [by] him/her if he/she is allowed to [remain] in the same position, the Commission may write to the body concerned to suspend him/her; and in case such a written request is received, the concerned body shall suspend him/her as per the provisions of the law applicable [to the] terms and conditions of his/her services or if there are no clear provisions made in this regard, for a period not exceeding three months.
(5) If the Commission is convinced that a disappeared person has been killed and buried in a particular place, the Commission may exhume the body …
(6) Other matters relating to [the] investigation of complaints and information received by the Commission may be … determined by the Commission itself.
18. To Render Support [for the] Functioning of the Commission:
(1) It shall be the duty of the concerned person, institution or agency to submit the documents, papers or evidence as demanded by the Commission and/or to submit information or statements by being present at the [meetings of the] Commission pursuant to Section 17.
(2) It shall be the duty of the local administration to cooperate with the Commission if the Commission, in the course of carrying out [an] examination in accordance with this Ordinance, asks for cooperation of the local administration to search a place or secure the [appearance] of a person before the Commission.
(3) If the person, institution or agency having [the] [obligations] pursuant to Subsection (1) or (2) fails to render support in the functioning of the Commission, the Commission may impose a fine of up to fifteen thousand rupees in each instance to such a person, institution or the chief of such institution or agency.
(4) In case [the] person [who] has [obligations] pursuant to Sub-section (1) or (2) [is] an office-bearer or an employee of any government agency or public corporation, the Commission may … [write] to the concerned agency to take departmental action or to take other necessary actions in accordance with [the] existing laws against [the] office-bearer or employee …
(5) If anyone … [hinders] the functioning of the Commission, the Commission may impose a fine of up to fifteen thousand rupees in each instance to such person.
40. Information of Death:
In case … the Commission finds out while carrying out its investigation that the disappeared person has already died, the Commission will inform the nearest member of the family of the deceased accordingly. 
Nepal, Ordinance on the Disappearance of Persons, 2009, Articles 10(1), 15, 16, 17, 18 and 40.
This ordinance was adopted by the president while Parliament was in recess pursuant to Article 88 of Nepal’s Interim Constitution (2007). Since the ordinance was not subsequently endorsed by Parliament, it is no longer in force.
Peru
Peru’s Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons (2003) states:
The objectives of the [National Information] Register [on Disappeared Persons] shall be to centralize and organize information from across the country in a database containing consolidated information on disappeared persons, as well as on persons located in health care centres, shelters, detention or internment centres, and on any persons that have been located. 
Peru, Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons, 2003, Article 2.
Peru
Peru’s Regulations to the Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons (2003) states: “Any person who comes to know of the whereabouts of a disappeared person, whether or not he or she reported the fact [i.e. the disappearance], has the obligation to inform the police authorities.” 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons, 2003, Article 12; see also Articles 12, 15 and 16.
The Regulations also states: “Any police officer who receives information on the whereabouts of a disappeared person must inform the [National Information] Register [on Disappeared Persons] immediately.” 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons, 2003, Article 18.
The Regulations further states:
Every member of staff of the Public Administration, Judiciary or the Prosecutor’s Office who receives a report or information regarding disappeared persons, or who in any other way comes to know of a situation as described in Article 22, must inform the Register immediately. 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on the National Information Register on Disappeared Persons, 2003, Article 20.
Colombia
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-473/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Both the obligation of the official to gather certain information when receiving the [tracing] request and the obligation to investigate and examine other sources if the person submitting the [tracing] request is unable to provide all the information strengthen the active role that judicial authorities in charge of carrying out the urgent tracing mechanism must assume. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-473/05, Judgment of 10 May 2005, § 40.
Colombia
In 2005, in the Constitutional Case No. C-575/05, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
[T]he specific mention in … [Law 975 of 2005] of the victims and their relatives and the knowledge of the fate of the disappeared or kidnapped cannot be understood but as Congress’ intention to underscore that it shall be the relatives of the kidnapped and disappeared who become the primary recipients of information regarding the victims, without this implying any restriction whatsoever to other victims’ right to know the truth, or to society’s more general right to know the truth. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-575/05, Judgment of 25 July 2005, p. 234.
Colombia
In 2006, in the Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, the Plenary Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court stated:
Article 12 of the Constitution, which prohibits enforced disappearance, and the Inter-American Convention on Enforced Disappearance … stipulate inter alia the State’s obligation to seriously investigate the crime of enforced disappearance and to inform the victims and their families about the result of the investigations and the fate of the disappeared persons. This obligation must be immediately and officially complied with and does not require that the victims initiate or further the investigations. In addition, satisfactory compliance with this obligation requires the State to adopt all necessary measures to establish the whereabouts of disappeared persons as soon as possible since a delay of the investigation or of providing information to the interested persons constitutes a violation of the right of the disappeared persons’ relatives not to be subjected to cruel treatment. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-370/06, Judgment of 18 May 2006, § 6.2.2.2.4.
[footnote in original omitted]
Peru
In 2004, in the Genaro Villegas Namuche case, Peru’s Constitutional Court found:
Besides having a collective dimension, the right to know the truth has an individual dimension. The holders of this individual right are the victims, their relatives and persons close to them. The right to know the circumstances in which human rights violations were committed and, in the case of death or disappearance, to know the fate of the victims, shall not be subject to a statute of limitations. Persons directly or indirectly affected by a crime of this magnitude shall always have a right to know, amongst others, who committed the crime, when, where, how and why the victim was executed, and the location of his or her remains, even if much time has passed since the commission of the crime. 
Peru, Constitutional Court, Genaro Villegas Namuche case, Case No. 2488-2002-HC/TC, Judgment of 18 March 2004, § 9.
The Court also stated that “in cases of human rights violations, the rights of the victim shall not be limited to obtaining financial compensation, but also include the state’s obligation to investigate the case.” 
Peru, Constitutional Court, Genaro Villegas Namuche case, Case No. 2488-2002-HC/TC, Judgment of 18 March 2004, § 19.
Argentina
In September 1984, the National Commission concerning Missing Persons of Argentina (CONADEP) released a report stressing that the objective was not to pass judgment but to inquire into the fate of the people who had disappeared. 
Argentina, Report of the National Commission concerning Missing Persons (CONADEP), 20 September 1984, reprinted in Argentina: The truth about the disappeared, Review of the International Commission of Jurists, Vol. 33, December 1984, p. 2.
Chad
In 2007, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Chad stated:
The Commission of Inquiry of the Ministry of Justice into the crimes and abuses of power of former President Habré and his accomplices
113. The Commission of Inquiry was created by Decree No. 014/P.CE/CJ/90 of 29 December 1990 at the end of Hissène Habré’s dictatorship and entrusted with the task of assessing the reign of terror that had cost so many human lives.
114. Placed under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, the Commission of Inquiry’s tasks were to:
- Investigate the abductions … [and] disappearances …
- Determine the amount of the contribution to the war effort and its use as of 1986.  
Chad, Initial report to the Committee against Torture, 22 September 2008, UN Doc. CAT/C/TCD/1, submitted 4 September 2007, §§ 113–114.
Croatia
The main task of the Commission for Tracing Persons Missing in War Activities in the Republic of Croatia, established by the Croatian Government in 1991, was to collect and process the information about civil and other persons missing from the territory of Croatia during the war. In 1993, a new Commission, the Commission for Detained and Missing Persons, replaced the one established in 1991, yet with the same task. 
Croatia, Directive on the Establishment and Functioning of the Commission for Tracing Persons Missing in War Activities in the Republic of Croatia, 1991; Regulations establishing the Commission for Detained and Missing Persons in Croatia, Official Gazette, No. 46, 17 May 1993.
Ecuador
In November 1991, Ecuador reported to the Committee against Torture that an international commission set up to look into the disappearance of two brothers had recommended, following a finding of negligence and cover-up in the investigation, that the necessary measures be adopted to guarantee an investigation of other cases in the future. 
Committee against Torture, Report of the Committee against Torture, New York, 1992, UN Doc. A/47/44, § 60.
El Salvador
In 2010, in its written replies to the Human Rights Committee concerning its sixth periodic report, El Salvador stated in response to a question on the search for persons disappeared in the context of the internal armed conflict:
61. [The current Government of El Salvador, which assumed its functions on 1 June 2009,] … has recognized the right of the families of victims of enforced disappearance … to have access to a judicial remedy and to obtain reparations in accordance with the standards of International Human Rights Law applicable to El Salvador.
63. … [T]here has recently been important case law from the Constitutional Division of the Supreme Court of Justice, which in Habeas Corpus proceedings have extended the right to judicial protection of victims of enforced disappearance and transferred different cases to the Office of the Public Prosecutor for the investigation of these. In this respect, the Constitutional Division has held that a judgment against the defendant … [in habeas corpus proceedings] cannot have an immediate restorative effect. … [T]hus, the duty to investigate and establish the material situation of disappeared persons would fall to the Office of the Public Prosecutor, without the need for the act to have been previously classified as an offence. 
El Salvador, Written replies by the Government of El Salvador to the list of issues formulated by the Human Rights Committee in connection with its consideration of the sixth periodic report of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/C/SLV/Q/6/Add.1, 21 September 2010, §§ 61 and 63.
(footnote in original omitted)
Guatemala
In 2006, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Guatemala stated:
Peace and Concord Commission. In accordance with the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commission to Clarify Past Human Rights Violations and Acts of Violence that have Caused the Guatemalan Population to Suffer (the Commission for Historical Clarification), signed on 23 June 1994, and pursuant to Government Order No. 263-2001, the Peace and Concord Commission was established to promote and enhance peace and concord and to coordinate reconciliation efforts. Its mandate includes encouraging and assisting efforts to determine where and under what circumstances persons detained during the internal armed conflict disappeared or died. 
Guatemala, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 17 July 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/GTM/1, submitted 17 May 2006, § 180.
Guatemala also stated:
188. The objectives of the [National] [C]ommission [on the Tracing of Children who Disappeared during the Internal Armed Conflict] are to discover and reveal the truth in cases of disappeared children in Guatemala; to promote and support efforts in the areas of documentation, searches and family reunification; and to promote and support action to achieve justice and compensation.
189. Progress made since the establishment of the Commission includes: (a) 1,280 cases documented; (b) 324 cases resolved; (c) 131 family reunifications; (d) 108 exhumations; (e) 85 pending cases of family reunification; (f) 1,000 cases of psychological and social counselling; (g) 600 cases of ongoing psychological and social counselling; and (h) 16 family committees organized to search for disappeared children.
190. Qualitative progress includes: (a) family members are now confident to speak out on the issue; (b) there is solidarity among families at the national level, and cooperation at the international level; (c) the issue of disappeared children and their rights is receiving attention; (d) multiculturalism is respected; (e) there is coordination between and within institutions with regard to the National Compensation Programme and the National Compensation Commission; and (f) new technologies are being used in investigations.
191. Among the obstacles faced by the Commission is the lack of scientific tools, finance and access to information.
192. In late 2005, the Office of the President of the Republic, through the Presidential Human Rights Commission, launched a proposal to establish a national mechanism to search for persons who disappeared during the armed conflict. The proposal has been discussed by working groups comprising representatives of government offices and bodies, the Office of the Human Rights Procurator and civil society organizations. The proposal that has emerged from this process of discussion, dialogue and consensus-building is currently with the Office of the President, awaiting final approval. 
Guatemala, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 17 July 2006, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/GTM/1, submitted 17 May 2006, §§ 188–192.
Peru
In 2004, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Peru stated:
263. The judgment of the Constitutional Court in a case of forced disappearance of persons stands out in particular. In the Court’s ruling (Order No. 2488-2002-HC/TC) of 18 March 2004 regarding Mr. Genaro Villegas Namuche, a victim of forced disappearance, the right to truth was recognized as a new fundamental right. Thus, although it is not expressly recognized in Peru’s Political Constitution, the right to truth is fully protected, arising in the first place from the State’s obligation to defend fundamental rights and from the protection of the courts. Nevertheless, the Constitutional Court considered that, wherever reasonably possible and in special and unprecedented cases, implicit constitutional rights must be developed so as to allow better protection of and respect for human rights, since this will help strengthen democracy and the State, in accordance with the terms of the current Constitution.
264. In the considerations to which the judgment refers, the Court establishes the limits of application of the right to truth. According to the Court, the right is two-dimensional, being both collective and individual. …
265. Alongside … [the] collective dimension, the right to truth has an individual dimension, whose beneficiaries include victims, their families and their relatives. It resides in the knowledge of the circumstances in which human rights violations were committed and, in the event of decease or disappearance, of the fate which befell the victims as such, a knowledge that cannot be subject to time limitation. It must be remembered that the right of victims and their relatives is not limited to obtaining economic reparation, but also includes the need for the State to undertake an investigation into the facts, considering that a full knowledge of the circumstances of each case is also part of a form of moral reparation which the country and in the event the victims require for their enjoyment of democracy.
273. The forced disappearance of persons was a practice used systematically in Peru during the internal armed conflict which the country experienced during the decade of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, as a consequence of the activities of terrorist groups and of the State’s response to subversion. 
Peru, Fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 27 May 2005, UN Doc. CAT/C/SR.697, submitted 15 November 2004, §§ 263–265 and 273.
[emphasis in original; footnote in original omitted]
Philippines
The Philippines’ Executive Order No. 8 (1986), creating the Presidential Committee on Human Rights, states that the Committee shall have the following functions:
Investigate complaints it may receive, cases known to it or to its members and such cases as the President may, from time to time assign to it, of unexplained or forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings (salvaging), massacres, torture … and other violations of human rights, past or present, committed by officers or agents of the national government or persons acting in their place or stead or under their orders, express or implied. 
Philippines, Executive Order No. 8, 1986, Section 4a.
Philippines
In 1993, the Government of the Philippines created a Task Force on Involuntary Disappearances to assist relatives of the disappeared in discovering the fate of their family members. 
Philippines, International Week of the Disappeared: The Desaparecidos in Our Midst, Philippine Human Rights Update, Vol. 10, No. 5, May–June 1996; Congress of the Republic of the Philippines, Res. Nos. 95–96, 22 July 1996.
Senegal
In 1995, in its second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Senegal stated:
85. As far as the facts at issue are concerned, it will be remembered that the 1980s were a time of serious instability in the Casamance region in the south of Senegal and that this resulted in the intervention of the armed forces to restore and maintain order. This conflict between the central Government and the separatist movement in the region (MFDC [Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance]) took the form of armed confrontations leading to deaths and injuries on both sides.
86. One of these clashes, at Kaguitt on 1 September 1992[,] was particularly deadly, as it occurred the day after the agreement was signed between the Senegalese Government and the separatist movement. The latter broke its promises by suddenly taking up arms again. The security forces arrested many persons who were brought before the courts.
87. The 1993 agreement led to the release of all persons detained in connection with this event, even before trial. However, some Senegalese and international non-governmental organizations took up the Kaguitt file by lodging a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul and with the monitoring bodies of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. These complaints contained a list of the names of persons who had allegedly disappeared or been executed extrajudicially during the September 1992 events.
88. The Senegalese Government was questioned by both bodies and asked to conduct investigations in accordance with the provisions of article 12 of [the 1984] Convention [against Torture] and to try and punish the guilty parties.
89. The Senegalese authorities pointed out that the amnesty laws had erased the memory of this tragic episode in Senegal and that, in their opinion, further reference to these events would jeopardize the peace which had already been established and even the stability of the country.
96. With regard to the presumed disappearances and extrajudicial executions in connection with the events in Casamance in general, the human rights monitoring bodies are demanding that impartial investigations should be conducted in accordance with article 12 of the Convention to identify the persons responsible, who would then be tried and punished. The Senegalese authorities have pointed out, in this connection, that the amnesty laws no longer permit such investigations, which would be likely to jeopardize the newly restored peace, national cohesion and the stability of public institutions.
97. The Senegalese authorities have received the reply that article 79 of their own Constitution gives the Convention precedence over the internal law of the State party to the international instrument. As the Convention is a multilateral international instrument reciprocally applied by several States parties, this situation is becoming a permanent problem. 
Senegal, Second periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 11 July 1995, UN Doc. CAT/C/17/Add.14, submitted 27 March 1995, §§ 85–89 and 96–97.
Sri Lanka
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated: “Reports of on-going investigations into alleged disappearances [of children] have been called for”. 
Sri Lanka, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, 15 February 2010, UN Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/LKA/1, submitted 16 June 2008, § 93.
Sri Lanka
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
A process has been commenced through the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights to deal with the backlog of cases relating to Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances. The process is to be included in the proposed National Action Plan for Human Rights as a priority item. In addition a separate full time unit will be set up to deal with these cases while advice has been sought from the United Nations Working Group on how best to ensure clarification or closure of cases relating to the period before 1994. With regard to recent cases, a system to ensure prompt reporting has been put in place, and recently a report was sent confirming that all cases reported for 2008 have been put before the Courts by the Police. The Committee meets regularly, and has instituted a system of regular reports which has also led to more active police investigation of allegations. 
Sri Lanka, Combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, 23 September 2010, UN Doc. CAT/C/LKA/3-4, submitted 17 August 2009, § 56.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1985, the UN General Assembly requested that the Government of Guatemala investigate and clarify the fate of those who had disappeared. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 40/140, 13 December 1985, Article 6, voting record: 91-8-47-13.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the question of enforced or involuntary disappearances, the UN General Assembly:
4. Reminds Governments that impunity with regard to enforced disappearances contributes to the perpetuation of this phenomenon and constitutes one of the obstacles to the elucidation of its manifestations, and in this respect also reminds them of the need to ensure that their competent authorities conduct prompt and impartial inquiries in all circumstances in which there is a reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has occurred in territory under their jurisdiction, and that, if allegations are confirmed, perpetrators should be prosecuted;
5. Expresses its appreciation to those Governments that are investigating, are cooperating at the international and bilateral levels, have developed or are developing appropriate mechanisms to investigate any cases of enforced disappearances that are brought to their attention and to prevent any such occurrences, and urges all the Governments concerned to expand their efforts in this area. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/200, 20 December 2004, §§ 4–5, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1996, the UN Commission on Human Rights took note of efforts reported by the Government of Sudan to begin investigation of cases of forced disappearance. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1996/73, 23 April 1996, preamble, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2001 on the question of enforced or involuntary disappearances, the UN Commission on Human Rights reminded governments:
(a) That all acts of enforced or involuntary disappearance are crimes punishable by appropriate penalties which should take due account of their extreme seriousness under penal law;
(b) That they should ensure that their competent authorities proceed immediately to conduct impartial inquiries in all circumstances where there is reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has occurred in territory under their jurisdiction;
(c) That, if such belief is borne out, all the perpetrators of enforced or involuntary disappearances must be prosecuted. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2001/46, 23 April 2001, § 5(a)–(c), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the question of enforced or involuntary disappearances, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Emphasizing that impunity is simultaneously one of the underlying causes of enforced disappearances and one of the major obstacles to the elucidation of cases thereof and that there is a need for effective measures to combat the problem of impunity,
5. Reminds Governments:
(c) That they should ensure that their competent authorities proceed immediately to conduct impartial inquiries in all circumstances where there is reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has occurred in territory under their jurisdiction;
(d) That, if such belief is borne out, all the perpetrators of enforced or involuntary disappearances must be prosecuted;
(e) That impunity is simultaneously one of the underlying causes of enforced disappearance and one of the major obstacles to the elucidation of cases thereof;
6. Expresses:
(b) Its appreciation to the Governments that are investigating, have developed or are developing appropriate mechanisms to investigate any cases of enforced disappearance which are brought to their attention, and encourages all the Governments concerned to expand their efforts in this area. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/38, 23 April 2003, preamble and §§ 5(c)–(e) and 6(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on enforced or involuntary disappearances, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Emphasizing that impunity is simultaneously one of the underlying causes of enforced disappearances and one of the major obstacles to the elucidation of cases thereof and that there is a need for effective measures to combat the problem of impunity,
7. Reminds States:
(c) That they should ensure that their competent authorities proceed immediately to conduct impartial inquiries in all circumstances where there is reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has occurred in territory under their jurisdiction;
(d) That, if such belief is borne out, all the perpetrators of enforced or involuntary disappearances must be prosecuted;
(e) That impunity is simultaneously one of the underlying causes of enforced disappearance and one of the major obstacles to the elucidation of cases thereof;
8. Expresses:
(b) Its appreciation to the Governments that are investigating, are cooperating at the international and the bilateral levels, have developed or are developing appropriate mechanisms to investigate any cases of enforced disappearance which are brought to their attention, and encourages all the Governments concerned to expand their efforts in this area. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/40, 19 April 2004, preamble and §§ 7(c)–(e) and 8(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on enforced or involuntary disappearances, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Acknowledging the fact that acts of enforced disappearance are crimes against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,
4. Urges States:
(e) To prevent and investigate with special attention enforced disappearances of persons belonging to vulnerable groups, especially children, and to bring the perpetrators of these enforced disappearances to justice;
(f) To take steps to provide adequate protection to witnesses of enforced or involuntary disappearances, human rights defenders acting against enforced disappearances, and the lawyers and families of disappeared persons against any intimidation or illtreatment to which they might be subjected;
5. Urges the Governments concerned:
(b) To continue their efforts to elucidate the fate of disappeared persons and to ensure that competent authorities in charge of investigation and prosecution are provided with adequate means and resources to resolve cases and bring perpetrators to justice;
(c) To make provision in their legal systems for victims of enforced or involuntary disappearances or their families to seek fair, prompt and adequate reparation and in addition, where appropriate, to consider symbolic measures recognizing the suffering of victims and restoring their dignity and reputation;
6. Reminds States:
(c) That they should ensure that their competent authorities proceed immediately to conduct impartial inquiries in all circumstances where there is reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has occurred in territory under their jurisdiction;
(d) That, if such belief is borne out, all the perpetrators of enforced or involuntary disappearances must be brought to justice;
(e) That impunity is simultaneously one of the underlying causes of enforced disappearance and one of the major obstacles to the elucidation of cases thereof;
7. Expresses:
(b) Its appreciation to the Governments that are investigating, are cooperating at the international and the bilateral levels, have developed or are developing appropriate mechanisms to investigate any claims of enforced disappearance that are brought to their attention, and encourages all the Governments concerned to expand their efforts in this area. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/27, 19 April 2005, preamble and §§ 4(e) and (f), 5(b) and (c), 6 (c)–(e) and 7(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
In 1998, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the UN Commission on Human Rights reported that the President of the Philippines had in 1993 set up a Fact-Finding Committee on Involuntary Missing Persons. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1999/622, 8 December 1998, § 246.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in June 1979, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly expressed alarm at the dramatic situation of several hundred missing persons arrested or detained by the Chilean security forces, noted that the Chilean authorities had not given satisfactory explanations for the disappearances, nor ordered serious research into the fate of the missing persons, and regretted that the enquiries conducted by the tribunals had given no satisfactory results. It recommended that the Committee of Ministers invite member States to urge the Chilean authorities in the strongest terms to obtain information on the fate of the missing persons. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 868, 5 June 1979, p. 2.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution on enforced disappearances adopted in 1984, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly urged the “governments of countries where disappearances are reported to follow the example of Bolivia and Argentina, and to set up national inquiry commissions to investigate disappearances”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 828, 26 September 1984, § 9.
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in November 1982, the European Parliament called on the European Council and Foreign Ministers to make formal representations and vigorous protests to the Argentine Government in order to pressure it to provide detailed information concerning the fate of those who had disappeared, particularly EC citizens. 
European Parliament, Resolution on the events in Argentina, 18 November 1982.
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in May 1983, the European Parliament expressed concern that no complete clarification had yet been given about the whereabouts of all those who had disappeared in Argentina, in spite of urgent appeals by “world public opinion”. It demanded a full explanation from the Argentine Government concerning the fate of all individuals reported missing in Argentina. 
European Parliament, Resolution on the statement by the Argentine military junta concerning the fate of the persons who have disappeared since the last coup d’état, 19 May 1983, p. 117.
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in October 1983, the European Parliament urged Foreign Ministers to request detailed information from the Argentine Government about the fate of those who had disappeared. 
European Parliament, Resolution on persons missing in Argentina, 13 October 1983.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1981)
The 24th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1981 adopted a resolution on forced or involuntary disappearances which urged governments “to undertake and complete thorough inquiries into every case of disappearance occurring in their territory”. 
24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Manila, 7–14 November 1981, Res. II.
World Conference on Human Rights
In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 reaffirmed that “it is the duty of all States, under any circumstances, to make investigations whenever there is reason to believe that an enforced disappearance has taken place on a territory under their jurisdiction and, if allegations are confirmed, to prosecute its perpetrators”. 
World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14–25 June 1993, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, UN Doc. A/CONF.157/23, 12 July 1993, § II(62).
Human Rights Committee
In its General Comment on Article 6 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1982, the Human Rights Committee held that “States should establish effective facilities and procedures to investigate thoroughly cases of missing and disappeared persons in circumstances which may involve a violation of the right to life”. 
Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 6 (Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), 30 July 1982, § 4.
Human Rights Committee
In Quinteros v. Uruguay in 1983, the Human Rights Committee dealt with the case of Elena Quinteros who disappeared after having been arrested, held in a military detention place and subjected to torture. The Commission stated: “The Government of Uruguay has a duty to conduct a full investigation into the matter.” 
Human Rights Committee, Quinteros v. Uruguay, Views, 21 July 1983, § 15.
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the consolidated third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of El Salvador in 2003, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee is sorry that the delegation was unable to explain the Legislative Assembly’s reasons for not approving the establishment of a national commission of inquiry to track down children who disappeared in the conflict (arts. 6, 7 and 24 [of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]).
The State Party is urged to submit detailed information on the numbers of children found alive and the numbers that died in the fighting. It is also invited to reconsider the establishment of a national commission on disappeared children and a compensation fund for young people who are found. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the consolidated third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of El Salvador, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/78/SLV, 22 August 2003, § 19.
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Sri Lanka in 2003, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee is concerned about the large number of enforced or involuntary disappearances of persons during the time of the armed conflict, and particularly about the State party’s inability to identify, or inaction in identifying those responsible and to bring them to justice. This situation, taken together with the reluctance of victims to file or pursue complaints …, creates an environment that is conducive to a culture of impunity.
The State party is urged to implement fully the right to life and physical integrity of all persons (arts. 6, 7, 9 and 10 [of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], in particular) and give effect to the relevant recommendations made by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights’ Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and by the Presidential Commissions for Investigation into Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. The National Human Rights Commission should be allocated sufficient resources to monitor the investigation and prosecution of all cases of disappearances. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Sri Lanka, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/79/LKA, 1 December 2003, § 10.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Colombia in 2004, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee is concerned about the fact that a significant number of arbitrary detentions, abductions, forced disappearances, cases of torture, extrajudicial executions and murders continue to occur in the State party. The Committee is also concerned that such practices as the arrest of election candidates continue, and that murders of legislators dating from earlier years remain unpunished. Human rights defenders, political and trade union leaders, judges and journalists continue to be targets of such actions. … The Committee is also disturbed about the participation of agents of the State party in the commission of such acts, and the apparent impunity enjoyed by their perpetrators.
The State party should take immediate and effective steps to investigate these incidents, punish and dismiss those found responsible and compensate the victims, so as to ensure compliance with the guarantees set forth in articles 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Colombia, UN Doc. CCPR/CO/80/COL, 26 May 2004, § 11.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the third periodic report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee remains concerned at the large number of forced disappearances or summary and/or arbitrary executions committed throughout the State party’s territory by armed groups. These violent acts in turn result in mass migrations of the affected populations, thereby contributing to an ever-increasing number of displaced persons, especially in the provinces of Ituri, North and South Kivu and Katanga (articles 6, 7 and 9 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]).
The State party should open inquiries into any forced disappearance or arbitrary execution reported to it, appropriately prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such acts and grant effective reparations including appropriate compensation, to victims or their families (articles 6, 7 and 9 [of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]). It should also strengthen measures to curb the displacement of civilian populations. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the third periodic report of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN Doc. CCPR/C/COD/CO/3, 26 April 2006, § 15.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Central African Republic in 2006, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee remains concerned by the large number of enforced disappearances … in the Central African Republic. The Committee … is concerned about the apparent impunity enjoyed by law enforcement officers responsible for such violations …
The State party should guarantee that all allegations of such violations are investigated by an independent body, and that the perpetrators of such acts are prosecuted and punished as appropriate. In this respect, the State party should improve the training provided to law enforcement personnel. Victims should be granted due compensation. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Central African Republic, UN Doc. CCPR/C/CAF/CO/2, 27 July 2006, § 12.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In 2006, in its concluding observations on the report submitted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on the human rights situation in Kosovo since June 1999, the Human Rights Committee stated:
UNMIK, in cooperation with PISG [Provisional Institutions of Self-Government], should effectively investigate all outstanding cases of disappearances and abductions and bring perpetrators to justice. It should ensure that the relatives of disappeared and abducted persons have access to information about the fate of the victims, as well as to adequate compensation. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the report submitted by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo on the human rights situation in Kosovo since June 1999, UN Doc. CCPR/C/UNK/CO/1, 14 August 2006, § 13.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In its concluding observations on the first periodic report of Honduras in 2006, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee … is concerned … that the fact that enforced disappearance is not qualified as a crime in the Criminal Code has contributed to impunity and that the cases included in the aforementioned list have not yet been investigated, particularly in the light of the time that has elapsed since the publication of the report (articles 2 and 6 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]).
The State party should amend the Criminal Code in order to include the crime of enforced disappearance. It should also ensure that the cases of enforced disappearance are duly investigated, that those responsible are prosecuted and, where appropriate, punished and that the victims or their relatives receive fair and adequate compensation. 
Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the first periodic report of Honduras, UN Doc. CCPR/C/HND/CO/1, 13 December 2006, § 5.
[emphasis in original]
Human Rights Committee
In Bousroual v. Algeria in 2006, the Human Rights Committee stated:
The Committee refers to its general comment No. 6 (16) concerning article 6 of the [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], which provides inter alia that States parties should take specific and effective measures to prevent the disappearance of individuals and establish facilities and procedures to investigate thoroughly, by an appropriate impartial body, cases of missing and disappeared persons in circumstances which may involve a violation of the right to life. In the present case, the Committee notes that the State party does not deny that the author’s husband has been unaccounted for since at least 29 July 1995, when the judgement in absentia was handed down by the criminal division of the Court of Constantine. As the State party has not provided any information or evidence relating to the victim’s release from the Territorial Centre, the Committee is of the opinion that the facts before it reveal a violation of article 6, paragraph 1, in that the State party failed to protect the life of Mr. Saker. 
Human Rights Committee, Bousroual v. Algeria, Views, 24 April 2006, § 9.11.
European Court of Human Rights
In Kurt v. Turkey in 1998, the European Court of Human Rights found that there was a violation of Article 13 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. The Court held:
124. … Article 5 [of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights] must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen since.
128. Having regard to these considerations, the Court concludes that the authorities have failed to offer any credible and substantiated explanation for the whereabouts and fate of the applicant’s son after he was detained in the village and that no meaningful investigation was conducted into the applicant’s insistence that he was in detention and that she was concerned for his life. …
140. In the instant case the applicant is complaining that she has been denied an “effective” remedy which would have shed light on the whereabouts of her son. She asserted in her petitions to the public prosecutor that he had been taken into custody and that she was concerned for his life since he had not been seen since 25 November 1993. In the view of the Court, where the relatives of a person have an arguable claim that the latter has disappeared at the hands of the authorities, the notion of an effective remedy for the purposes of Article 13 [of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights] entails, in addition to the payment of compensation where appropriate, a thorough and effective investigation capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible and including effective access for the relatives to the investigatory procedure … Seen in these terms, the requirements of Article 13 are broader than a Contracting State’s obligation under Article 5 to conduct an effective investigation into the disappearance of a person who has been shown to be under their control and for whose welfare they are accordingly responsible. 
European Court of Human Rights, Kurt v. Turkey, Judgment, 25 May 1998, §§ 124, 128 and 140.
European Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in Timurtas v. Turkey in 2000, the European Court of Human Rights found that the failure to conduct an effective investigation into a disappearance and the failure to grant the relatives effective access to the investigation was a violation of Article 13 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. 
European Court of Human Rights, Timurtas v. Turkey, Judgment, 13 June 2000, §§ 111–113.
European Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in the Cyprus case in 2001, the European Court of Human Rights found that there had been a continuing violation of Article 2 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (right to life) concerning the failure of the authorities of the respondent State to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of Greek-Cypriot missing persons who had disappeared in life-threatening circumstances. The Court also found a continuing violation of Article 5 of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (right to liberty and security) concerning the failure of the Turkish authorities to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the Greek-Cypriot missing persons in respect of whom there was an arguable claim that they were in Turkish custody at the time of their disappearance. 
European Court of Human Rights, Cyprus case, Judgment, 10 May 2001, §§ 136 and 150 .
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In its Annual Report 1980–1981, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that the problem of disappearance after detention could not be considered as having been overcome “unless a clear accounting is provided, giving all the circumstances of the status and whereabouts of the persons who have disappeared”. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Annual Report 1980–1981, Doc. OEA/Ser.L/VIII.54 Doc. 9 rev. 1, 16 October 1981, p. 12.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In its Annual Report 1987–1988, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights proposed an amendment to the Guatemalan habeas corpus procedure whereby, until the whereabouts of the missing person had been established, the magistrate was required to continue to investigate and the case could not be declared closed. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Annual Report 1987–1988, Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/II.74 Doc. 10 rev. 1, 16 September 1988, p. 302.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
In 1991, in a case concerning El Salvador, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, finding that the investigations into two disappearances were insufficient, asked the Salvadoran Government to accept the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in respect of these cases. 
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Case 10.000 (El Salvador), Report, 13 February 1991, p. 99, § 2; Case 10.001 (El Salvador) , Report, 13 February 1991, p. 103, § 2.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in the Velásquez Rodríguez case in 1988, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found:
177. … The duty to investigate, like the duty to prevent, is not breached merely because the investigation does not produce a satisfactory result. Nevertheless, it must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government. This is true regardless of what agent is eventually found responsible for the violation. Where the acts of private parties that violate the [1969 American Convention on Human Rights] are not seriously investigated, those parties are aided in a sense by the government, thereby making the State responsible on the international plane.
181. The duty to investigate facts of this type continues as long as there is uncertainty about the fate of the person who has disappeared. Even in the hypothetical case that those individually responsible for crimes of this type cannot be legally punished under certain circumstances, the State is obligated to use the means at its disposal to inform the relatives of the fate of the victims and, if they have been killed, the location of their remains. 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Velásquez Rodríguez case, Judgment, 29 July 1988, §§ 177 and 181.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In its judgment in the Bámaca Velásquez case in 2002, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found that the Government of Guatemala had failed to investigate the disappearance of the victim and stated:
74. This Court has referred once and again to the right of the relatives of the victims to know what happened and to know which State agents were responsible for the respective facts. “[I]nvestigation of the facts and punishment of those responsible, […] is an obligation of the State when there has been a human rights violation and this obligation must be fulfilled seriously, and not as a mere formality.” …
106. … [T]he State must investigate the facts that generated the violations of the American Convention on Human Rights and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture in the instant case, identify and punish those responsible, and publicly divulge the results of the respective investigation 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Bámaca Velásquez case, Judgment, 22 February 2002, §§ 74 and 106; see also §§ 73, 75 and 78.
ICRC
Following the Gulf War in 1991, a Tripartite Commission was established under ICRC auspices to trace people reported missing. The Commission is made up of representatives of Iraq, on the one hand, and of France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States, on the other.
International Commission of Jurists
In 1994, in a report on an insurrection in the Mexican state of Chiapas, the International Commission of Jurists noted that many involuntary disappearances might have occurred and that the competent State authorities and national NGOs were attempting to collect the relevant information. 
International Commission of Jurists, Mexico: Preliminary report of the ICJ mission to Mexico with regard to the insurrection of indigenous peoples in Chiapas, 1–10 February 1994, Review of the International Commission of Jurists, No. 52, 1994, p. 14.