Multi-Track Accountability Solutions

“Those responsible for atrocities, corruption and human rights violations are only too pleased to see accountability efforts pursued along separate, seemingly disparate tracks. But approach these targets from the perspective of multi-track accountability and we can effect real change”

Oliver Windridge, founder of rights: applied

At present, many attempts at accountability for atrocities, corruption and human rights violations are pursued on singular tracks, by separate actors concentrating on one particular area. This approach often limits the overall impact of accountability efforts.

Why limit accountability efforts to one track? Why not engage multiple tracks at the same time? The Multi-Track Accountability Solutions concept is an answer to these questions based on Oliver Windridge’s 15 years of practice as an international lawyer.

The Multi-Track Accountability Solutions concept aims to harness the power of the collective, by pursuing multiple accountability tracks in parallel. These “tracks” include:

> International human rights mechanisms

> International criminal law courts and tribunals

> Global sanctions regimes

> Business and human rights mechanisms

> Public Advocacy

Here’s an example:

Extensive evidence continues to surface of widespread and systematic human rights violations, including torture and arbitrary detention, in Country A. Efforts have been made to bring these violations to the attention of the international community and generate some level of accountability, however these efforts have often been singular, unsustained and ad-hoc in nature.

A Multi-Track Accountability Approach could engage the following tracks:

  • Submission to global sanctions regimes (e.g. country or Global Magnitsky thematic programs) aiming to freeze perpetrators assets, impose travel bans and make access to services difficult = immediate impact
  • Engage with business and human rights procedures, (e.g. OECD MNE), where evidence suggest multi-national companies are working with or in Country A = immediate impact
  • Submission to human rights mechanisms (e.g. UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Procedures) setting out violations = medium term impact
  • Submission of evidence to selected law enforcement officials in other countries to initiate investigation into possible criminal prosecution or asset forfeiture= medium/long term impact
  • Submission to international criminal tribunal (e.g. ICC, regional) providing evidence of violations, particularly where evidence suggest violations could amount to an international crime, for example crimes against humanity = long term impact
  • Each of the above tracks is supported by public advocacy via social media channels and campaigns. This raises awareness not only of the “track” itself, but also the violations that underpin them= immediate impact

Whilst this is a simplified example, it demonstrates how a seemingly intractable situation can gain new impetus by engaging multiple tracks in parallel, leading to greater chances of accountability success.

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