Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
The Special Rapporteur discharges his mandate mainly on the basis of credible and reliable information brought to his attention by non-governmental organizations, Governments, individuals and intergovernmental organizations. These communications contain specific cases of alleged extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, or death threats, and/or general information about questions related to the right to life.
Where there are no serious grounds to believe that the information provided by the source is not credible, the Special Rapporteur transmits the allegations to the Governments concerned, either in the form of an urgent appeal or a letter.
The aim of urgent appeals is the prevention of loss of life. Urgent transmissions may be sent by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in cases that evince a fear of imminent extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; these cases include death threats and fear of imminent execution of death sentences in contravention of the limitations on capital punishment set forth in the pertinent international instruments. This fear is sometimes based on alleged violations of the right to life that have already been committed. The Special Rapporteur may also send urgent appeals to Governments after having been informed of the imminent expulsion of persons to a country where they are at risk of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution.
When transmitting urgent actions, the Special Rapporteur appeals to the Governments concerned to ensure effective protection of those under threat or at risk of execution. He also urges the competent authorities to undertake full, independent and impartial investigations with respect to those violations and to adopt all necessary measures to prevent further violations of the right to life. The Special Rapporteur requests that he be informed of every step taken in this regard.
Letters of allegations
Alleged cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions are transmitted to concerned Governments in the form of case summaries. They are accompanied by letters requesting Governments to provide the Special Rapporteur with information concerning the progress and results of investigations conducted with respect to these cases, penal or disciplinary sanctions imposed on the perpetrators, compensation provided to the family of the victim, as well as with any other pertinent comments or observations. In these letters, the Special Rapporteur also urges Governments to take steps that might be necessary in order to investigate, prosecute, impose appropriate sanctions and provide compensation in accordance with international standards, as well as to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such acts. Other allegations of a more general nature are also transmitted to concerned Governments with requests to clarify the substance of these allegations and/or to provide the Special Rapporteur with more specific information, such as legal texts and other relevant documents. These general allegations include, for example, reports about persistent impunity or legislation alleged to be in contravention of restrictions on the application of capital punishment contained in pertinent international instruments.
All communications sent and received are confidential and remain so until the end of the reporting cycle, when the special rapporteur submits an annual report to the Commission on Human Rights on communications sent and replies received from Governments on specific cases.