Interview with Prof Christof Heyns - UN special rapporteur

Posted on March 02, 2011

Prof Christof Heyns, dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, recently began a two-year mandate as the United Nations' Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions. The United Nations has 37 special rapporteurs, who serve as independant experts and report to the organization's Human Rights Council on particular issues or geographical areas of concern; Heyns will cover incidents of murder either by a government or in which a government fails to adequately investigate and prosecute such crimes. The post is notoriously difficult: unpaid, understaffed, with no subpoena power or ability to require the cooperation of those being investigated, and no ability to enforce. Heyns, 51, is a former anti-apartheid activist and the author, editor or co-author of several books on human rights law.

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