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The U.S. Supports the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
March 24, 2011

Explanation of Position by the United States of America

Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

UN Human Rights Council – 16th Session

March 24, 2011

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States supports the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and encourages all states to engage cooperatively with the Working Group as it undertakes activities in fulfillment of its mandate.

The Working Group’s recent report concerning Best Practices on Enforced Disappearances in Domestic Criminal Legislation makes a number of recommendations for states to consider as they undertake to investigate, prosecute, and ultimately prevent such acts.

While the United States appreciates the Working Group’s effort in this regard, we observe that recommendations for best practices are not legal obligations and thus may go beyond what is required by international law or practiced by most states.

Furthermore, in this most challenging of areas, no one approach or singular set of practices will necessarily apply in all situations.

For example, a state may find it advisable to incorporate some recommendations into its domestic criminal legal framework that it would not undertake in situations where other laws, such as the law of armed conflict, apply, or where military courts have jurisdiction.

Thank you, Mr. President.