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  • Cited by 4
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2020
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Book description

International organizations are becoming increasingly powerful. Today, they affect the lives of individuals across the globe through their decisions and conduct. Consequently, international organizations are more capable of violating the human rights of individuals. But how can they be held to account for such violations? This book studies the procedural mechanisms that may hold international organizations to account for their human rights violations. It establishes a general framework for identifying, analyzing, and assessing the accountability mechanisms of international organizations. This general framework is then applied to three distinct cases: the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy missions, refugee camp administration by the UNHCR, and detention by the International Criminal Court. The overall conclusion is that none of the existing accountability mechanisms across the three cases fulfill the normative requirements set out in the general framework. However, there are significant variations between cases, and between different types of accountability mechanisms.


'International organizations of all kinds have well-documented failings when it comes to their accountability. In analysis cutting across three international organizations that have a distinct impact on individual rights, Johansen offers a damning assessment of the research subjects. Given the ever-growing impact that international organizations have in the modern system of governance, Johansen makes a clear, compelling case for organizational redesign to rectify the highlighted deficiencies.'

Graham Butler - Associate Professor of Law, Aarhus University, Denmark

'It is an unfortunate fact that in 2020 there is still a need for literary works to expose gaping shortcomings in the human rights accountability of some international organizations. However, there is a need and the present book goes beyond simply dissecting the problem to demonstrate that the situation is not beyond repair. Rich in detail and astute with its in-depth examination of the issues, this book develops the normative yardsticks to construct in abstract a not only viable, but truly meaningful accountability mechanism. Building on this it provides the reader with a perspicacious legal analysis of three case studies involving UNHCR refugee camps, the EU's overseas mission and the ICC detention centre, which reveal with varying degrees of urgency the need for action. It is, in short, a book that is required reading to change the existing accountability-adverse mindset of too many within international organizations.'

Kirsten Schmalenbach - Professor, Universität Salzburg

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