Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding in Bahrain and Syria During the Arab Spring

Published: 
Jan 2013

The! way! in! which! international! actors! implement monitoring,! reporting,! and! fact1 finding! (MRF)!mechanisms!is! changing. Modern!MRF!mechanisms!date back! to 1913,! when,! after! the! Balkans! had! erupted! in! war! for! the! second! time! in! two! years,! the! Carnegie! Endowment! for! International! Peace! initiated a! commission! to! investigate! potential violations!of!international!law. But!the!Carnegie!Endowment!did!not!begin its! work! until! fighting! had! ceased,! believing,! as! the! mission’s! final! report! notes,! that a! mission! initiated! before! the! conflict’s! conclusion! would! be “premature.”1 In! contrast,! almost! a! century! later,! as! massive! protests! erupted in numerous! autocratic Arab! countries in! 2011,! international! actors felt! no! need! to! hesitate. Instead,! MRF! actors! initiated!MRF!missions! to!examine!potential!violations! of!international!law!in!Yemen,! Libya,!Syria,!and!Bahrain,!all!contexts!in!which!violent!conflicts!continued!to!unfurl,!as! well! as! Tunisia! and! Egypt,! where! massive! protests! had! recently! led! to! transfers of! political! power. These! missions! represent! a! trend! in! the! world! of! MRF! toward! more! rapid deployment.

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