The Deadly Fate of Journalists in armed conflict and the Failure to Protect

Research paper.- In violent conflicts and repression, the rule of law is absent or collapses on the chilling stage of large-scale human rights abuses. The safeguarding of the rule of law is firstly mocked by massive cases of impunity. Murder, torture, rape, disappearances and other gross violations of human rights are perpetrated and left unpunished. This is because the culprits do not bear the burden of responsibility under amnesty laws whilst inquiries are fruitless and inconclusive when judicial processes are absent or corrupt. The need to implement effective mechanisms ensuring the punishment of perpetrators is essential with a view to reestablishing the rule of law in the aftermath of conflict and repression.



Former French magistrate and former chairman of the United Nations Sub-commission on Human Rights Louis Joinet, who is considered to be the father of the struggle against impunity, pointed out that "if justice were infallible, the issue of human rights would not arise". It is precisely for this reason that “numerous national and international initiatives to promote human rights exist”.  Louis Joinet also considers that Justice is the locomotive of protection. Yet protection mechanisms are subject to time and evolution. The proof is that well before "the creation of an international court, it was necessary to design and establish control mechanisms." It goes without saying that there are plenty of examples for the slow response times taken in the field of international jurisdiction. Louis Joinet stated that "the first international convention on the matter concerned genocide. It provided an implementation mechanism, i.e. a court to try all types of genocides. The Convention was ratified but no court was established." It is the chilling case of Rwanda and the consequences of the genocide that speeded up the establishment of an international tribunal (ICC), the International Criminal Court. The exemplary punishment encouraged works on impunity insisting on justice being accomplished in one way or another. This goal requires a legal basis, meaning that the setting of "principles on impunity” is essential if we assume that impunity is a cross-cutting issue[i].

According to Louis Joinet, impunity is the absence of sanction, "the de jure or de facto absence of criminal liability for perpetrators of human rights abuses, as well as the absence of their civil, administrative or disciplinary liability given that they evade criminal investigation, capable of leading to their being accused, arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to repair the damage resulting from victimization"[ii]. The pillars of the fight against impunity are as follows:

  • To ascertain the true facts enabling accountability for committed abuses;

  • To prosecute as it is crucial for victims to be heard, taken seriously and to receive reparation[iii]

According to others, "impunity is exactly the opposite. By denying the right to justice and by granting amnesties to executioners, impunity makes reconciliation impossible and plunges victims into oblivion. Impunity remains despite sanctions whenever they are deemed insufficient or completely disproportionate to the offense”. For Guisse, impunity is "the absence or the inadequacy of penalties and/or compensation concerning the intentional or unintentional violations of the individual’s rights and freedoms"[iv].

The ICRC supported Louis Joinet during his presentation on the issue of the impunity of perpetrators responsible for human rights violations (E / CN.4 / Sub.2 / 1997/20 Rev.1). In particular, the ICRC evoked the "complementarity between the different means of struggle against impunity, namely criminal law enforcement both at the national and international level as well as non-judicial remedies." However, the ICRC has stressed the fact that "the problem of the impunity of violations arises both in times of peace and in armed conflict situations”. Joinet’s report only indirectly mentions the international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflict situations. Nevertheless, a system of criminal sanctions for violations is envisaged by international humanitarian law. That is why the ICRC has suggested to study "the possibility and the modalities regarding a broader inclusion of international humanitarian law in the principles of the fight against impunity”, as was done in the fundamentals and guidelines on the right to reparation for victims of human rights violations and international humanitarian law, drafted by Mr. Theo van Boven (E / CN.4 / 1997/104).The ICRC goes much further in its comments and calls on states to "show strong political willingness to quickly establish an effective International Criminal Court. This body, which would be complementary to national courts, should be entitled to prosecute individuals suspected of war crimes committed in the context of international and internal conflicts alike. The creation of such a court would have an evident deterrent effect, be a clear warning to those responsible for international crimes as well as a message of hope to their victims:  an international community which no longer tolerates impunity [v]".

Transitional justice

A vital element in the struggle against impunity is the use of national accountability instruments, providing remedies and reparation to victims of serious violations. The set of judicial and non-judicial measures associated with any society’s attempt to redress legacies of mass atrocity translates into transitional justice. More than a type of justice, it refers to an approach which reveals itself necessary in the transition from conflict or authoritarian regimes to justice and accountability. Not only does transitional justice combat impunity but it also aspires both to institutional reform addressing the causes of conflict, and to the guarantee of non-recurrence. Thanks to transitional justice, the recognition of the rights of victims is provided, civic trust is promoted and the rule of law is reinforced[vi]. Transitional justice is, of course, a crucial tool for States in which the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy is precarious[vii].

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations oversees programs aimed at the battle against impunity. It establishes dialogue with national governments and justice-related institutions; collaborates with CSOs to uphold democratic rule of law principles; exchanges good practices and provides technical assistance. OHCHR plays a decisive role in promoting transitional justice and actively engages in policy development, normative guidance and capacity-building activities. These enable “the development of robust, rule of law-based justice systems by providing ongoing assistance to Member States in these human rights capacity-building activities for judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and law enforcement agencies”[viii]. Among other things, OHCHR organized human rights training sessions worldwide designed for judiciary, police and other security forces, including military forces in 2011.  The aim was that of encouraging compliance with international human rights standards.

The importance of being journalists

Journalists are, as stated by Ben Leather of ISHR “some of the world’s most at-risk human rights defenders”[ix] as well as frequent victims of unpunished human rights violations in the context of conflict and repression. As stated by UNESCO “attacking journalists is the most extreme form of censorship”[x]. Therefore, they should be protected from all forms of pressure, intimidation and violence. As for those who are responsible for violating their rights, they can no longer go unpunished, must be identified and face justice. Quite naturally, intimidations and threats can only discourage freedom of reporting whilst encouraging self-censorship. That being said, nobody can argue that freedom of speech and of the media are cornerstones of democracy that significantly contribute to the shaping of the rule of law in society. Informing citizens, nourishing critical spirits and raising awareness are key functions of being journalists. As a result, they should not be hindered in their work as journalists are, in reference to Manoah Esipisua’s book on the media and elections, “the eyes of democracy”.

In light of the above, great attention must be drawn to the tricky and unsafe position of journalists under undemocratic rule. In this regard, it is worth mentioning some of the United Nations activities in enhancing the protection of journalists in highhanded regimes. By way of example, the Civil Initiative on Internet Policy, a NGO partner of OHCHR, created a website in Kyrgyzstan serving as a platform for human rights NGOs. Reports were thereby prepared on freedom of speech restrictions and abuses against journalists with the technical advice and guidance of OHCHR. Another example is the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq’s (UNAMI) Human Rights Office. In the framework of this mission, a constructive dialogue with the Government and State authorities led to amendments which improved the Journalist Protection Law by placing it on the path of compliance with international standards[xi].

UN resolutions and programs tackling impunity

At its 68th Session on 18 December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 68/163 on Safety of Journalists, and proclaimed 2 November as International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Resolution 68/163 is the first formal text of the UN addressing the issue of impunity as well as an important step towards the safety of journalists. It “condemns unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation and harassment in both conflict and non-conflict situations”[xii].

The International Day to End of Impunity was set on 2 November to commemorate the killing of French journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon who were kidnapped and murdered by militants in Mali in 2013. The Resolution calls on the UN secretary general to report at its next session in 2014 on the progress being made by the UN system in regard to implementing the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The task of implementing the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity was entrusted to UNESCO which acts as its overall coordinator.  Civil society expressed positive views on the Resolution adopted and fully endorsed its objectives. The co-sponsors of the Resolution included Greece, Argentina, Austria, Costa Rica, France, Tunisia and 72 other countries urging States to promote a safe environment for journalists, to guarantee their professional independence and to tackle undue interferences. Among the cardinal points of the Resolution one can note: legislative measures; awareness-raising as to human rights, humanitarian law obligations and commitments regarding the safety of journalists; monitoring and reporting of attacks against journalists; public and unreserved condemnations of attacks.  Furthermore, in accordance with the Resolution, all necessary resources should be leveraged in order to ensure thorough inquiries together with the prosecution of attacks[xiii]. On a critical standpoint, the ISHR noticed that “the resolution fell short of explicitly speaking to the need for accountability for the widespread criminalization of, and arbitrary use of the legal system against, journalists globally”[xiv].

Notwithstanding, Resolution 68/163 is in continuity with the commitment of both the UN and UNESCO to promote the safety of journalists and to tackle impunity. Indeed, the UNESCO International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) foresaw a mechanism which united the efforts of the UN system, Member States, CSOs, academia and media to address the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. The outcome was the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted at a conference in September 2011[xv]. Moreover, Resolution 1738, which condemns intentional attacks against journalists in situations of armed conflict, was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council in 2006. All parties were urged to comply with their obligations under international law to protect civilians in armed conflict; their responsibility on that matter was stressed. The task of ending impunity and of prosecuting the perpetrators of attacks was also emphasized as an obligation for Member States. Furthermore, a direct link was established between media professionals and civilians. Hence, Member States in armed conflicts are responsible for ensuring journalists the same set of rights as civilians: “journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians”[xvi].

In the General comment No. 34 issued by the Human rights Committee in July 2011, the principle of engaging the responsibility of States parties in cases of attacks against journalists was once again evoked: “The obligation to respect freedoms of opinion and expression is binding on every State party as a whole. All branches of the State (executive, legislative and judicial) and other public or governmental authorities, at whatever level – national, regional or local –are in a position to engage the responsibility of the State party”[xvii]. On another note, Member States are “required to ensure that the rights contained in article 19 of the Covenant are given effect to in the domestic law”[xviii]. The General comment further underlined the need for adequate inquiries to be carried out as to combat impunity[xix].

Crimes and figures

INFEX recalled that “there has never been a more dangerous time for journalists”. Journalists are murdered and silenced worldwide in huge numbers. They are threatened, attacked, intimidated, work in fear and reprisal in the chilling arena of impunity[xx]. More than 600 journalists were killed in the last 10 years and many more were intimidated and suffered non-fatal attacks. In 2012 alone, 88 journalists lost their lives whilst 183 are presently being detained around the world[xxi]. The rate of conviction is outrageously low as impunity continues to prevail in the absence of the rule of law.

Campaigns against Impunity have been vigorously held by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to raise awareness[xxii]. According to the 2014 Global Impunity Index of the CPJ, the top 10 countries in which “getting away with murder” has become the rule are, in descending order, the following: Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, Afghanistan, Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan and Russia[xxiii]. As stated by CPJ, 96 percent of murdered journalists were local reporters who dealt with politics, corruption and war in their home countries. Often, impunity leads to greater and repeated violence, making the top countries on the Impunity Index recidivists.  Threats, kidnapping and torture usually precede the killings which symbolize a message of terror addressed to the news media. Perpetrators are suspected to be political groups and armed factions in more than 40 percent of fatal attacks. As for Government and military officials, they represent 26 percent of murder cases. In less than 5 percent of fatal attacks, the culprits are arrested and adequately prosecuted[xxiv].

Iraq is the worst offender in accordance with the Impunity Index counting 100 unsolved cases of murdered journalists in the last decade. In late 2013, “fatal anti-press violence” in Iraq caused 9 casualties. In a single attack, suicide bombers attacked Salaheddin TV station in Tikrit. The bombing entailed the killing of 5 media professionals on December 23. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

Syria entered this year the Impunity Index and was given the 5th position. Since the outbreak of hostilities between government forces led by President Bashar Assad and rebels in March 2011, the unprecedented number of abductions of journalists in Syria marked it as the most dangerous country for the media in the world. Now, however, intentional murder of media professionals has added up to the alarming mix of human rights violations in Syria. Since the revolt, at least 84 journalists were killed in Syria[xxv]. Their cases were never solved. Among the perpetrators were non-Syrian Islamist militant groups, rebels, and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Abdel Karim al-Oqda, whose nom de plume was Abu Hassan, was burned to death after having posted videos exposing the crimes of the regime since the uprising in March 2011[xxvi].

Beheaded journalists in Syria

This summer, the tragically well-known case of the US reporter James Wright Foley, beheaded as a response to US airstrikes in Iraq, was portrayed in a trophy video on YouTube, released by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS. The video “A message to America”, which was later quickly removed from the net, shows the freelance US journalist establishing a link between his incumbent execution and US airstrikes against IS targets[xxvii]. The disappearance of Foley in Syria dates back to November 2012. The case of Steven Sotloff, another US journalist who was abducted on the Turkish border with Syria in 2013, was also depicted in a video. Sotloff was decapitated in the Syrian Desert in September 2014. The murder of Foley and Sotloff reflects the barbarian and nihilistic rage of the ISIS. Jihadi John, the suspected executioner of the two journalists, together with other victims including two British citizens (David Haines and Alan Henning), have been erected into the symbol of Syria’s grim conflict. The killing of the western journalists is a vibrant example of how crimes, committed by armed forces against foreign civilians, can be associated with de facto ruling local powers. After the murder of Steven Sotloff, the UN Security Council promptly stated that this action was a “crime”. Besides, David Cameron swiftly underlined the political necessity of having the terrorist face justice. From a political point of view, the aim of creating a syllogism is clear: if the killer murdered the journalists by executing the orders of its State (the ISIS) and were to be accused of violating international humanitarian law, it would come down to bringing ISIS itself to justice, which inter alia is not a recognized state. The fact that the victims were journalists adds another detail to the political discourse. As John Kerry stated talking about Steven Sotloff, “he chronicled humanity in the face of inhumanity”[xxviii]. Therefore, journalists metaphorically represent the watchmen of what is human against what is not. Their protection is thus essential. Naturally, condemning their executer first and then the ISIS would be a clear demonstration of the universality international humanitarian law aspires to.

Among other US journalist victims, Maria Colvin was murdered in 2012, Matthew Shrier was kidnapped and tortured by the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, Austen Tice went missing in 2012 and hasn’t been found since[xxix]. On the day Maria Colvin was killed, the CPJ and Reporters without Borders (RSF) proclaimed 22 February “A Day without News” to commemorate the danger facing journalists in armed conflict.   Raising awareness was a core goal of this campaign which also called on the United Nations to “prompt unprecedented action”[xxx].

Quite interestingly enough, any act of mistreatment vis-à-vis US journalists is considered a war crime under US law. As a consequence, the US can exercise jurisdiction over war crimes but only when the victims targeted or the perpetrators of violence are US nationals or Member States of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. In this respect, acts which are subject to US prosecution are torture or inhuman treatment, murder, kidnapping and mutilation. Yet convicting perpetrators is challenging. For that reason, the FBI involvement in capturing the culprits is welcome[xxxi]. Amnesty International also voiced the belief that the killing of journalists in armed conflict constitutes a war crime[xxxii]. Human Rights Watch shares the same view: “Deliberate murder of civilians and hostage taking during an armed conflict are war crimes”[xxxiii].

Is killing a journalist a war crime?

As Resolution 68/163 puts an emphasis on journalists being bystanders like civilians in conflict situations, there is no doubt that their killing and mistreatment is a war crime. In fact, any gross violation of international humanitarian law is a war crime. This feature distinguishes war crimes from crimes against humanity which refer to “widespread and systematic” violations[xxxiv] in times of war and peace[xxxv]. In accordance with article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, war crimes are “grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949”, including willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, mutilation, unlawful deportation or confinement, the taking of hostages, etc.[xxxvi]. The Statue goes on specifying that war crimes are “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities”. Journalists are logically included in this definition. However, as in the case of “attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission”, intentional attacks against media professionals should be explicitly defined as war crimes in article 8[xxxvii]. This is one of the recent requests of Reporters without Borders (RWB). Alarmed by the rise of attacks against journalists in war zones, RWB, an international NGO striving for the defense of press freedoms, wishes indeed to amend article 8 of the International Criminal Court’s statute [xxxviii]. In order to strengthen the protection of journalists in armed conflict zones and to combat impunity, RWB suggests including “deliberate attacks on journalists, media workers and associated personnel” among the war crimes listed in article 8[xxxix]. Even though journalists are assimilated with civilians and enjoy the same rights, the fact of identifying them as a special category of individuals would extend protection to non-local media professionals.

Christophe Deloire, the director general of France-based Reporters without Borders (RWB), stressed the need for the Security Council to address the provisions envisaged by Resolution 1738 (2006): namely to conduct “impartial, speedy and effective investigations” into attacks against journalists and to “bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice”[xl]. Moreover, it is RWB’s belief that Resolution 1738 should protect all media professionals: professional journalists, non-professional journalists, bloggers, etc. Besides, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression Frank La Rue stated that “without paying systematic attention to all attacks against the press, without ending impunity, it is very difficult to ensure the safety of journalists”[xli].

Questions concerning the applicability of international law

As is well known, UNESCO is in charge of ensuring that any act of violence against journalists is condemned and followed by an adequate punishment. Yet RWB noted that UNESCO “lacks the force of law that the Security Council has”[xlii]. France is the country which had co-sponsored Resolution 1738 in 2006 and is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Security Council. RWB strongly encourages it to fully implement the Resolution and to expand it beyond situations of armed conflict. Likewise, it is indispensible for a monitoring committee or a group of experts to be created as to ensure the application of the Resolution. According to RWB, the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity also needs to be implemented to reverse the tendency of impunity[xliii]. In 2013, the Germany-based office of RWB has launched the online workshop called “Digital Safety for Journalists”. Aimed at journalists, it is free of charge. Thanks to this digital safety workshop participants learn to “minimize their risks and maximize their safety”[xliv]. Many workshops on digital safety have also been organized by RWB in US journalism schools, French and African editorial offices, in Kabul for Afghans, and in Bangkok for the Burmese and the Vietnamese people[xlv].  

History tells us that a century ago journalists faced the risk of being shot in wartime as spies. Since the early nineteenth century, the legal practice under the Geneva conventions established that whenever journalists accompany an army they are considered as being military correspondents and enjoy the legal protection of prisoners of war if captured. Nowadays, the potential executors in countries in transition might however not be familiar with international humanitarian law. Being detained by rebel forces today is thus presumably more terrifying that being held hostage by an Axis and Allied prisoner of war in the 1940s[xlvi]. International treaties are based on the assumption that combatants have the knowledge of international law and thus the will to observe it. Yet if it were not the case, what are the procedures leading to internationally sanctioned punishment? This is when the provisions of international criminal law come into play. Clearly, the first step would be to clarify the relationship between violence against journalists and war crimes. Ideally, any intentional attack against journalists should be defined a crime against humanity[xlvii]. Indeed, this would allow the extension of their protection beyond armed conflicts. In other words, journalists would enjoy protection in times of war and peace.

Nevertheless, what raises doubts is the applicability of the Statute of Rome of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in some particular cases. Firstly, the ICC can exercise its jurisdiction only when triggered by a State party. Secondly, prosecution must be initiated by the State party where the crime was committed. As a result, domestic legislation is enacted. If the concerned State party is unwilling to comply, the ICC can exercise its powers. However, a condition must be stressed: the ICC’s jurisdiction can only be exercised when crimes have been perpetrated by nationals of state parties or on the territory of State parties. This leads us to the dilemma of Syria, which is not a state party to the ICC. As a consequence, only the establishment of a jurisdictional link would allow the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction over Syria. An example could be the committing of a crime against humanity by a State party to the ICC in Syria. When the perpetrators are not nationals of state parties, the issue is even more entangled. Seen as Syria is not a state party, its officials enjoy immunity before the ICC. Of course, this is an outstanding jurisdictional impediment considering that violence against journalists is often committed by state officials. A solution to the deadlock is for the Security Council to trigger the ICC. In such an eventuality, article 27 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court will apply and remove the immunity of Syrian officials. However, crimes against journalists are often committed by rebel forces that control a part of an internationally recognized territory. The State has thereby lost control over its territory and is unable of initiating a domestic prosecution. As a consequence, crimes against journalists go unpunished not only because of the State’s incapacity or unwillingness to prosecute but also because international prosecutions usually require state cooperation.

The duty to extradite or prosecute

These jurisdictional obstacles can be bypassed by applying the aut dedere aut judicare principle: the duty to extradite or prosecute. Sarah Mazzochi suggests that aut dedere aut judicare could be transformed into a jus cogens norm: a peremptory rule of international law from which no derogation is permitted. This is because nowadays States parties use the aut dedere aut judicare principle extensively. This of course doesn’t stop numerous States from deliberately disregarding their obligations under international law. Wrongful acts therefore go unpunished. However, by placing aut dedere aut judicare as a jus cogens norm, States will less likely infringe their duty to prosecute or extradite[xlviii]. On another note, the UN Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/81 as well as previous Resolutions on Impunity, include the principle to prosecute or extradite in order to put an end to impunity[xlix].

Nevertheless, the need for prosecutions and extraditions cannot be fully satisfied without the cooperation of the States where violence against journalists is committed. That is why efficient mechanisms for extradition and exchange of information must be put into place[l]. Besides, combatting impunity also has to become a political project of ruling parties because, as mentioned by Anne Kabore, impunity is linked to the past and determines the future of a State[li].

To sum up, the main solutions to combat impunity more efficiently are the following:

  • The active involvement of the Security Council in prosecuting the perpetrators of violence against journalists by triggering the ICC.

  • The amendment of Article 8 of the Rome  Statute of the International Criminal Court as to explicitly define attacks against journalists as war crimes, and maybe one day, as crimes against humanity.

  • The implementation of the duty to prosecute or to extradite as a jus cogens norm.

  • Transitional justice.

It should not be forgotten that the fate of journalists in armed conflict lies in the hands of the International Community and of its people. Hence, combating impunity should become a strong value and a peremptory rule. We can no longer overlook the fact that the death of journalists around the world mirrors our inability to intervene adequately. In short, the failure of journalists to survive in armed conflicts and to report freely is our failure to protect and to prosecute efficiently.

Annick Valleau

[i] L'Economiste N° 2038, 08/06/2005

[ii] L.Joinet, Lutter contre l'impunité - Dix questions pour comprendre et agir, Paris, La Découverte, 2002, p.9

[iii] S. Monseur et A.Fischer, Réconcilier l'inconciliable ? Comment rendre justice et mémoire, un travail sur le passé pour un avenir de paix et démocratie, Etude de justice et de paix, 2005, p. 23, cited by G.B. Kodou, « Amnistie et impunité des crimes internationaux », in Droit fondamentaux, n°4, January - December 2004, pp. 67-95. Available on the site: <http:// www. Droit-fondamentaux. Org/>

[iv] E.H. Guisse, « Le procès équitable », in Rencontres internationales sur l'impunité des auteurs des violations graves des droits de l'homme, organisée par la Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l'Homme(CNCDH) et la Commission Internationale des Juristes (CIJ) sous les auspices des Nations Unies (du 2 au 5 novembre1992), Palais des Nations, Genève, p. 17, cited by Kodou, G.B. «Amnistie et impunité des crimes internationaux», op.cit., pp. 67-95

[v] Documents CICR Réf. LG 1998-023-FRE

[vi]ICTJ, What is Transitional Justice?, <>

[vii] Droit de la reconstruction des États, La lutte contre l’impunité, <>

[viii]   Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Impunity and the Rule of Law, op. cit.

[ix] ISHR, Human Rights Council calls upon States to combat impunity for crimes against journalists, 2014, <

[x] CES, Who, What, Where, When, How? The impunity of crimes against journalists, <


[xii]United Nations General Assembly, Resolution on  the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, 18 December 2013

[xiii]UNESCO, UN General Assembly adopts resolution on .journalist safety and proclaims 2 November as International Day to End Impunity, <

[xiv] ISHR, Human Rights Council calls upon States to combat impunity, op. cit.


[xvi]United Nations, Security Council Condemns Attacks against Journalists in Conflict Situations, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1738 (2006), Security Council, Press release, <>

[xvii] United Nations, Human rights Committee, 102nd session, General comment No. 34, Article 19: Freedoms of opinion and expression,


[xix] Conseil de l’Europe, Séminaire et Dialogue Interrégional sur la protection des journalistes, En vue d’un cadre legal pour la protection de la profession des journalistes et la fin de l’impunité,

3 Novembre 2014, Strasbourg, <>

[xx] IFEX, UN resolution establishes 2 November as International Day to End Impunity, <>

[xxi]La Croix, Comment mieux protéger les journalistes dans les pays dangereux ?, 2013, <

[xxii] Radio Free Europe, OSCE Campaigns against Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, <

[xxiii]CPJ, Getting away with murder, CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free, <>


[xxv], Reporters Without Borders calls for attacks on journalists to be labeled war crimes, 2013, <>

[xxvii] Amnesty International, Syria: ‘Beheading’ of US reporter a war crime that highlights ‘chilling’ risk to journalists, 2014, <

[xxviii] John Kerry, Press Statement, Secretary of State

Washington, DC, Steven Sotloff, US Department of State, September 3, 2014, <>

[xxix] JustSecurity, Attacks on Journalists a War Crime, <>



[xxxii]Amnesty International, Syria: ‘Beheading’ of US reporter a war crime, op.cit.

[xxxiii] Human Rights Watch, Syria: Journalist’s Execution a War Crime, 2014, <>

[xxxiv] ICRC, Rule 156. Definition of War Crimes, Serious violations of international humanitarian law constitute war crimes, <>

[xxxv]Darryl Robinson, « Defining "Crimes against Humaniy" at the Rome Conference », The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 93, No. 1,1999, pp. 43-57, < >

[xxxvi] International Criminal Court, Rome Statute

of the International Criminal Court, Part 2., Jurisdiction, Admissibility and Applicable Law, Article 8,  War crimes, 2011, <>


[xxxviii]La Croix, Comment mieux protéger les journalistes dans les pays dangereux ?, op. cit.

[xxxix], Reporters Without Borders calls for attacks on journalists to be labeled war crimes, op. cit




[xliii]La Croix, Comment mieux protéger les journalistes dans les pays dangereux ?, op. cit.

[xliv] Reporters without Borders, Digital Safety for Journalists: Open Online Workshop #Digisafe, 2013, <,4552...

[xlv] La Croix, Comment mieux protéger les journalistes dans les pays dangereux ?, op. cit.

[xlvi]William A. Orme, Jr.,  Journalists, Crimes of war, 2011, <

[xlvii] Nicholas Tsagourias, Violence against Journalists and Crimes against Humanity, Centre for Freedom of the Media, 2014, <

[xlviii] Sarah Mazzochi, « The Age of Impunity: Using the Duty to Extradite or Prosecute and Universal

Jurisdiction to End Impunity for Acts of  Terrorism Once and For All », Northern Illinois University Law Review, vol. 32:1, 2011, <

[xlix] UNESCO, Unesco Work Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, 2013, <>

[l] Inter American Press Association, Impunity, <>

[li]Anne Kabore, La lutte contre l’impunité, Un axe de travail de l’ONU, 10 / 1994, <>