States have a duty to investigate alleged rights violations.
- Administrative mechanisms are particularly required to give effect to the general obligations to investigate allegations of violations promptly, thoroughly and effectively through independent and impartial bodies.
- A failure by a State Party to investigate allegations of violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. Cessation of an ongoing violation is an essential element of the right to an effective remedy.
- States have an obligation to investigate effectively, impartially and in a timely manner any allegation or reasonable suspicion of unlawful use of force or other violations by law enforcement officials, including sexual or gender-based violence, in the context of assemblies. Both intentional and negligent action or inaction can amount to a violation of human rights. Individual officials responsible for violations must be held accountable under domestic and, where relevant, international law, and effective remedies must be available to victims.
- There are prompt and effective investigations of threats and crimes against journalists and new media actors. There is no climate of impunity.
- The right to an effective remedy includes: (iii) access to the factual information concerning the violations.
- The obligation to respect, ensure respect for and enforce international human rights and humanitarian law includes, inter alia, a State’s duty to: (b) Investigate violations and, where appropriate, take action against the violator in accordance with domestic and international law.
- Concerning international cooperation, as already stressed under the preceding principle it is necessary to create mechanisms to make the exchange of information and the investigation, prosecution and sanction of illegal conducts related to the subject of democracy and new technologies more efficient.
- The Council of Europe has identified two types of cyberthreats to elections. First, threats to electoral democracy, namely “attacks against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of election computers and data”, compromising voter databases or registration systems; tampering with voting machines to manipulate results; interference with the function of systems on election day; and illegal access to computers to steal, modify, disseminate sensitive data. Second, threats to deliberative democracy, i.e. “information operations with violations of rules to ensure free, fair and clean elections” related to data protection, political finances, media coverage of electoral campaigns and broadcasting and political advertising.
- Investigations and prosecutions are essential to reduce future violence.