The duty to investigate includes the investigation of acts by private persons and entities.
- However the positive obligations on States Parties to ensure Covenant rights will only be fully discharged if individuals are protected by the State, not just against violations of Covenant rights by its agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights in so far as they are amenable to application between private persons or entities. There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights as required by article 2 would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties' permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.
- 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.
- Both before and during the election cycle, governments should make concerted efforts to dismantle private armed groups and prosecute those responsible for participating in or forming them. State forces should also protect citizens from armed groups.
- Investigations and prosecutions are essential to reduce future violence.
- 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.
- 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.