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The United Nations works to support a rule of law framework at the national level: a Constitution or its equivalent, as the highest law of the land; clear and consistent legal framework, and implementation thereof; strong institutions of justice, governance, security and human rights that are well structured, financed, trained and equipped; transitional justice processes and mechanisms; and a public and civil society that contributes to strengthening the rule of law and holding public officials and institutions accountable. These are the norms, policies, institutions and processes that form the core of a society in which individuals feel safe and secure, where disputes are settled peacefully and effective redress is available for harm suffered, and where all who violate the law, including the State itself, are held to account.
Effective and independent justice and accountability mechanisms, established in accordance with international human rights standards, are vital to monitoring, investigating and redressing civil and political, as well as economic, social, and cultural human rights violations. A human rights approach calls for strengthening and expanding the mechanisms that people can use to demand accountability. These mechanisms may include internal disciplinary procedures, special parliamentary commissions, the media, and other legitimate means of demanding responsibility or obtaining redress. Accountability of non-state actors (e.g. private institutions and individuals) should also be strengthened.
The international legal framework provides normative protection for access to justice by providing:
The General Assembly has considered rule of law as an agenda item since 1992, with renewed interest since 2006 and has adopted resolutions at its last three sessions. (A/RES/61/39, A/RES/62/70, A/RES/63/128). The Security Council has held a number of thematic debates on the rule of law (S/PRST/2003/15, S/PRST/2004/2, S/PRST/2004/32, S/PRST/2005/30, S/PRST/2006/28) and adopted resolutions emphasizing the importance of these issues in the context of women, peace and security (SC res 1325, SC res. 1820), children in armed conflict (e.g., SC res 1612), the protection of civilians in armed conflict (e.g., SC res 1674).