These mechanisms--thematic and country-specific--have different structural advantages, and their concrete effectiveness depends on the specific circumstances of the particular case they are asked to address. There is evidence that they have greater impact when employed simultaneously, as well as when key states support their efforts bilaterally. Through case studies, Flood analyzes the work of the thematic mechanisms on disappearances and religious discrimination and the country-specific mechanisms used with Chile and Iran. He concludes that Charter-based UN human rights institutions have become an enduring part of the international environment and that their activities have strengthened the concept and practice of state accountability to the international community for human rights conduct.
The key question asked in this volume is to what extent have courts merely abided by egregious practices, or perhaps have even lent a cover of legitimation--or conversely, the degree to which courts have purposely attempted to bring about some change in stemming governmental abuses. No single volume could cover every country experiencing gross levels of human rights abuses. The effort here has been to provide a cross section of judicial systems throughout the world, and to focus on judicial systems that have become involved in addressing human rights issues.