Human rights protection needs teeth. And those who work in the disparate field of human rights need to see the system more comprehensively and strategically. Far too often, political issues interfere with enforcement of human rights laws and allow violators to hide behind the unwillingness of national governments to take action to enforce existing laws against human rights violators. Lack of commitment to human rights enforcement or timely preventative or intervention actions have led to violators being left unpunished for torture, rape and genocide. This failure of governments means that there is a lack of deterent power sufficient to inhibit potential human rights violators who know they will not be legally pursued after a conflict has ended.
David R. Barnhizer, Effective Strategies for Protecting Human Rights: A Conference Engaging the International Community, Law Notes (Spring 2001)