“Use and Improve” is My Accountability Mantra, Despite 30 Years of Eye-opening Disappointments

Natalie Bridgeman Fields


This essay finds justification for championing the continued existence, functioning and improvement of Independent Accountability Mechanisms (IAMs). A blunt assessment of the thirty-year functioning of IAMs reveals disappointing learnings: the aggressors often win; poor incentive structures prevent good outcomes; lack of remedy causes harm. However, when exceptions happen, they are worth it and can be spectacular. This essay argues for the use and improvement of IAMs, as they remain one of the only working systems to support those harmed.