“Impunity” is the term used for a systemic failure to hold people, especially state agents, accountable for human rights violations. It is hugely destructive of the rule of law and erodes faith in the justice system and state institutions in general.
The longer it goes on, the more it poisons contemporary society, even when it relates to crimes of the past. A failure to hold a state to account for patterns of past human rights violations, fuels the risk that they will be repeated at home or abroad when similar circumstances arise. This is why impunity is a prime target of human rights activists throughout the world.