The compliance mechanism of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety has been functioning for approximately 5 years. This period is probably too limited to draw any firm conclusions in respect of the future role of the compliance mechanism. On the other hand, the findings of the Compliance Committee have been considered by no less than three Conferences of the Parties serving as the Meetings of the Parties to the Protocol (2005, 2006 and 2008). Therefore, a preliminary stocktaking of the achievements of the compliance mechanism seems to be appropriate. This article attempts to provide such stocktaking, the conclusions being that while there are a number of positive indications, there are also some rather negative trends represented by the outcomes of the last Conference of the Parties serving as Meeting of the Parties (2008). In order to provide an informed background of the analysis, the article is introduced by a brief account of the negotiation history of the compliance mechanism and a presentation of its legal basis and main features.