Interim Measures in International Human Rights: Evolution and Harmonization
Pasqualucci, Jo M., Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
In this Article, the Author undertakes a comprehensive study of interim measures ordered in human rights cases before six international enforcement bodies--the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the United Nations Committee against Torture, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. An order of interim measures may require that the State take positive action, such as providing protection for human rights activists or .journalists, or it may call upon the State to refrain from taking action, such as not extraditing a person or delaying the execution of prisoners ttntil their cases have been resolved before the international body. The purpose of interim measures in international human rights law is most often to protect pcrsons involved in a case from urgent danger of grave and irreparable injury. The Author concludes that the multiple jurisdictions charged with the enforcement of international norms are successfully harmonizing and evolving their treatment of interim measures. In general, States have accepted the decisions of international courts that interim measures are binding on the States that are parties to the applicable treaties. Many States Dave not yet accepted the view that interim measures specified by international quasi-judicial bodies also are binding on States. The Author argues inter alia that States that have accepted the right of individuals to petition international human rights bodies are bound to respect that petition process by refraining from interfering with the process and by protecting the lives and rights of those involved in the case. Thus, interim measures are implied in the constituent documents that provide for the right of individual petition and must be considered to be binding on States that are parties.
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION II. INTERIM MEASURES IN GENERAL III. AUTHORITY TO ORDER INTERIM MEASURES A. Express Authority B. Inherent Authority C. Implied Authority IV. INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR ORDERING INTERIM MEASURES A. Urgency and Gravity B. Likelihood of Irreparable Injury V. BINDING NATURE OF INTERIM MEASURES A. International and Regional Tribunals B. International Quasi-Judicial Bodies VI. CIRCUMSTANCES REPEATEDLY GIVING RISE TO INTERIM MEASURES A. Pending State-Sponsored Executions B. Extradition or Deportment C. Protection of Petitioners, Witnesses, and National Attorneys D. Protection of Human Rights Organizations, Activists, and Journalists E. Protection for Local Judges and Opposition Politicians F. Protection to Allow Displaced Persons to Return to Their Homes G. Medical Assistance to Prisoners VII. COMPARATIVE PROCEDURES A. Parties Authorized to Petition an International Body to Order Interim Measures B. Prima Facie Jurisdiction C. Discretion to Order Interim Measures D. Prior Hearing E. The Period of Effectiveness of Interim Measures VIII. OVERSIGHT OF STATE IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERIM MEASURES IX. STATE COMPLIANCE WITH INTERIM MEASURES X. CONCLUSION
When the well-known Guatemalan newspaper El Peridioco published articles critical of the government, several of the newspaper's investigative reporters and staff received death threats. (1) The president of the paper was forced to leave Guatemala after his home was taken over and his family harassed by armed persons who identified themselves as National Police agents. (2) Two armed men entered the newspaper facilities, opened fire, and wounded a security agent. (3) In response to a complaint of human rights abuse filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Commission ordered the government of Guatemala to take interim measures to protect the director and the technical and administrative staff of the newspaper. …