The Practice and Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Practice and Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Practice and Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Practice and Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Synopsis

Jo M. Pasqualucci analyzes all aspects of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' advisory and contentious jurisdiction and its provisional measures orders. She examines the Rules of Procedure of the Court and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, highlighting the important changes the Rules bring about in the inter-relationship of these organs. She also cites the effectiveness of the Convention and the Court's rulings in the domestic law of States Parties to the Convention.

Excerpt

In 1978, when the American Convention on Human Rights entered into force, much of Central America and South America was ruled by dictatorships either of the right or the left. Of the eleven States whose ratifications had brought the Convention into force, fewer than one-half had democratically elected governments at the time. The remainder ratified for a variety of political reasons. Important also was the pressure brought to bear by the Carter Administration and the fact that some of these States were convinced that ratification posed no serious risks to them since the system established by the Convention would never be implemented. Effective human rights institutions were not something many governments in the region believed in at the time, but they were not opposed to a little window dressing for propaganda purposes. The attitude of these regimes towards human rights was graphically demonstrated when, shortly after the Convention entered into force, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States failed to adopt a budget for the newly created Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Had it not been for funds provided by Costa Rica, the Court would have been paralyzed even before it began to perform its functions.

Over theyears, though, thepolitical climatein theAmericas changed gradually, making it possiblefor theInter-American system for theprotection of human rights to play an increasingly more important role. The fact that today all Latin American governments in the region, with the exception of Cuba, have been democratically elected has produced significant improvements in the human rights situation in these countries. These states have now also ratified the Convention and accepted the jurisdiction of the Court. This leaves only a small number of OAS member states—some Commonwealth Caribbean countries as well as the United States and Canada—out of the system established by the Convention. That is also trueof Cuba whosegovernment remains excluded from the OAS.

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