Judith Schönsteiner, Alma Beltrán y Puga, Domingo A. Lovera; Reflections on the Human Rights Challenges of Consolidating Democracies: Recent Developments in the Inter-American System of Human Rights, Human Rights Law Review, Oxford University Press. Volume 11, Issue 2, 1 June 2011, Pages 362–389, https://doi.org/10.1093/hrlr/ngr011

The authors of this law review describe the emergence of multiple topics in the inter-American courts since its existence. Although the court still works on cases regarding “transnational justice” for events from the mid to late 20th century, the authors argue that the court has also become the stage on which debates about “discrimination based on sexual orientation, rapes committed by high ranking officials, wiretapping, unfair dismissal, and political participation” have taken place (363). The courts have changed with the diversity of human rights issues that exist. Despite all its efforts, though, the Inter-American courts are not always effective in their outcomes. It was not until “2008 and 2009” that cases involving the “disappearances, massacres and torture that occurred in the 1970s and1980s were decided against Guatemala and Bolivia” (363). The time gap between the occurrence of the human right violations and the year the court was able to rule on it exemplify why the court has yet to exert any real influence as a governing system. Still, though, the courts, as stated by the authors, have been able to resolve structural violations within countries.

This law review is relevant because it focuses on the legal apparatus that the American continent put into place to attempt to bring justice to human rights violations. The Inter-American courts were created to resolve issues that states could not otherwise fix themselves either because they perpetrated the human rights violation or because they do not have enough diversity in their political system to see violations as a problem. It is important to examine the results of the courts debates and their legal logic because it sets a precedent for the way states act towards citizens. It also defines the way the international community deals with human rights issues.

This legal review written and researched by Schönsteiner, Beltrán, Puga, and Lovera is accurate and qualified to analyze the Inter-American court because each author has experience working with Human Rights organizations such as the Human Rights Center of the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile, the Essex Business Human Rights Project, the rapporteurship of Women’s Rights at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and teaching constitutional law at University like Lovera. Their experience with court documents and legal research provides a clear perspective on how the Inter-American courts succeed and fail in their fight for human rights.

The picture shown accurately depicts the court and how it is organized. Each country has a judge representing them and the court specializes in hearing cases concerning the American continent, most often regarding Latin America. This specific image was taken from an article written in 2015 about Costa Rica and the state’s noncompliance in following the court’s ruling about in vitro fertilization. The article appeared in a paper called “The Tico Times”, tico being the nickname given to people from Costa Rica.

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