Inter-American Court of Human Rights

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Vicky Hernández et al. v. Honduras: A Landmark Victory with a Bitter Aftertaste

On June 28, on International LGBT Pride Day, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) issued its ruling in Vicky Hernández et al. v. Honduras, the first case involving lethal violence against an LGBT person, specifically a trans woman, to reach the highest body of the Inter-American regional system. During the proceedings, Honduras denied that its police force had any part in Vicky Hernández’s murder, which occurred on another June 28, this time in 2009, on the first night of the curfew imposed during the coup d’état against then-president Manuel Zelaya. The decision sparked considerable anticipation: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and representatives of Hernández’s family had requested the IACtHR to apply the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (“Convention of Belém do Pará”) to the case. Previously the treaty had only been applied to instances of violence against cisgender women. Furthermore, the petition was submitted to the IACHR in 2012, before Advisory Opinion OC-24/17 had been issued. Quite a lot,…

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Don’t Leave Me This Way: Regulating Treaty Withdrawal in the Inter-American Human Rights System

What happens after a state party denounces a human rights treaty? Which legal obligations continue and how should other member states react? On December 16, 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) addressed those central questions in a much-anticipated advisory opinion on the procedure for and effects of withdrawal from the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)…

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The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Quest for Equality: The Fireworks Factory case

On 26 October 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) published its judgment in the Case of the Workers of the Fireworks Factory in Santo Antônio de Jesus and their Families v. Brazil (Fireworks Factory case). The dispute concerned the Brazilian state's responsibility for the events surrounding an explosion in a fireworks factory in the…

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The Lhaka Honhat Case Of The Inter-American Court Of Human Rights: The Long-Awaited Granting Of 400,000 Hectares Under Communal Property Rights

On 6 February 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Court) delivered a judgment in which it declared the international responsibility of the Argentine Republic for the violation of diverse rights of 132 indigenous communities of the Salta province, organised under the Lhaka Honhat Association. This is the first time the Court has condemned…

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The relationship between domestic and international courts: the need to incorporate judicial politics into the analysis

In the latest issue of EJIL, Raffaela Kunz carefully examines the complex relationship between domestic and international courts in human rights adjudication. Amidst the well-known backlash from governments, she draws attention to the growing resistance of domestic high courts to decisions by their international counterparts as well as the main features of this resistance. Kunz traces how…

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