Inter-American Court of Human Rights

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People from La Oroya vs Peru, Inter-American Court of Human Rights: How Effective is International Law to Protect the Environment in Extractive Contexts?

On March 22nd, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled a landmark decision on the protection of the right to a healthy environment in the context of mining activities. The Court declared the international responsibility of the Peruvian State for breaching the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, specifically for violations of the right to a healthy environment (Article 26), the right to life (Article 4.1.), the right to personal integrity (Article 5), the rights of children (Article 19), and others. By evaluating environmental and medical evidence from decades ago to the present, the Court found that there is no doubt about the presence of high levels of environmental contamination in La Oroya, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and other metals in air, soil and water. Importantly, it indicated that the principal cause was the activity of the La Oroya Metallurgical Center operating from 1922 (par. 263). Given the difficulty of establishing scientific causality, the Court also noted that it is not necessary to demonstrate that health diseases are directly caused…

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Pardon for Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori: New Chapter, Same Plot?

In December 2023, Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s President from 1990 to 2000, was released from prison by the order of the Peruvian Constitutional Court (CC). In response, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) declared Peru in contempt of the Court and imposed a reinforced monitoring of its judgments in the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases. Although both…

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What’s at Stake in the Abortion Case Before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights?

El Salvador’s punitive treatment of women through its absolute criminalization of abortion will come under scrutiny by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the “Court”) on March 22-23, in a case involving the state’s treatment of a woman in need of a life-saving abortion. Beatriz was a young woman from the impoverished state of Usulután,…

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Another Advisory Opinion on the Climate Emergency? The Added Value of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The highest human rights tribunal in the Americas, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), sits in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, part of a region significantly exposed and vulnerable to climate impacts. If the global temperature continues to rise due to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that remain trapped in the atmosphere, enjoying the whole…

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EJIL:The Podcast! Episode 18 – “Be Careful What You Ask For”

In this episode Dapo Akande, Marko Milanovic and Philippa Webb are joined by Philippe Sands (University College London and 11KBW) and Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh (University of Amsterdam and University of the South Pacific). The focus is on the advisory function of international courts and tribunals. In December 2022, the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International…

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