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PhD defence

Furthering the fight against impunity in Latin America: the contributions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to domestic accountability processes

  • H. Bosdriesz
Tuesday 3 December 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. L.J. van den Herik
  • Prof. M.A.H. van der Woude


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.


This dissertation is inspired by the question how national authorities can be motivated to advance the fight against impunity for grave human rights violations by investigating and prosecuting those responsible for mass atrocities through their domestic justice systems. Whereas international scholarship has often sought to answer such questions by looking at international criminal courts – and in particular at the International Criminal Court – this study proposes instead to turn our gaze beyond The Hague, towards the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR).

Since the days of the Cold War, the Inter-American human rights system has been an important ally for victims and civil society groups pushing their governments to recognize and investigate serious and systemic violations of human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice. It has thus been involved in the fight against impunity for decades. Its contributions to that fight remain, however, underexplored by international legal scholarship.

This dissertation examines both the legal doctrines developed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to further the fight against impunity and the practical contributions of those doctrines to domestic accountability processes in Latin America. It argues that the Inter-American system has made important contributions to several aspects of domestic accountability processes. However, in order to understand these contributions, we have to step outside the compliance framework often employed in legal scholarship to the study of international courts.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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