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Dissertation

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

On 3 December 2019, Hanna Bosdriesz defended her thesis 'Furthering the fight against impunity in Latin America: the contributions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to domestic accountability processes'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. L.J. van den Herik and Prof. M.A.H. van der Woude.

Author
Hanna Bosdriesz
Date
03 December 2019
Links
Leiden Repository

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.

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