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Updated 06/23/2006

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

In 1969, the Organization of American States (OAS) American Convention on Human Rights created the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in order to safeguard human rights in the Americas. When the convention entered into force in 1978, the court was settled and organized. Along with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it is a supervisory body of the Inter-American Human Rights system.

The court is headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, and meets twice a year. There are seven judges who are elected for six-year terms by the OAS General Assembly. Cases are referred to the court by member states or by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Individuals may not petition the court.

The jurisdiction of the court is optional under the American Convention. To date, 24 of the 35 member states, including Honduras, have accepted the court’s jurisdiction. The court’s judgments are final and binding—no appeals are permitted—and any offending state may be ordered to give monetary and non-monetary compensation to victims of human rights abuses. Although the court has the power to make such judgments, it more frequently issues advisory opinions to states or OAS organs that have requested interpretation of human rights law.

For more information

Web site of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights