IACHR Sets Up a Space to Analyze and Reflect on Timely Justice

August 15, 2023

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Washington, D.C.—"Access to Inter-American Justice," a high-level forum held on July 21, 2023, during the 187th Period of Sessions, was the first in a series of spaces for analyzing, exchanging ideas, and reflecting on experiences, practices, and contributions that help make the petition and case system more efficient, so as to move toward achieving more timely justice at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The forum was opened by IACHR President Margarette May Macaulay, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, and IACHR Executive Secretary Tania Reneaum Panszi. More than 200 people then attended two panels held in a hybrid format: "Comparative Experiences in Accessing Timely Justice" and "Delivering Timely Justice to Achieve Structural Impacts." These panels were moderated by Second Vice President Roberta Clarke and First Vice President Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño.

"The knowledge shared by national and international bodies and courts on the processing of cases provides the IACHR with valuable information that allows us to implement measures to process cases and reach decisions more efficiently, thus ensuring timely access to inter-American justice for all victims of human rights violations," said President Margarette May Macaulay.

Among the panelists were eminent jurists from national and international organizations, academic establishments, and civil society: José Martín y Pérez de Nanclares, judge of the General Court of the European Union; Jacob Wit, judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice; Meritxell Regue Blasi, prosecutor of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court; Simeon Petrovski, senior legal advisor to the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights; and Martha Lucía Zamora, director of the National Legal Defense Authority of Colombia.

Other panelists included Jeffrey Apperson, vice president for international relations at the National Center for State Courts; Oscar Parra Vera, magistrate of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia; Ibrahim Salama, chief of the Human Rights Treaties Branch of the OHCHR; Ana Lorena Delgadillo, member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Carlos Ayala Corao, vice president of the International Commission of Jurists; and Angelita Baeyens, vice president of international litigation and advocacy at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

The forum is part of the commitments set out in the Strategic Plan 2023–2027, which establishes that the IACHR will work to progressively reduce its backlog of cases in order to improve the protection and defense of victims of human rights violations.

"Today, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is revising criteria and procedures to reduce the backlog of cases with a deep sense of responsibility and transparency," said Executive Secretary Tania Reneaum Panszi.

This forum is the first in a series of events at which experts will speak on topics including technology, expedited case processing, developing jurisprudence, and prioritization processes. The series will include specialized online panels, exchanges with high-level experts, and a questionnaire, all open to the general public.

The next session, "Technology Use for Efficient, Timely Justice," will be held online on August 30, 2023. The rest of the activities will be announced in due course on the IACHR website.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 182/23

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