Press Release

IACHR's amended Rules of Procedure enter into force today

August 1, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The amended Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) enter into force today, August 1, 2013. The amended Rules of Procedure were approved by the Inter-American Commission in Resolution 1/2013, adopted on March 18, 2013 and published on March 19, 2013.

The amended Rules of Procedure are the result of a reform process that the Inter-American Commission undertook between 2011 and 2013. It was a transparent and participatory process that relied on essential input in the form of recommendations and observations presented by the OAS member States, civil society, the victims of human rights violations, members of academia, and other users. This reform process concluded with the Commission’s adoption of new policies and practices, the specifics of which are detailed in the text of Resolution 1/2013.

The reform to the Rules aims to perfect the mechanisms at the disposal of the IACHR for fulfilling its mandate of promoting and defending human rights in the Americas. This reform addresses several aspects related to precautionary measures and requests for provisional measures to the Inter-American Court; the petition and case system; the monitoring of country situations; promotion and universality.

The reforms related to precautionary measures seek to increase publicity and dissemination of the criteria for granting, extending, modifying and lifting them, as well as to improve on the mechanisms used by the IACHR to follow-up on measures in force and individualize the respective beneficiaries. The amended Rules set forth in detail the parameters used by the IACHR in the determination of the requisites of urgency, seriousness and irreparable nature, as well as the circumstances in which this organ will request provisional measures to the Inter-American Court.

With respect to the petition and case system, the reforms have the purpose of providing greater predictability and efficacy in the establishment of priorities for the study and admissibility of petitions; criteria for archiving petitions or cases; granting of extensions for compliance with recommendations issued in final merits reports; extension of deadlines for the presentation of observations by parties; and accumulation of the admissibility and merits stages.

As to the monitoring of the situation of countries, promotion and universality, the reforms to the Rules have the goal of improving the content of each of the chapters of the IACHR Annual Report. Starting in 2013, the Report will give an account of the status of ratification of inter-American human rights instruments and inform about the activities carried out by each of the Rapporteurships and Thematic Units. It will also include an evaluation of the situation of human rights in the Hemisphere and of the main trends, advances and challenges to the full enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the region. The amended IACHR Rules of Procedure further include a detailed explanation of the methodology, procedure and sources used in the section of the Annual Report that addresses the development of human rights in the region.

The amended Rules of Procedure can be viewed at the webpage of the Commission. To better understand the changes introduced, the following documents are also available: “Amendments to the Rules of Procedure” and “Table of Comparison.”

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 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.

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