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17 Are We Headed in the Right Direction? Reflections on the New (2001) Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Light of the Experience of the European System

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Chapter Summary

This chapter contributes to the debate over reform within the inter-American system in the light of growing number of petitions before the Commission and the avalanche of cases now before the Inter-American Court, by making reference to the experience of the European human rights system. The central argument is that the inter-American system has become too closely identified with non-governmental agenda, for a variety of reasons, and should it hope to survive, the Commission needs to redefine its role. Currently, the Commission has a quasi-judicial role in deciding whether the respondent State has violated the rights of the petitioner, but before the Court, it assumes the role of the petitioner's advocate or prosecutor of the respondent State. It is submitted that the European system provides a valuable example in this regard and that this redefined role should be that of defender of the system, instead of defender of the petitioner.

Keywords: European system; human rights; inter-American system; non-governmental agenda; petitioner; prosecutor



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