Against closed-room diplomacy: Selecting judges and commissioners in the inter-American human rights system

This paper will discuss the selection mechanism of judges and commissioners in the Inter-American Human Rights System. This mechanism shows considerable democratic deficit, but also provides only few guarantees regarding the human rights expertise and commitment of candidates. The selection process still obeys, partly, the logics of closed-room diplomacy. While candidates nominated to the OAS General Assembly nowadays undergo expert and civil society scrutiny, the nomination processes at national level continue to lack transparency. Thus, conflicts of interest, excessive deference to States or other interest groups, as well as lack of expertise cannot be excluded. Here, using as a case-study the Inter-American Commission’s selection process 2019, the argument is made that meritocracy and transparency have to improve in the national nomination processes in order to maintain the quality of human rights protection in the Americas.