INTERNATIONAL TRANSFORMATIVE CONSTITUTIONALISM: HOW IT WORKS IN LATIN AMERICA

This article explores the operation of international transformative constitutionalism in Latin America, and responds to some of the challenges to its legitimacy and effectiveness. To do so, it focuses on the practice of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). It argues that, in order to understand the IACtHR transformative effect, one should not only consider the compliance of its decisions, but also its wider social impact. The article then describes this wider prism, again through the lens of social practice. This kind of social transformation through law does not go unchallenged. Finally, the paper considers some of the challenges to the Court´s legitimacy, again through the lens of social practice. It reconstructs the IACtHR´s mandate in light of the alleged “ultra-vires” character of some of its decisions, responds to a purported democratic deficit, and shows what guides, frames and constrains the Court, facing the critique that it “runs wild” in its legal reasoning.