Pandemic governance and enforcement mechanisms in the context of international human rights law: The case of the procedure for monitoring compliance with decisions at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Covid-19 pandemic has put into question important tenets of constitutional democracies. Separation of powers has taken a secondary role in Latin American states legislating within emergency powers. At the regional level, courts and tribunals, have balanced rights of the individual against ensuring the right to health and well-being of the majorities. Velez Loor v. Panama at the IACtHR presents a novel lens to examine courts’ continuing interest in balancing rights and enforcing its judgments in the context of the pandemic. The Court made use of its powers for monitoring compliance with its earlier decisions in the case to ensure Panamanian detention centres met sanitary standards that helped combat the Covid-19 pandemic. What effect should this judgment have on our faith in monitoring compliance with decisions at the Court? Can such enforcements of decisions lead to novel responses to public law issues in the pandemic? The paper uses Velez Loor v Panama to explore these questions.