The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and its Control over National Practices Concerning Serious Human Rights Violations: Developments, Challenges, and Prospects

In 2001, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) was the first court at the international level that found national legislation, namely, self-amnesty laws on serious violations of human rights, to be null and void. This seminal development was lauded by human rights practitioners and scholars alike. However, subsequent national reactions to the decisions of the IACtHR have shown that such a supra-national control has faced a number of legitimacy and legal challenges across Latin-America. Against this background, the present study examines how the IACtHR has exercised and should exercise its authority over national legislation ((self-)amnesty laws) and/or executive power practices (presidential pardons) that blocked judicial cases of serious human rights violations (Peru, Chile, Brazil), including contexts of referendum (Uruguay) and transitional justice and/or peace-making efforts (Colombia, El Salvador).