In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR)

  • Introduction
  • Human Rights Protection Bodies
  • Regional Dialogue (or Cross-Fertilization) between Regional Human Rights Protection Systems
  • Control of Conventionality

International Law Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR)
Walter Arévalo-Ramírez, Andres Rousset Siri
  • LAST REVIEWED: 22 September 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 September 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199796953-0229


The Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights is a regional mechanism that has had a significant impact on the institutional framework of the State Parties to the Organization of American States (OAS), contributing to the elimination of structural human rights issues in the region. With a population of around 900 million people, the thirty-five States that comprise the OAS have accepted, to different extents, the supervising competence of its main human rights protection bodies: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). This research bibliography on the Inter-American System is organized in six sections. The first is a general overview that describes the regional legal framework, the different research approaches that doctrine has developed to study it, and the factual and statistical resources that are of special importance in such research. The second section introduces the regional protection bodies and their interaction within the Inter-American System. The third and fourth sections are dedicated to the particular analysis of each body. It begins with the Inter-American Commission, with a description of its two most relevant foci, namely, its human rights promotion tasks and its competence to receive individual petitions. It then moves to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and engages with the literature about its contentious jurisdiction—where reparations, supervision of judgments, and compliance to its judgments—along with its advisory and precautionary jurisdiction will be analyzed in greater depth. Finally, the fifth and sixth sections are dedicated to two topics of special analytical relevance and current importance: the dialogue between regional protection systems in the search for answers to common problems and finally the notion of control of conventionality as a particular and groundbreaking legal development of the system and its development within the State’s domestic law. The selected works in this bibliography are mostly available in English and Spanish (judgments of the IACtHR and reports of the Commission may be accessed in both languages) and the great majority of these texts are available without cost, digitally, online and without subscription. This research bibliography, accordingly, aims at avoiding obstacles to open research into this topic from the Global South and other latitudes.

General Overview

To outline the Inter-American System in a general way, it is relevant to refer not only to its principal treaty (the American Convention), but also to the whole group of legal instruments involved. Also, the study must include the different interpretative and research approaches from which the State-Parties and the litigants understand the System, and finally, the way in which the organs of the System produce and communicate their judgments and results thru official documentation and statistics. These three elements form the general overview.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.