Training defenders before Inter-American Court of Human Rights
News from the Field, 06 June 2012
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently underwent extensive reform, including new rules of procedure to improve victims’ access to legal representation. The new rules facilitate procedural equality between parties, increase transparency, and advance more consolidated participation by the alleged victims. Those without access to legal representation are represented by pro bono justice professionals rather than, as before, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or by civil society organizations with specific agendas.
Against this background, UNDEF funds a project to train justice professionals to litigate before the Court. Implemented by the Human Rights Centre of the Law School at the University of Chile, the project enables professionals to act as Inter-American defenders, offering training, procedural manuals, and ongoing support. So far 60 the project has trained 60 professionals, with continuing advice from the Human Rights Centre; published a manual of the Inter-American System’s new rules of procedure; and conducted a study assessing more than 500 cases of victims’ legal representation, by evaluating the access to justice within the system, its relationship with the levels of transparency, and access to information.