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Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is a judicial organ of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is autonomous and whose purpose is to apply and interpret the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties pertaining to the Inter-American System of Human Rights. The proceedings before the Court are adversarial and end with a sentence, which is final and binding for the States because of its nature as an international tribunal.

Presidential Directive No. 2 of May 11, 2005 created the Interinstitutional Operating Group (GOI), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to handle and defend cases that are before the Inter-American Human Rights System and other international bodies. The GOI is a permanent group and is made up of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice, Defense, the Army, the National Police, and the Presidential Program for Human Rights. These are fulltime officials.

The legal defense of these cases consists of tracking these closely from the time that the State is notified of their existence, requesting the relevant information from the entities to present the State’s observations during the stage of admissibility and merit before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as well as developing the technical defense and filing this before the IACHR; studying the feasibility of an amicable settlement or an admission of liability, and presenting options, advantages and disadvantages before the corresponding decision-making entities; following up on the recommendations if the Commission decides to make a report under Article 50 and Article 51 of the American Convention on Human Rights; and acting as the defense for the State in coordination with the support and advice of State agents when a case reaches the Inter-American Court.