Provisional measures are an instrument used by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Their purpose is to prevent irreparable harm to the rights and freedoms ensured under the American Convention on Human Rights of persons, who are in a situation of extreme gravity and urgency. The measures, ordered ex officio or at the request of a party, result in protection offered by the respondent State to alleged victims. Those can include family members of alleged victims, witnesses, journalists, political candidates, human rights defenders, members of indigenous communities, prisoners who live in deplorable conditions, the seriously ill or those on hunger strikes, officials of the justice system, aliens under orders of deportation or extradition and those sentenced to capital punishment. This does not in any way result in prejudging the merits of the matter before the Inter-American Court.
Today, interim measures have a key role in many of the cases that are brought before the Inter-American Human Rights System. Surely, neither the judges, academia, nor the international community in general had imagined the dimensions that this institution would acquire in the jurisprudence over the years. This book analyses the complete case-law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights with regard to provisional measures. It deals with the jurisdiction of the Court (ratione personae, materiae, temporis and loci) to order such measures and the admissibility questions respectively. This is followed by an analysis of the evidentiary issues, the processing of the request for provisional measures, the delay within which interim measures are usually adopted by the Court and the duration of the measures. Finally, the legal nature of the provisional measures and the legal consequences in case of incompliance by States are examined, as well as the compliance rate and the factors that may be considered the main obstacles to some measures being effective. This study attempts to exalt the work of the measures and explore responses so that they might better meet their function of protecting rights effectively. Beyond its academic value, this book hopes to have a practical utility, a social visibility. It is an invitation to each individual to get acquainted with the power that the case law of the Inter-American Court has given to the figure of interim measures measures. He or she may then use it, as a useful tool that has the virtue of avoiding the irreparable violation of rights in situations of extreme gravity and urgency.
The book has been updated until November 2009.
CLARA BURBANO HERRERA is a Research Professor of Human Rights Law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology, and Director of the Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context at Ghent University (Belgium). Prof Dr Burbano-Herrera is also guest professor at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), and the University of Pretoria (South Africa), and affiliate research professor at the University of Bergen (Norway). Previously, she was a Fulbright Senior Researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (USA), a visiting professor at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Germany), and a postdoctoral researcher of the Flanders Research Foundation (FWO) (Belgium).
Prof Dr Burbano-Herrera has broad research interests in international human rights law, comparative regional human rights systems and constitutional law. Her research lies on the intersection between international law and human rights, and relates to the role of international human rights organs in the prevention of violation of human rights, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups. She has lived and spent most of her academic life conducting socio-legal research in diverse countries.
Clara holds a PhD in Law (Ghent University), a Master after Master in Fundamental Rights, magna cum laude(University Carlos III, Spain), a Master after Master in Constitutional Law, first of the class, summa cum laude, best student award (National University of Colombia), and a Master of Laws, magna cum laude (University of Los Andes, Colombia). With her research Clara has been awarded the Dutch Prince Bernhard Price for Innovative Research.
She is co-founder and Executive member of the Inter-American Human Rights Network, co- founder of the Inter-American & European Human Rights Journal, co-founder and Director of the Programme for Studies on Human Rights in Context, and Editor-in-Chief of the Human Rights in Context Blog.
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