Remedial Approaches to Human Rights Violations: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Beyond

69 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009

Date Written: July 7, 2008


A sustained reflection upon remedial obligations and possibilities is particularly necessary at this juncture in the development of international law, where important mechanisms with reparative functions have recently sprung up around the world: the International Criminal Court, the African Court of Human Rights, and several national schemes, as a result of proliferating transitional justice initiatives. This Article argues for a remedial model that emphasizes the restorative measures of satisfaction and rehabilitation, as well as general assurances of non-repetition. The work first examines the case law of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the only international human rights body with binding powers that has consistently ordered equitable remedies in conjunction with compensation. The Article next considers the strengths and limitations of the Inter-American Tribunal's unique reparative approach, which has been neglected in the literature despite significant evolution in recent years. The following section attempts to refine the Court's normative model by proposing a "participative" methodology, consisting in procedural reforms, to calibrate remedies more precisely to a victim's situation and necessities. Finally, the work discusses how the Court's victim-conscious balance of non-monetary orders and economic compensation, which has revamped standards for redress in international law, should be incorporated to a greater extent into the remedial approaches of other international courts and domestic institutions.

Keywords: human rights, remedies, reparations, transitional justice, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, international law, restorative justice, victim's rights, Inter-American System, Latin America

Suggested Citation

Antkowiak, Thomas M., Remedial Approaches to Human Rights Violations: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Beyond (July 7, 2008). Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Thomas M. Antkowiak (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States


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