In Search of the Standards of Proof Applied by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Revista Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, Vol. 55, 2012, pp. 57-102
46 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2011 Last revised: 3 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 7, 2011
Domestic courts, especially in the common law system, explicitly use different standards of proof, which will guide them when determining whether some hypothesis of a case is proven. These standards also exist in international adjudication, even if not as clear-cut as in domestic jurisdictions. In the case of the Inter-American tribunal, it has neither been given a standard of proof nor has it set one on its own accord. Nevertheless, the practice of the Court reveals some trends in this matter, despite not yet being very systematic. This paper will endeavor to analyze different cases of the Inter-American tribunal and describe the way in which this court proceeds. When doing so it will also make reference to a misunderstanding provoked by an incorrect translation of the Court’s case law, and to what could be called a deductive reasoning for proving human rights violations. This paper will conclude that the Court applies different standards of proof for different matters, but that it generally utilizes a standard of preponderance of evidence.
Keywords: Standard of Proof, Evidence, Prima Facie Evidence, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
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