Expanding the Boundaries of International Human Rights Law. The Systemic Approach of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter- American Court of Human Rights has developed an interpretative approach in recent years that considers all international instruments that deliver protection to human beings as part of the same legal system, that is, the corpus juris of international human rights law. Consequently, different branches of international law, such as international humanitarian law, refugee law, consular relations and – of course – human rights law, have been interpreted and implemented as part of the same undivided and unique legal system that provides protection to individuals against arbitrariness and potential abuses attributable to States. This paper critically analyzes and deconstructs the interpretative methods used by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in its contentious and advisory jurisdictions. It focuses on how this Court has broadened or expanded the scope of protection afforded in international human rights instruments and norms by interpreting them in light of the principle pro homine, which places the human person at the centre of international law. In this sense, this paper endeavours to contribute to a better understanding of international human rights law by means of unveiling the interpretative steps taken by the Inter-American Court in its efforts towards the humanization of contemporary international law.

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