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State Capture through Corruption: Can Human Rights Help?

  • Jimena Reyes (a1)

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Until recently, the United Nations and regional systems of human rights protection had shown considerable reluctance to address human rights violations resulting from corruption. Instead, these actors would underline the negative impacts of corruption on human rights without identifying corruption itself as a violation of human rights. Since 2017, however, this has begun to shift. The UN, regional human rights institutions, and civil society have begun to devise concrete ways for human rights institutions and instruments to better contribute to the fight against corruption. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (“the Court”), in particular, has taken preliminary steps to establish a legal link between corruption and human rights violations.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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1 Julio Bacio Terracino, Hard Law Connections Between Corruption and Human Rights (Int'l Council on Human Rights Policy, 2007).

2 Claudio Nash Rojas, Pedro Aguiló Bascuñán & María Luisa Bascur Campos, Corrupción Y Derechos Humanos: Una Mirada Desde La Jurisprudencia De La Corte Interamericana De Derechos Humanos 129 (2014).

3 See Jimena Reyes, State Capture Through Corruption: How Can Human Rights Help? 9–19 (Human Rights Program: Harvard Law Sch., Working Paper No. HRP 19-002, 2019) (suggesting a definition for the concept of state capture through corruption that we consider more useful for human rights analysis than the concept of “grand corruption”).

4 International Federation for Human Rights et al., Mexico, Coahuila: Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity 72 (2017).

5 For a full description, see Corte IDH Cuadernillo23 | Corrupción y Derechos Humanos, Scribd (2019).

6 Comunidad Indígena Sawhoyamaxa v. Paraguay, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 146 (Mar. 29, 2006); Montero Aranguren y otros (Retén de Catia) v. Venezuela, Excepción Preliminar, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 150 (July 5, 2006); Tibi v. Ecuador, Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs, Judgment, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 114 (Sept. 7, 2004).

7 Pueblo Indígena Kichwa de Sarayaku v. Ecuador, Fondo y Reparaciones, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 245 (June 27, 2012); “Instituto de Reeducación del Menor” v. Paraguay, Excepciones Preliminares, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 112 (Sept. 2, 2004).

8 A Respeito do Brasil Asunto do Complexo Penitenciário de Curado, Medidas Provisórias, Resolução da Corte (Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. Oct. 7, 2015), Forneron e Hija v. Argentina, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 242 (Apr. 27, 2012).

9 Ramírez Escobar y otros v. Guatemala, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas, Sentencia, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 351 (Mar. 9, 2018).

10 Id.

11 Velásquez-Rodríguez v. Honduras, Merits, Reparations, and Costs, Judgment, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 04 (July 29, 1988).

12 Id. at para. 166.

13 Gonzalez y otras (“Campo Algodonero”) v. México, Mertis, Reparations, and Costs, Judgment, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 205 (Nov. 16, 2006).

15 Glenister v. President of the Republic of S. Afr. 2011 (3) SA 347 (CC) at para. 177 (S. Afr.) has made a similar link: “The state's obligation to ‘respect, protect, promote and fulfil’ the rights in the Bill of Rights thus inevitably, in the modern state, creates a duty to create efficient anti-corruption mechanisms.”

State Capture through Corruption: Can Human Rights Help?

  • Jimena Reyes (a1)

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