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Parting ways or lashing back? Withdrawals, backlash and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2018

Ximena Soley*
Affiliation:
Research fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
Silvia Steininger
Affiliation:
Research fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: soley@mpil.de

Abstract

This paper will analyse instances and threats of withdrawal from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) in order to assess whether those cases can be qualified as backlash. Backlash often serves as an umbrella term for any form of disagreement, hence we differentiate ‘backlash’ from closely connected concepts such as ‘contestation’ and ‘resistance’. In the empirical part of this paper, we examine four cases of withdrawal from the IACtHR or threats thereof, namely Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela. The case-studies revealed that the criticism against the IACtHR is fuelled by a combination of three conditions, namely costs of membership, the domestic political system and the domestic impact of the judgments. Ultimately, the specific framework of the IACtHR allows innovative starting points to manage state discontent, in particular the two-tiered structure, the alliance with civil society and the presence of compliance partners within the state.

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Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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