The application of international humanitarian law by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
31-12-2001 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 844, by Fanny Martin
Does the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has the authority to apply international humanitarian law in a case before it? The author examines a recent decision where the Court concludes that it has no power to apply rules other than the American Convention on Human Rights and general international law (Las Palmeras case). This decision overturns the position taken by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights which concluded that international humanitarian law must be refered to insofar as human rights law does not satisfactorily answer the problem. The article examines the pros and cons of the question, with ample reference to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights.