New York, April 1, 2019.— An independent expert panel will assess the national nominees standing this June for election to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), in a continuing effort by civil society groups to promote a more transparent selection process for the influential regional human rights body.
This year, four new commissioners will be chosen from six candidates during the general assembly of the Organization of American States, which will be held in Medellin, Colombia, from June 26 to 28.
The candidates are:
Margarette May Macaulay (Jamaica)*
Esmeralda Arosemena de Trotiño (Panamá)*
Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana (Guatemala)
Eduardo Rodriguez Veltzé (Bolivia)
Everth Bustamante García (Colombia)
Julissa Mantilla Falcón (Peru)
The review by the independent expert panel is part of an effort first launched in 2015 to shed more light on a selection process that continues to lack transparency, while offering an independent assessment of the candidates standing for election.
The 2019 panel is composed of four renowned jurists and academics from the regional human rights community: Mariclaire Acosta, Carlos Ayala, Catalina Botero, Juan Mendez, and Judith Schönsteiner.
For the second year running, the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law of the American University’s Washington College of Law will serve as the secretariat for the panel. The panel’s deliberations, analysis, and conclusions—which are independent from the convening and endorsing organizations—will be included in a report to be released at the end of May.
Although the Organization of American States passed resolutions calling for the public presentation of candidates to the commission and court, it has yet to appoint an independent advisory committee to provide competent, fair, and independent assessments of all nominees.
Such bodies exist to monitor selection processes to other leading international courts, including the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.
Established in 1979, the Inter-American Court is tasked with safeguarding the rights guaranteed in the American Convention on Human Rights through its judgments, advisory opinions, and provisional measures. Together with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the court has played a major role in the protection of human rights across the region and helped shape the development of international human rights law around the world.
This year’s panel has again been convened by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Due Process of Law Foundation, and the Center for Justice and International Law, with the support of many NGOs, universities, and bar associations throughout the region.
These organizations share a common commitment to strengthening the Inter-American human rights system through the principle of fair, transparent, and inclusive elections, and through the nomination of qualified and independent candidates.