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Litigation within the Inter-American System
Litigation before the Inter-American System (IAS) is the most well-known area of CEJIL’s work. CEJIL provides free legal representation to the victims of human rights abuses as they seek to uncover truth and obtain justice and reparation when facing regional human rights bodies. This is achieved through the strategic use of tools offered by international human rights law.
CEJIL’s legal defense strategy is characterized by its cooperative litigation model. CEJIL's experience in international law is complemented by collaborating on equal terms with human rights defenders and civil society organizations. Through these interactions CEJIL maintains a keen awareness of the realities faced by the people whose rights it defends, while ensuring that their voices are heard beyond their national borders. CEJIL and the co-petitioners also recognize the central role of the victims and work actively with them to define case objectives, identify reparation measures, and facilitate their continued involvement in case proceedings, including events such as case hearings and negotiations.
CEJIL’s litigation focuses on emblematic cases with the potential to generate institutional changes that prevent or eliminate patterns of systemic human rights abuse. CEJIL prioritizes the hemisphere’s most excluded and persecuted groups and sectors, including: women, rural workers, immigrants, refugees or displaced persons, children, indigenous peoples, prisoners and political dissidents. CEJIL also pays special attention to human rights defenders who suffer threats and/or violence due to the work they perform.
Through its staff of international human rights law experts, CEJIL employs innovative legal arguments in each of its cases. The organization’s litigation work generates decisions and judgments that set doctrinal and jurisprudential precedents that strengthen and solidify international human rights standards. CEJIL also makes ongoing efforts to achieve the full implementation of decisions issued by the Inter-American Commission and Court.
Among other achievements, CEJIL’s litigation has resulted in the payment of monetary reparations, the reopening of investigations and cases that were mired in impunity, public apologies and recognitions of responsibility, the modification of laws and State practices and the formulation of public policies consistent with international obligations.