The Right to the Truth as an Autonomous Right Under the Interamerican Human Rights System

Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor

Abstract

The evolution of Inter-American Court case law and the advances made by international bodies and instruments, as well as those in domestic legislation, clearly reveal that the right to the truth is now recognized as an autonomous and independent right. Although this right is not expressly included in the American Convention, it does not prevent the Inter-American Court from being able to examine any alleged violation of this right, and declaring that it has been violated, according to Article 29 of the Pact of San José. The author of this opinion considers that although the right to the truth is mainly related to the right of access to justice derived from Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention, it should not necessarily remain subsumed in the examination of the other violations of the rights to the judicial guarantees and judicial protection that were declared in a case because this understanding encourages the distortion of the essence and intrinsic content of each right. The author considers that the Inter-American Court should reconsider its criteria regarding the fact that the right to the truth is necessarily “subsumed” in the victims’ and their families’ right to have the competent State bodies elucidate the violations and corresponding responsibilities, in order to proceed, when appropriate, to declare its violation as an autonomous and independent right. This would clarify the content, dimensions and true scope of the right to know the truth.

Keywords

Right to the Truth; Forced Disappearance of Persons; Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Inter-American Human Rights System.

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