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Inter-American Human Rights System: Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Created by the Pact of San José, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has the purpose of evaluate cases of human rights violations occurring in countries that are part of the Organization of American States (OAS), that recognize their competence.

The Court is composed by seven judges elected by the General Assembly of the OAS, among persons of high moral authority and with recognized knowledge in terms of human rights. The candidates integrate a list of names proposed by the governments of the Member States.

In the case of Brazil, the country began to recognize the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 1998. Among the members of the Inter-American Court are the Brazilian professor Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, who has already presided over it. No more than one national of the same country may form part of the Court.

The Court is an autonomous judicial body, based in Costa Rica, whose purpose is to apply and interpret the American Convention on Human Rights and other human rights treaties. It basically examines the cases of suspicion that the Member States have violated a right or freedom protected by the Convention.

It is worth mentioning that the Public Defender's Office has the institutional function of representing and postulating the demands before international bodies, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This determination is foreseen in article 4, item VI, of Complementary Law 80/94, with the wording given by LC 132/09 (representing the international systems of human rights protection, postulating before its organs).

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