For what will most likely be my last “Spring Break” ever, I decided to take an amazing trip down to Costa Rica to visit dear friends and a beautiful country. While in Costa Rica, I stayed with a student who went to law school with me, Fernanda Parra Chico. After law school and passing the bar, Fernanda took on an internship at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. As part of my trip, I was able to spend some time at the Court and with the interns and attorneys. Needless to say, the Court is an amazing and beautiful place, and it also does amazing work in bringing light and force to human rights issues around the world.
Emily Gonzalez (3L) & Fernanda Parra Chico (Graduate), Seattle University School of Law
If fighting for International Human Rights was what drove you to attend law school, this is just a reminder that there are opportunities out there for you and great work to be done! If you are interested in becoming an intern at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, you can visit: http://www.corteidh.or.cr/pasantias.cfm.
One recent case which showcases some of the Court’s amazing work is Campo Algodonero v. Mexico. In that case, the Court found that Mexico violated the American Convention of Human Rights for failing to effectively investigate, prosecute, and prevent the murders of Claudia Ivette Gonzalez, Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, and Laura Berenice Ramos Monarrez. In this case, the Court established jurisdiction to hold Mexico accountable for violations of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradiction of Violence Again Women, which Mexico ratified in 1998.
The case was a response to the murders and disappearances of many women and girls in Ciudad Juarez. In these cases, the Mexican government failed to investigate, prosecute, or prevent the crimes. The lack of enforcement by the Mexican government created impunity and gender-based violence against women and girls in Ciudad Juarez. The Court was able to hold Mexico internationally accountable for its failure to enforce law, prevent, or investigate the slaying of many women. The Court also recognized that this gender-specific violence against women was a form of “Femicide”: women and girls were being murdered solely because of their gender.
On December 10, 2009, the Court found Mexico in violation of the American Convention of Human Rights. Mexico was ordered to comply with a broad set of remedial measures, which included a national memorial, renewed investigations, and payment of $200,000 to each of the families involved in the suit.
Other decisions from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights can be found at: http://www.corteidh.or.cr/casos.cfm?&CFID=182682&CFTOKEN=70148985.
Don’t forget about amazing opportunities to be involved in International Human Rights Law! If this is your passion, go for it! There is amazing work to be done, and millions of people out there are waiting for you.