Document Type


Publication Date

January 2014

First Page



The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), together with its companion body, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), are autonomous organs of the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR promotes and protects human rights in the Western Hemisphere. Created by the OAS in 1959, the Commission has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Together with the Court, established in 1979 in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Commission has emerged as a model of international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as of individual rights.Since its inception, the Commission has made extraordinary progress. Through its 55-year history, it has processed over 12,000 cases. The Commission has held almost 140 sessions, some of them at its headquarters, others in different countries of the Americas. For a special report on the Commission, the Perry Center Publications Editor-in-Chief Pat Paterson met with Professor Richard Wilson, Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law, to discuss the most important cases or reports in the history of the Commission. Professor Wilson, a frequent lecturer at the Perry Center, is a longtime observer of the Commission and Court, where he and his students have presented more than 30 cases. Of the thousands of cases and reports of the Commission, Professor Wilson selected a few that he thought were especially important or influential, especially those at the intersection of the international law of human rights and armed conflic