1 Introduction, IV The Book’s Structure and Methodology
Thomas M. Antkowiak, Alejandra Gonza
The following chapters examine each Convention right named above: the rights to equality, life, humane treatment, personal liberty, property, due process, and judicial protection, as well as freedom of expression and reparations. Although we have focused on those aspects of the Convention that have been most analyzed to date, there are still many gaps in the Inter-American jurisprudence, nearly five decades after the Convention’s adoption. (p. 28) By 1996, for example, the Court had fewer than 10 rulings on the merits. Further, its judgments, although lengthy, frequently lack in-depth conceptual development, a deficiency that often has constrained this book’s analysis. Currently, however, with over 300 judgments on contentious cases and over 20 advisory opinions, the Tribunal’s work has reached a critical mass.
Each chapter generally consists of the following: (1) an Introduction to compare the right’s formulation with equivalent rights in other major international and regional treaties; (2) a Background section to consider the right’s negotiation history; (3) a Scope of Protection section to analyze the right’s provisions, paragraph by paragraph or topic by topic; and (4) a Limitations section, if applicable, to study any limitations to the right. The assessment centers on the judgments, advisory opinions, and other decisions of the Inter-American Court—the ultimate authority on the American Convention. The Inter-American Commission’s relevant reports, published decisions, and other documents are also considered, especially with respect to issues that have not been addressed by the Court. At times, focused references are made to the decisions of other influential human rights authorities, such as the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Committee, to draw significant comparisons and contrasts.