Using Transparency to Strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System

The Initiative on Transparency and Election Monitoring sought to strengthen the standards, transparency, and engagement of civil society in the election of judges and commissioners in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The project advanced civil society's efforts to improve the nomination/election process of commissioners and judges, and strengthened the ability of these institutions to promote and protect peoples’ rights by supporting a third Independent Panel for the Election of Inter-American Human Rights Judges.

To view the 2018 final report in Spanish, click here.
To view the 2018 final report in English, click here

Since 2015, as part of an ongoing effort to increase the transparency and visibility of the nomination and elections process for regional human rights commissioners and judges, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Due Process of Law Foundation, and the Center for Justice and International Law have convened an independent panel of experts to evaluate the qualifications for service the candidates who have applied to serve as commissioners and judges for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights. With the support of numerous NGOs, universities, and bar associations throughout the region, these organizations share a common commitment to strengthening the Inter-American human rights system through the principle of fair, transparent, and inclusive elections, and through the nomination of qualified and independent candidates.  

The General Assembly’s passage of resolution AG/RES.2908 (XLVII-O/17) in July 2017 is an important step forward for the region. In response to the resolution’s call for a more transparent, merit-based elections process, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the International Commission of Jurists released a report, Strengthening From Within: Law and Practice in the Nomination of Human Right Judges and Commissioners. Available in French, English, and Spanish, this report examines the nomination practices of 22 countries across the regional human rights systems of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. It documents how nomination procedures often fall short of the legal frameworks that should guide them, and offers concrete recommendations for improvement grounded in experience.


This year, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law supported the work of the Independent Panel by serving as its Secretariat. On May 31, 2018, the Panel launched a report, which includes the panel’s deliberations, analysis, and conclusions. 

The 2018 panel is composed of four internationally renowned human rights expert listed below: 

Meet the Panel of Experts

Current and Previous Reports

Reports and Articles on Elections and Transparency

Relevant Resolutions and Guidelines

Comparative Approaches to Nomination and Election