Judicial Dialogue Between National Courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: A Comparative Study of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico

ABSTRACT

This article discusses the dialogue between the Supreme Courts of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico and the Constitutional Court of Colombia with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It assesses the impact of the following variables on this judicial dialogue: the hierarchy and direct effect of human rights treaties, consistent interpretation with international law and judicial postures related to international law. The article develops an analysis of each court’s leading cases and discusses whether and how these variables have contributed to dialogue and whether it is possible to identify common patterns in these four countries’ relations with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). We argue that the constitutional status of human rights treaties, the use of the American Convention on Human Rights to control the conventionality of domestic law, the application of the principle of consistent interpretation and a posture of convergence or engagement with international law lead domestic courts to acknowledge an obligation to follow or, at least, consider IACtHR jurisprudence.