Using Transparency to Strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights System

05 Jun 2017

During the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from June 19 to 21, member states will elect three new Commissioners to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The six nominated candidates are being evaluated by an Independent Panel for the Election of Inter-American Commissioners, composed of five renowned academics with recognized expertise in human rights and the Inter American System —Nienke Grossman (United States), Miguel Gutiérrez (Costa Rica), Cecilia Medina (Chile), Elizabeth Salmón (Peru), and Miguel Sarre (Mexico). Medina, who formerly served as president of both the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee, served on the same panel two years ago, when it was first convened to monitor the 2015 elections to the IACHR and Inter-American Court.

Established as an independent entity, the 2017 Panel was convened by the Center for Justice and International Law, the Due Process of Law Foundation, and the Open Society Justice Initiative, with the support of a wide range of NGOs, universities, and bar associations throughout the region. At this event, the Panel will present its final report, which assesses the candidates and makes recommendations for how to improve the transparency and visibility of the election process.



  • Nienke Grossman is an Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Her recent scholarship examines the causes of and possible solutions for the paucity of women judges on international courts and tribunals, and she is co-editing a forthcoming book on legitimacy and international courts (Cambridge University Press). Professor Grossman has served as a legal advisor to Latin American states in cases before the International Court of Justice and has advised petitioners in cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  • Miguel Gutiérrez holds a Ph.D. in Education with specialization in pedagogical mediation from Universidad de la Salle (2006). He studied philosophy and theology at the Major Seminary of the Dioceses of Choluteca for two years (1966-1967) in Honduras. In addition, he was awarded a fellowship from the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Moreover, he is the facilitator for the process of National Dialogue with all the political parties represented in Costa Rica’s parliament. He is the founder and was, from 1994 to 2014, the director of the Programa Estado de la Nación.
  • Elizabeth Salmón is an Associate Professor of International Law at Pontifica Catholic University of Peru School of Law and Director of its Institute of Democracy and Human Rights, and the Master's Degree Program in Human Rights. She holds a Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Seville, Spain. She is the author of several publications on public international law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law and transitional justice. She has been a consultant in the Peruvian Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defense, as well as the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She has also consulted for the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • Miguel Sarre is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM). He was a member of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (2007-2014). He holds an LL.M. degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the Escuela Libre de Derecho from Mexico City. He was promoter of the institution of the ombudsman in Mexico and was the first one to occupy the position of ombudsperson in the country. Later, he served as Third General Visitor and Technical Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico.



  • Viviana Krsticevic is the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

Opening and Closing Remarks


  • Liliana Gamboa is an advocacy officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative, where she engages in advocacy across the Justice Initiative’s areas of work.
  • Katya Salazar is the Executive Director of the Due Process of Law Foundation.


Date: Monday, June 5, 2017

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: Open Society Foundations–Washington, D.C.

1730 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006

Sponsored by: Center for Justice and International Law * Due Process of Law Foundation * Open Society Justice Initiative


RSVP Required: Please contact Liliana Gamboa at

Lunch will be served.