The IACHR elects officERS and begins its
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began its 117th
regular sessions. This being
the first period of sessions of 2003, pursuant to its Rules of Procedure
the IACHR renewed its board of officers as follows:
Dr. Marta Altolaguirre, President; Dr. José Zalaquett, First
Vice-President; and Dr. Clare K. Roberts, Second Vice-President.
Other members of the IACHR are Professor Robert K. Goldman, Dr.
Juan E. Mendez, Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo, and Dr. Susana Villarán; the
Executive Secretary of the IACHR is Dr. Santiago A. Canton.
Dr. Altolaguirre succeeds Dr.
Méndez, who completed his yearlong mandate as President.
President Marta Altolaguirre, a Guatemalan, has been a member of
the Commission since January 2000. Her
specific responsibilities in the IACHR include her work as Rapporteur for
the rights of women. Dr.
Altolaguirre, an attorney and notary, was a member of the Council of the
Office of the Public Prosecutor of her country.
She was also the Chair of the Presidential Commission of Human
Rights in Guatemala (COPREDEH) and represented Guatemala in this capacity
in the Inter-American human rights system and in organs concerned with
human rights in the United Nations system.
First Vice-President José Zalaquett, a Chilean, is well known as a
jurist and professor of human rights.
His background includes teaching in numerous universities in the
Hemisphere, particularly in Chile and the United States of America.
He has held executive posts in various human rights organizations
and organizations concerned with international humanitarian law and
international relations; of particular note are the Vicaría
de la Solidaridad of Chile and, at the international level, Amnesty
International, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Center for
4. Dr. Clare K.
Roberts, Second Vice-President of the Inter-American Commission, is a
citizen of Antigua and Barbuda. The
legal experience of Dr. Roberts includes having held senior positions in
his country, such as Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal
Affairs between 1994 and 1997. He
has been an international legal consultant for several public and private
organizations, and he is also a Member of the International Bar
Association and the Inter-American Bar Association, as well as an
Associate Member of the American Bar Association.
5. The IACHR is the principal organ under the Charter of the OAS, with responsibility for ensuring respect for human rights in all states of the American continent. It is comprised of seven jurists, independent experts, who are elected in their individual capacities by the member states of the Organization. During its period of sessions, the Commission will consider draft reports on human rights violations in the procedural stages of admissibility, merits, friendly settlement, and complaints filed with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The IACHR will also review human rights situations in various member states of the OAS and will hold 55 hearings with individual petitioners and state representatives.
Washington, D.C., February 26, 2003