Faced with insurgencies and situations of internal armed conflict in a number of Organization of American States (OAS) member states, some states called upon the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to take into account the operations of irregular armed groups when assessing the situation of human rights in their countries. The IACHR responded that only assessment of state actions had been included within its mandate and that the OAS member states should amend the IACHR's Statute if they wished to expand its mandate. The OAS member states failed to do so. In 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons, set forth its view on the relationship between international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL). In 1997, following the ICJ's Opinion, the IACHR began to apply IHL as the lex specialis in its assessments of the situation of IHRL and IHL to cases involving situations of armed conflict and continued to do so until the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) declared the IACHR incompetent to apply IHL. This article submits that the IACtHR erred in its judgment on the Preliminary Objections in Las Palmeras v. Colombia.
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