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This book describes and analyzes the structure, procedure, practice and emerging jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The form and functions of the Court are considered in the context of the Inter-American system as a whole, and the development of its contentious and advisory jurisdictions is discussed in detail. Particular attention is devoted to the Court's present contribution to the corpus of international human rights law, in which parallels are drawn with other analogous institutions where appropriate. Finally, an attempt is made to identify the ideological assumptions which influence the Court's emerging jurisprudence and an assessment is made of the Court's future prospects. While the structure of the court and its jurisprudence lie broadly within traditional concepts of international human rights law, there are certain distinctive features which emanate from the geo-political and socio-economic context within which the Court functions. These factors are considered as an integral part of the work.