University of Miami Inter-American Law Review


Costa Rica has for many years been deeply and genuinely committed to the worldwide rule of law and, in particular, to the protection of human rights through the inter-American legal system and to the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

In the year 2000 Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber declared unconstitutional the country’s program of in-vitro fertilization, primarily because the program violated the right to life as guaranteed by the national Constitution and by international conventions, in that the in-vitro fertilization process exposed large numbers of embryos to death, as only a very small percentage of in-vitro fertilizations resulted in live births.

The following year a Costa Rican citizen brought proceedings against his country before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that the decision of the Constitutional Chamber violated the right of privacy, the right to raise a family, and other rights guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission agreed with the complainant, and, after unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a change in Costa Rica’s policy, referred the matter to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

In 2012, the Inter-American Court, by vote of five-to-one, decided that the 2000 decision of Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber was a violation by Costa Rica of the American Convention on Human Rights.

The work that follows analyzes and evaluates the decisions of the Constitutional Chamber and the Inter-American Court, and discusses the juridical aftermath of those decisions.