Eolo Margaroli y Josefina Ghiringhelli de Margaroli v. Argentina, Case 11.400, Report Nº 104/99, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.106 Doc. 3 rev. at 76 (1999).
On October 31, 1994, the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (hereinafter “the Commission,” “the Inter-American Commission,”
or “the IACHR”) received a petition from Josefina Ghiringhelli de
Margaroli and Eolo Margaroli (hereinafter “the petitioners”) accusing
the Argentine Republic (hereinafter “the State,” “the Argentine State,”
or “Argentina”) of having violated the following rights protected
by the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American
Convention” or “the Convention”): the right to a fair trial (Article
8(1) and the right to property (Article 21).
The petitioners state that they are the owners of real property
in Argentina’s Federal Capital, on which they began the construction
of an eight-story building for which the plans were approved by the
municipal authorities. A street-widening ordinance issued in 1979
affected the front of the property, requiring the demolition of the
unfinished building and making the sale of the planned commercial
units impossible. In 1981 the owners began an “inverse or irregular”
expropriation action against the Municipality of Buenos Aires and,
in 1985, they obtained a final ruling in their favor. The petitioners
also claim that once execution of the sentence began, they received
the first payment in July 1985 and the municipality registered the
law suit in order to protect the unembargoable and unavailable status
of the land in question. After several formalities, a new ordinance
in 1989 declared the property unencumbered; it also reserved, in the
municipality’s favor, the right to recuperate what it had previously
paid. The petitioners challenged this measure in the courts, on the
grounds of the economic harm caused by the unavailability of their
property. They obtained a favorable ruling on appeal, which was then
overturned by the Supreme Court of Justice on April 12, 1994, with
the chief argument that the Appeals Court had violated the principle
The State recognizes that in accordance with international
law, the petitioners have pursued and exhausted the available domestic
remedies. However, the State claims that in their submission, the
petitioners argue “the unconstitutionality of Article 29 of Law Nº
21.499 (the Expropriation Law) and of Municipal Ordinance Nº 43.529/89
which unencumbered the property. This claim was not made before the
domestic courts and, consequently, with regard to it the domestic
remedies have not been exhausted.” It also claims that to exhaust
this through the domestic courts, the petitioners should have filed
an extraordinary remedy before the Supreme Court challenging the validity
of those laws. In addition, the State requests that this case be declared
inadmissible because it believes that the substance of the petitioners’
allegations undermines neither the right to property nor the judicial
guarantees set forth in the Convention.
In examining the admissibility of this case, the Commission
concluded that it is competent to hear it and that the petition is
admissible, pursuant to Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION
On October 31, 1994, the Commission received a petition from
Eolo Margaroli and his wife, Josefina Ghiringhelli de Margaroli, accusing
the Argentine State of violating Articles 8 and 21 of the American
Convention on Human Rights, dealing with the right to a fair trial
and the right to property, respectively.
The Argentine State replied on May 4, 1995, that the change
in the principal element (from the declaration of eminent domain to
its suppression) led to a change in the accessory element, which the
petitioners do not accept. Consequently, there was no violation of
the right to property. In that same communication, the State said
that the petitioners have had access to every judicial instance for
voicing their claims. The petitioners submitted several replies to
this communication between June 28, 1995, and January 20, 1999.
On July 25, 1995, the petitioners submitted the amicus
curiae opinion of Dr. Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni, which maintains
that the State violated Article 21 of the Convention. On August 7,
1995, the petitioners asked the Commission to begin friendly settlement
proceedings. On September 7, 1995, a hearing was held during the Commission’s
90th regular period of sessions. On September 13, 1995, the Commission
made itself available to the parties with a view toward a friendly
settlement, under Article 48(1) of the Convention and Articles 45(1)
and 45(2) of its Regulations. After two consecutive 30-day extensions,
on December 5, 1995, the State reported that it was unable to consider
the friendly settlement proposal. On March 5, 1996, the petitioners
asked the Commission to proceed with the formalities indicated in
Article 50 of the Convention.
On November 2, 1997, the petitioners stated that after failing
to obtain a response to the friendly settlement proposal, processing
of the case in accordance with the Convention and the Regulations
should continue. On November 30, 1997, the State sent a reply expressing
its thanks for the offer of friendly settlement and noting that the
Argentine Republic could not “analyze and consider the friendly settlement
proposal.” Finally, on December 3, 1997, the Commission recorded the
termination of the friendly settlement process. The parties later
submitted additional information.
III. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The petitioners claim they are the owners of real property
located at Calle Raulet Nº 113/115/117, in Buenos Aires, upon which
they decided to build an eight-story building; the plans for this
were approved by the Municipality of Buenos Aires in 1977. Construction
work reached as far as the fourth floor of the building.
In early 1979, the city of Buenos Aires enacted Municipal Ordinance
Nº 34.778/79, containing a general project for urban planning and
traffic management that affected several streets by removing the fronts
of property adjacent to them, including Calle Raulet. The petitioners’
property located on that street was affected by the removal of a six-meter
strip of its street front. This ordinance, in accordance with the
Urban Planning Code, reduced the petitioners’ surface available for
construction to 157.06 m2, i.e., by 88.63 percent. It also
reduced the value of their real estate, making it impossible for them
to sell the units and apartments at the market price.
The petitioners allege that the removal of the strip led to
a widening of the street, forcing them to demolish most of the completed
construction because, since it was a single structure, it could not
be modified without compromising the stability of the entire building.
Therefore, in 1981, the petitioners filed a “total, inverse, or irregular
expropriation” lawsuit against the Buenos Aires municipal government
before Civil Court Nº 27 in the federal capital.
A ruling handed down on June 11, 1984, accepted part of the
irregular expropriation sought and fixed amounts to be paid by the
municipality as compensation for the expropriation and as direct damages.
These payments were to be made within a period of 30 days.
Both parties appealed against this ruling and, on April 22,
1985, a ruling from Court D of the National Civil Appeals Chamber
in the capital upheld the first-instance decision and increased the
amounts to be paid as compensation. The appellate ruling also ordered:
(1) restitution for the expropriated strip (partial expropriation);
and (2) restitution of the direct damages caused; i.e., paying for
the total clearance of the section of land not expropriated, with
the demolition of the building and the removal of its foundations.
To this end, the court granted the Municipality of Buenos Aires a
period of 45 days to carry out this work or, alternatively, to pay
the owners the necessary costs. Said payment was to be made 30 days
after the ruling had become final. The municipality failed to make
a correct appeal on time, and so the ruling became final. In late
1985, the municipality made payment for the strip of land affected
by the expropriation ordinance and began to carry out the terms of
The petitioners subsequently submitted the final bill for the
delays that arose in the payment of the expropriated strip. The municipality
deposited the corresponding check and asked for possession of the
expropriated land. The petitioners refused, since the demolition ordered
in the sentence had not been carried out.
After a time, in order to secure possession, the Municipality
of Buenos Aires began steps in accordance with the option of paying
the cost of clearing the nonexpropriated land and asked the petitioners
to submit the invoice for the demolition costs, in compliance with
the obligation regarding paying for demolition costs set down in the
Appeals Chamber’s ruling. This invoice was finalized on March 14,
1989, with which, according to the petitioners, “implementation of
the sentence was concluded.” According to the ruling of the Civil
Chamber, in order to clear the land, the municipality had to deposit
the amount of the final invoice within 30 days--i.e., before April
28, 1989--or be in a state of legal default.
The alleged violation of the right to a fair trial (Article
On April 20, 1989, the municipal executive and council enacted
Ordinance Nº 43.529/89 in order to remove the encumbrance on Calle
Raulet that had been imposed by Ordinance Nº 34.778/79, which had
modified the frontage of several streets and which gave rise to the
expropriation suit between the petitioners and the municipality. This
new ordinance revoked the declaration of eminent domain and, consequently,
the expropriation that had been ordered, by canceling the removal
of frontage on Calle Raulet.
On April 28, 1989, the last day for the municipality to pay
the demolition costs, the municipal authorities refused to cover the
amount paid for clearing the land, arguing that the new ordinance
constituted “an extinguishment of the obligation.” It also argued
that the expropriation had not been concluded because possession had
not been surrendered. The petitioners claim that the municipality’s
attitude constitutes an application of the principle of estoppel,
“in that by taking actions it places the agent under the obligation
of taking steps actions toward performance of the actions required.
This is then turned around when the same body carries out a contrary
action (the ordinance) for noncompliance with the consequences of
the first action.”
The petitioners state that the new ordinance was published
in the Municipal Bulletin on May 9, 1989. They hold that the rule
did not exist when it was invoked by the municipality; it was therefore
void of all legal effect since the period allotted for payment of
the demolition costs expired on April 28, 1989. The rule that the
municipality used to excuse itself from that payment was published
11 days later, on May 9, 1989, and began to have legal effect (juridical
existence) on the eighth day following publication: May 17, 1989./
They also claim that the ordinance was enacted with the sole
purpose of avoiding compliance with the final judicial ruling requiring
the municipality to pay the cost of demolishing the building, which
had already become res judicata. On August
2, 1989, a first-instance ruling was handed down, upholding the extinguishment--i.e.,
the new ordinance that revoked the declaration of eminent domain--and,
consequently, canceling the expropriation. The petitioners filed an
appeal against this decision and, on June 11, 1991, obtained a ruling
from Court D of the National Civil Appeals Chamber upholding the principle
of res judicata
and thus overturning the first-instance ruling.
In light of this, the municipality filed a remedy of fact before
the Supreme Court. Ruling on April 12, 1994, the Supreme Court upheld
the municipality’s appeal and thus overturned the final, res
judicata ruling of April
22, 1985. It also validated the nonexistent ordinance and made it
retroactive, when it did not meet the conditions needed for such an
Moreover, it ordered the petitioners to pay the costs of the action,
which they see as being a further violation of the terms of the law./
They thus hold that the violation of Article 8(1) of the Convention
arose from the ruling of the Argentine Supreme Court, which did not
respect res judicata and left the
petitioners in a clear situation of legal insecurity. They also hold
that the right to a fair trial was undermined by the State’s delay
in reaching a legal solution, thereby violating their right to a hearing
within a reasonable time.
They similarly maintain that the ruling of April 22, 1985,
had the effect of res judicata
and its implementation began not only with the 1985 payment for the
expropriated strip but also with the municipality’s request that the
petitioners submit the invoice, the treatment given to it, and its
status as final.
The alleged violation of the right to property (Article 21)
The petitioners hold that over the years the dispute has lasted,
their rights have been curtailed, in that they have been unable to
use and enjoy their property, as have their expectations for full
compensation for the property they owned. When the judicial guarantee
of res judicata was extinguished,
their expectations vanished, as did their rights as landowners affected
by an expropriation. Not only were they not given the amounts ordered
in the inverse expropriation ruling; they also run the risk of surrendering
the amounts that were actually credited to them by the municipality.
They maintain that their ownership has been affected and they
have been denied any claim over the expropriated strip. “The stoppage
of building work proves they have been denied the use and enjoyment
of the real property.” In addition, they claim that the declaration
of eminent domain itself made a significant proportion of their property
unsellable and prevented them from making use of the land.
Similarly, they maintain that they never received fair compensation
for the denial of the use and enjoyment of their property. They claim
that the State’s actions were confiscatory in nature and that their
property “served neither the social interest nor eminent domain; they
only affected the right to property” of the petitioners.
They hold that a declaration of eminent domain over a piece of real
estate causes limitations in or the loss of the right of property,
but in enforcing it the State must respect its own domestic rules
and, particularly, the provisions of international law. In light of
this, the petitioners believe that their right to property, as set
forth in Article 21 of the American Convention, was violated, and
they provide a breakdown of the damage, legal costs, and other expenses.
They invoke the principle that “exceptions or limitations cannot
surpass basic law” and add that the Argentine State has used exceptions
as if they surpassed the basic law guaranteed in Article 21 of the
Convention by stating that the declaration of eminent domain is the
basic law and its suppression an accessory element thereto.
Moreover, they maintain that the State has interpreted in bad faith
the rights that it is obliged to both respect and guarantee. They
argue that general principles of law cannot be used to affect rights
protected by Convention, because it is clear that the State has been
unable to respect and guarantee them.
The petitioners state that they do not want to undermine the
State’s discretionary right to conduct economic, social, and cultural
policies, but rather to show that the principles followed in the case
are unreasonable. A fair balance between the general interest and
basic rights is missing. As regards the exhaustion of domestic remedies,
the petitioners hold that the State’s claim regarding the unconstitutionality
of Article 29 of Law 21.499 (the Expropriation Law) and Ordinance
43529/89 is untrue. They claim that the State has illegitimately changed
the object of their complaint, which is based on the aforesaid legal
elements, and they believe it was the Supreme Court’s ruling that
violated their rights. In addition, they maintain that domestic remedies
As regards taking possession of the property, the petitioners
state that the municipality was obliged to take possession and yet
failed to do so, and so it cannot therefore benefit from its failure
to act to the detriment of the petitioners, who claim to have met
their obligations. Finally, the petitioners maintain that their right
to a fair trial was undermined by the State’s delays in reaching a
legal solution and its violation of the right to a hearing within
a reasonable time.
In its first reply, the State asks for this case to be declared
inadmissible because it believes that the substance of the petitioners’
allegations affected neither the right to property nor the judicial
guarantees set forth in the Convention.
It also points out that the ruling of the National Appeals
Chamber on April 22, 1985, made amends to the petitioners, to wit:
“The municipality would demolish the constructions in place on the
land, removing the piles that had been installed to preserve the security
of the building being erected in order to leave the land perfectly
available and free of all obstacles, within a period of 45 days, or
alternatively, credit the cost of that work, at the option of the
Municipality of Buenos Aires.” It thus maintains that said amends
were “a part of and accessory to the compensation for the expropriation,
as direct damage arising therefrom.”
The State also notes that the municipality chose to pay the
cost of demolishing the building “on account of a lack of the technical
wherewithal to carry it out. In this connection, Ordinance Nº 43.529/89
was enacted, unencumbering the property.” The State alleges that the
municipality complained about this “extinguishment” at trial and the
first-instance court, in its ruling of August 2, 1989, upheld the
complaint made by the Municipality of Buenos Aires in accordance with
the terms of Article 29 of the Expropriation Law, Nº 21.499. Thus,
the State maintains that “the expropriation that had not been finalized
In connection with the petitioners’ request for demolition,
the State notes that “Mr. Eolo Margaroli continued to implement the
Chamber’s ruling in the hope of receiving payment for demolition and
pile-extraction tasks that should not have been carried out since
there was no expropriation. “The petitioners submitted an invoice,
which was challenged by the Municipality of Buenos Aires because there
was no reason for it. In spite of these arguments, the first-instance
judge admitted the claim and the Appeals Chamber upheld that decision,
albeit ruling that “the existence or not of the reason for execution
should not be discussed when challenging the invoice, but rather when
the objections to implementation are made.”
The municipality filed an objection alleging “false implementation”
on the grounds that there was no reason for it since the process had
terminated when the “extinguishment” had lifted the encumbrances from
the property. The first-instance court and the National Civil Appeals
Chamber overruled this objection, and so the municipality took the
case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturned the Chamber’s
ruling because “it was not reasonably derived from current law”; consequently,
the Chamber handed down a second ruling rejecting the implementation
sought by the petitioners.
The State accepts that the petitioners have pursued and exhausted
the available domestic remedies in accordance with international law.
However, the State notes that in their submission, the petitioners
refer to “the unconstitutionality of Article 29 of Law Nº 21.499 (the
Expropriation Law) and of Municipal Ordinance Nº 43.529/89 which unencumbered
the property. This claim was not made before the domestic courts and,
consequently, with regard to it the domestic remedies have not been
exhausted.” The State says that this question should have been addressed
by filing an extraordinary remedy before the Supreme Court to challenge
the validity of those provisions.
The State further notes that the petitioners began another
suit against the Municipality of Buenos Aires, which was heard by
the same court and through which they sought damages equal to the
loss of the profits they would have earned by building and selling
the apartments in question. The ruling in this case rejected these
claims and turned down all and any claims for damages.
To support its position that the right to property was not
violated, the State uses the same arguments as the Argentine Supreme
Court’s ruling of April 12, 1994. Thus, the State holds that “the
change in the principal element--from the declaration of eminent domain
to the suppression of that classification--led to a change in the
accessory element that the petitioner seems reluctant to accept.”
And it concludes that no harm was done to the petitioners’ right to
The State also holds that in no way was the right to a fair
trial harmed. It claims that harm “has not occurred at any moment
in the proceedings, since not only has there been no denial of access
to any court of law, but also in each of them he--the petitioner--was
able to make his claims and state his rights.” In later submissions,
the State maintains that no harm was done to the right to property
or the right to a fair trial. Moreover, it states that the property
on Calle Raulet “is not and never was subject to any declaration of
Regarding the petitioners’ request for compensation, the State
holds that both Ordinance Nº 43.529 of April 20, 1989, and the judge’s
ruling removed the encumbrance from the property. Consequently, the
petitioners cannot “receive any compensation intended to make amends
for the declaration of public utility, because the alleged declaration
of public utility does not exist.”
The State reports that there is no reason whatsoever to cancel
the amount set for the demolition of the construction erected on the
property, because no demolition is required since the property is
under no encumbrance. On the contrary, it believes the petitioners
should reimburse the compensation paid for the expropriated strip
of land since, pursuant to Ordinance Nº 43.529, the reason for said
compensation does not exist.
The petitioners’ right to property, the State maintains, has
been affected in no way at all; the property is under no encumbrance,
and the owners enjoy full ownership of it. Moreover, the State holds
that the owners “were at no time restricted in the use, enjoyment,
and disposal of the property.”
Based on these arguments, the Argentine State concludes that
the complaint does not meet the requirements for generating international
responsibility set forth in Article 47 of the Convention and in Article
41 of the Commission’s Regulations.
ANALYSIS OF ADMISSIBILITY
The Commission’s competence ratione
temporis, ratione materiae, and
The Commission believes it is competent to hear this case.
First, as regards its ratione
temporis competence [by reason of time], the petitioners maintain
that the Argentine State is internationally responsible on account
of the ruling handed down by its Supreme Court of Justice on April
12, 1994, which took place after the State had placed its instrument
ratifying the American Convention before the General Secretariat of
the Organization of American States on September 5, 1984.
Secondly, as regards its ratione
materiae competence [by reason of subject], the petition refers
to alleged violations of rights enshrined in Articles 8(1) and 21
of the American Convention arising from the rulings handed down by
the judicial authorities that heard the suit filed against the Argentine
Regarding its passive ratione
personae competence [by reason of the person], the petitioners
accuse Argentina, a member state, of committing these violations.
As regards its active ratione personae competence, the petitioners allege that the violations
committed caused them harm, thus identifying themselves as the direct
victims of said violations.
Other requirements for admissibility
Exhaustion of domestic remedies
The Commission has, in the past, emphasized the “accessory
and complementary” character of the inter-American human rights protection
system. This character is expressed by provisions including Article
46(1)(a) of the Convention, which requires that “remedies
under domestic law have been pursued and exhausted in accordance with
generally recognized principles of international law.” This rule allows
states to resolve disputes under their own legal systems before
facing international proceedings.
In this case, the petitioners claim they exhausted the domestic
remedies applicable to the alleged violations, and the State expressed
its acceptance of that claim by stating that with the Supreme Court’s
ruling--which ruled on the validity of the new extinguishment alleged
by the municipality--the remedies offered by domestic jurisdiction
However, the State notes that the petitioners also challenged
the constitutionality of Ordinance Nº 43.529/89 and of Article 29
of Law Nº 21.499 (the Expropriation Law) before the Commission and
that “this claim was not made before the domestic courts and, consequently,
with regard to it the domestic remedies have not been exhausted”
(Commission’s emphasis). It adds that the petitioners should have
filed an extraordinary remedy before the Supreme Court of Justice
to challenge the legality of those provisions.
The petitioners report that, “the claim made by the Argentine
State in its reply that we challenged the constitutionality of Article
29 of Law 21.499 and of Ordinance 43.529/89 is untrue.”
They also note that, “it was the ruling of the Argentine Supreme Court
that upheld the eminent domain and the confiscation of the property
and that affected the judicial guarantees.” With this statement, the
petitioners confirm that the domestic remedies were exhausted.
The Commission will now analyze, first, whether the remedies
exhausted by the petitioners before the domestic courts were appropriate;
and, second, whether the extraordinary unconstitutionality appeal
was appropriate for resolving the violations. First of all, from its
analysis of the case file, the Commission believes that the domestic
remedies were exhausted in this case, noting that after a municipal
act affected a strip of land belonging to them, the petitioners filed
a total “inverse or irregular” expropriation action. This claim was
admitted in the petitioners’ favor and partially implemented by means
of payment for the expropriated strip of land, and they later requested
implementation of the provisions regarding “payment for the demolition
and removal of the piles” by submitting the corresponding invoice.
However, after this request for implementation of the sentence
was made, the municipality filed a “false implementation” objection,
arguing that there was no reason for it since the process had terminated
with the “extinguishment” of the obligation through the ordinance
unencumbering the strip of land. The first-instance court ruled in
the municipality’s favor and the National Civil Appeals Chamber overturned
that decision, rejecting the municipality’s objection and ruling in
the petitioners’ favor.
The Commission believes that after obtaining a favorable ruling,
the petitioners had no need to pursue any other remedy. It was the
municipality, after its claims were rejected, that filed the “extraordinary”
and “complaint or factual” remedies in order to obtain a favorable
decision, which occurred when the Supreme Court upheld the latter.
Thus, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation overturned the ruling
handed down by the Chamber that was favorable to the petitioners.
In these circumstances, with the existence of a Supreme Court
ruling on a complaint filed by the municipality, the Commission believes
that this ruling is final and exhausts the domestic remedies as regards
the petitioners’ claims. In addition, it must be noted that the State
has not claimed that the judicial remedies filed by the petitioners
and exhausted by the Supreme Court’s ruling were not appropriate for
resolving its situation.
Secondly, regarding the exhaustion of the extraordinary unconstitutionality
remedy referred to by the State, the Commission recognizes that in
some cases unconstitutionality remedies, which are in principle extraordinary,
offer appropriate and effective remedies for human rights violations.
In the case at hand, however, the State has neither claimed nor shown
that a decision on the unconstitutionality of Article 29 of Law 21.499
and Ordinance 43.529/89 would have in any event resolved the alleged
violations described by the petitioners.
Finally, considering that the substance of the petition does
not address the unconstitutionality of the laws applied in this case,
and that in any event the State has failed to show that the unconstitutionality
resource was appropriate for remedying the violations described by
the petitioners, the Commission concludes that in this case, the requirement
of prior exhaustion of the domestic remedies set forth in Article
46(1)(a) of the American Convention has been met.
Article 46(1)(b) of the
American Convention states that for a petition to be admitted it must
be “lodged within a period
of six months from the date on which the party alleging violation
of his rights was notified of the final judgment.” The Commission
notes that the Supreme Court’s decision was handed down on April
12, 1994, and the petitioners first appealed to the Commission on
October 31, 1994. In turn, the State has made no statements in this
regard. The Commission therefore believes that the petition was submitted
within the six-month period stipulated by Article 46 of the American
Duplication of proceedings and res
Article 46(1)(c) states
that for a petition or communication to be admissible, it must not
be pending in any other international settlement proceedings. Similarly,
Article 47(d) of the Convention says that any petition that is substantially
the same as one previously studied by the Commission or another international
organization shall be declared inadmissible. The Commission understands
that the subject of this petition is not pending any other international
settlement and that it is not the same as any other petition that
has already been examined either by itself or by another international
agency. Thus, the requirements set forth in Articles 46(1)(c)
and 47.d have been met.
Nature of the alleged violations
The Commission believes that, in principle, the petitioner’s
arguments describe facts that, if true, could possibly constitute
violations of the right to a fair trial (Article 8(1) and the right
to property (Article 21) set forth in the Convention. Consequently,
the Commission holds that the requirement set in Article 47(b) of
the American Convention has been met.
58. The Commission believes that it
is competent to hear this case and that the petition is admissible,
pursuant to Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
59. Based on the factual and legal
arguments given above, and without prejudging the merits of the case,
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To declare this case admissible.
To notify the parties of this decision.
To continue with its analysis of the merits of the case.
To make itself available to the parties with a view toward
reaching a friendly settlement based on respect for the rights enshrined
in the American Convention, and to invite the parties to make a statement
regarding the possibility thereof.
To publish this decision and to include it in its Annual Report
to the OAS General Assembly.
Given and signed at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the city of Washington, D.C., on September 27, 1999. Robert K. Goldman, Chairman; Helio Bicudo, First Vice-Chairman; Claudio Grossman, Second Vice-Chairman; Commissioners Carlos Ayala Corao, Jean Joseph Exumé and Alvaro Tirado Mejía.
To show this, the petitioners cited Article 2 of the Civil Code:
“Laws shall not be binding until after their publication, and
as of the stated day. If no day is stated, they shall become binding
eight days after their publication.”
The petitioners cited Article 3 of Argentina’s Civil Code: “After
they have come into force, laws shall apply even to existing legal
situations and relationships. They shall not have retroactive
effects, regardless of whether or not they deal with public order,
except if otherwise stipulated. Legally established retroactiveness
may in no instance affect rights protected by constitutional guarantees.
New supplementary laws shall not apply to contracts that are already
The petitioners cited Law Nº 21.499 (Expropriation Law), Article
29 of which states: “The expropriator may withdraw from the action
while the expropriation has not yet been finalized. The costs
shall be met by him. An expropriation shall be considered finalized
when transfer of ownership to the expropriator has taken place
by means of a final ruling, the taking of possession, and the
payment of compensation.”
The petitioners cited the jurisprudence of the European Court
of Human Rights in the case of James and Others, February 21, 1986.
In connection with this, they cited the jurisprudence of the European
Court in Sporrong and Lönnroth
and in Ashingdane, Series
A, Nº 93.
The petitioners cited the doctrine laid down by the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights in OC-5/85, page 39, paragraph 67.
Communication from the petitioners dated June 28, 1995.