University of Minnesota

Genie Lacayo Case, Order of the Court of August 29, 1998, reprinted in 1998 Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [335], OEA/Ser.L/V/III.43, doc. 11 (1999).






The brief of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Commission") of June 17, 1998, in which it submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter "the Court") copies of "documents including information collected by different United States Government agencies concerning the forced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial execution of Efrain Bamaca-Velasquez."  The Commission requested that those documents be taken into consideration, "in view of [their] importance for the instant Case."


1.         That Article 43 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court establishes that

[i]tems of evidence tendered by the parties shall be admissible only if previous notification thereof is contained in the application and in the reply thereto and, where appropriate, in the communication setting out the preliminary objections and in the answer thereto.  Should any of the parties allege force majeure, serious impediment or the emergence of supervening events as grounds for producing an item of evidence, the Court may, in that particular instance, admit such evidence at a time other than those indicated above, provided that the opposing party is guaranteed the right of defense.

This provision makes possibility of admitting items of evidence at a time other than those indicated an exeeptional measure.  Such an exception would be applicable only in the event that the party proposing the evidence alleges force majeure, serious impediment or supervening events. In the instant Case, the Commission has indicated that "the documents [submitted] include information collected by various United States Government agencies in connection with the forced disappearance, torture and execution of Efrain Bamaca-Velasquez [...] and include all documentation of that type which was delivered to the Commission by Ms. Harbury, given its importance for the instant case."

2.         That the Court, on examination of the documents submitted, had determined that their presentation was time-barred. The documentation proposed was not generated by a supervening event; its admission as evidence would therefore be out of order.  Moreover, that  some of these documents had already been presented by the Commission as attachments to the brief setting out the application, for which reason they have been added to the store of evidence  in the instant case and their value will be assessed in due course.



pursuant to Articles 29 and 43 of its Rules of Procedure,


By four votes to two,

            Not to admit, as time-barred, the additional documents transmitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on June 17, 1998 in the instant case.

Judge Pacheco-Gómez and Judge de Roux-Rengifo informed the Court of their dissenting opinion and Judge García-Ramírez of his concurring opinion.



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