1. The Application submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the Inter-American Commission”) to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Court,” “the Inter-American Court” or “the Tribunal”) on 25 May 1999, in relation to the Case of Hanniff Hilaire against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter “the State” or “Trinidad and Tobago,”) which was notified to the State on 15 June 1999.
2. The communication by the State of 13 August 1999 received in the Secretariat of the Court (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) on 16 August of the same year, whereby Trinidad and Tobago submitted its preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal in the present case. In the said communication, the State requested that the Court
a. allow a period of two months from this notification for the filing of legal arguments and supporting documents by the State Party in respect of the Objection;
b. convene a special hearing on the Preliminary Objection in accordance with article 36(6) of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and
c. postpon[e] the proceedings on the merits of this case until the Preliminary Objection has been decided.
3. The note of the Secretariat of 19 August 1999, in which it informed Trinidad and Tobago that the President of the Court had granted the extension requested (cf. supra 2) until 15 October 1999. Furthermore, the said note stated that “with respect to the State’s requests to convene a special hearing on the preliminary objection and to postpone the proceedings on the merits, the Court [would] consider them both during its XLV Ordinary Period of Sessions.”
1. That Trinidad and Tobago has been a State Party to the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”) since 28 May 1991, and that it accepted the jurisdiction of the Court on the same day.
2. That the State gave notice of its denunciation of the Convention to the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States on 26 May 1998, and that, pursuant to Article 78(1) of the said Convention, the denunciation became effective on 26 May 1999.
3. That, pursuant to Article 78(2) of the American Convention, the denunciation does not have the effect of releasing the State from its obligations with respect to acts occurring prior to the effective date of denunciation which may constitute a violation of the said Convention.
4. That Article 36 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court (hereinafter “the Rules of Procedure”) provides that
4. [t]he presentation of preliminary objections shall not cause the suspension of the proceedings on the merits, nor of the respective time periods or terms.
6. The Court may, if it deems it appropriate, convene a special hearing on the preliminary objections, after which it shall rule on the objections.
5. That the essence of Article 36(4) of the Rules of Procedure lies in the principle of procedural economy. The filing by the respondent State of preliminary objections does not affect the time-frame for the completion of the procedural acts concerned with the merits, such, for example, as the Reply of the State to the Application by the Commission.
6. That, due to the extension already granted by the President of the Court to Trinidad and Tobago to submit legal arguments in support of its preliminary objection, the time limit for said presentation expires on 15 October 1999, which is also the deadline for the presentation by the State of its Reply to the Application in the present case.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights,
pursuant to Articles 29 and 36(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
1. To grant the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago an extension for the presentation of its Reply to the Application in the Hilaire Case until 15 December 1999, due to the particular circumstances of the present case.
2. To decline the request of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for a postponement of the proceedings on the merits of the Hilaire Case until the preliminary objection has been decided.
3. To continue the consideration of the Hilaire Case in its current procedural stage.
4. To commission the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to summon the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in due course to a public hearing on the preliminary objection in the Hilaire Case, to be held at the seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.