1. Article 26 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Rules of Procedure”) provides that for “a case to be referred to the Court under Article 61(1) of the Convention, an application shall be filed with the Secretariat [indicating] the purpose of the application, a statement of the facts, the supporting evidence, the legal arguments and relevant conclusions.”
2. Article 34(1) of the Rules of Procedure provides that “[t]he Court may, at the request of a party or on its own motion, obtain any evidence which it considers likely to clarify the facts of the case. In particular, it may decide to hear as a witness or expert witness, or in any other capacity, any person whose evidence, statements or opinion it deems useful.”
3. Article 29(1) of the aforementioned Rules of Procedure provides that “[t]he respondent State shall always have the right to file a written answer to the application within three months following notification thereof.”
4. According to the provision contained in Article 31(2), “[t]he document setting out the preliminary objections shall be filed with the Secretariat in ten copies and shall set out the facts on which the objection is based, the legal arguments, and the conclusions and supporting documents, as well as any evidence which the party filling the objection may wish to produce.”
5. Article 32 provides that “[t]he President shall, after consulting the Agents and the Delegates, fix the date for the opening of the oral proceedings.”
1. Pursuant to the above provisions and the principles of expeditiousness and diligence governing the processes involved in the exercise of human rights, it is the procedural responsibility of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to stipulate in the application the evidentiary means it proposes to employ indicating and identifying the witnesses and experts; the place and circumstances of any inspections; the purpose of the expert evidence and any other information necessary for the gathering of evidence. The documents may accompany the application or be submitted at a later stage, provided that they are filed prior to the oral proceedings. By the same token, it is incumbent upon the respondent State to fulfill the same requirements, in the same terms, in its written answer to the application.
2. Other than the procedural steps of application and answer, and filing of preliminary objections and answer, the Rules of Procedure make no provision for the specific indication of evidence, which would enable the parties to exercise the necessary reciprocal control in regard to the propriety and validity of such evidence.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS,
by virtue of the powers conferred on it in Article 1(3) of its Rules of Procedure,
1. That, for the purpose of regulating the procedure and in strict compliance with the Rules of Procedure, the Court shall admit only such evidence as is indicated in the application and answer and in the document setting out the preliminary objections and the answers to them. Should any of the parties allege force majeure, serious impediment or the emergence of supervening facts as grounds for the use of an item of evidence, the Court may, as an exception in the circumstances described, admit such evidence at a time other than those indicated above, provided that the opposing party is guaranteed the right of defense.
2. That this Order shall be communicated to the States Parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.