Observaciones de la Comisión sobre la prueba adicional recibida según resolución de la Corte de 4 de febrero de 1993.


March 1, 1993

Ref: CASE 10.274

Dear President Fix-Zamudio:

The Commission's delegate and legal advisor have taken careful note of the Inter-American Court's resolution of February 4, 1993, and wish to present several observations relative to the additional information received by the Court from its expert witnesses.

A. With reference to the translation of the passport text provided to the Court by Ms. Schipper, ¬expulsion¬in Dutch immigration law is a term of art. The Government of the Netherlands certified that Mr. Panday had not been expelled. We attach for the Court's convenience a copy of the September 11, 1991 note from the Royal Netherlands's Embassy. (See attachment 1.) this note, with the attached correspondence dated November 10 and November 18, 1988, certifies that Mr. Panday was not expelled by the authorities of the Netherlands, and that he left voluntarily.

Even so, in ordinary language the word ¬verwijderd¬is not equivalent to expulsion. In support of this point we include photocopies of entries in the authoritative Van Goor's Dutch/Spanish Dictionary. On page 1060 of the dictionary, the entry for ¬verwijderd¬defines it as meaning ¬apartado, distante, extraviado, aislado, solitario¬. (See attachment 2.)

Moreover, the same dictionary on page 530 translates the meaning of ¬expulsar¬and ¬expulsión¬in Dutch. (See attachment 3). The dictionary lists the following meanings for ¬expulsar¬: ¬uitjagen, verjagen, verdrijven, verstolen¬. Verwijderd is not listed. In translating the meaning of ¬expulsion¬the dictionary distinguishes between the expulsion of persons and the expulsion of ¬stoffen¬(objects, things). Again, the expulsion of persons, as is at issue in the present case, does not mention verwijderd. Expulsion or separation of objects could be verwijderd. We

Dr. Héctor Fix-Zamudio


Inter-American Court of Human Rights

San Jose, Costa Rica


suggest that the translator may have referred to this meaning, which as explained, is inapplicable.

B. With reference to the interpretative forensic medical report supplied to the Court by the Department of Legal Medicine of the Judicial Investigation Office, the forensic team conducting the analysis did not refer to the testimony provided at the July, 1992 hearing by Dr. M.A. Vrede. This critical testimony was highly relevant. During his testimony Dr. Vrede affirmed:

a. that he could not testify as to whether Mr. Panday's death was the result of a suicide or a homicide; and that he agreed with the conclusion drawn by Dr. Baltaro on this point,

b. that the photographer sent to make a pictorial record of the condition of the body prior to the autopsy failed to photograph the victim's pubic area and the visible wounds there due to lack of time, despite the fact that doing so would have taken less than a minute;

c. that the injury which produced the blood in the victim's scrotum was produced by ¬blunt force applied shortly before the victim's death¬.

By a note of October 19, 1992, we explicitly requested that the oral testimony of Dr. Vrede be brought to the attention of any experts the Court might consult in this regard. (See attachment 4). We submit that the above referenced testimony provides conclusive proof, satisfying the highest standard of evidence, that Mr. Panday was tortured just prior to his death. the report of the experts fails to address the issue of torture shortly before death (in spite of the fact that even the original autopsy report of November 11, 1988 refers to the presence of blood in the victim's scrotum), and the impact of such torture on assessing the issue of the cause of death. We also note that, in spite of this failure, the report does not conclude that Mr. Panday committed suicide. The report's conclusions are limited to stating that suicide was a possible cause of death.

We would respectfully note that these observations are presented without prejudice to our request, by note of October 19, 1992, that we be permitted to cross-examine the experts consulted by the Court in this case. We would therefore request that the Court notify us of the possibility of holding a hearing for that purpose.

Oliver Jackman Claudio Grossman

Delegate Legal Advisor

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