PRESS RELEASE (*)
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held its XLII Regular Session at its seat in San Jose, Costa Rica, from November 16 to November 27, 1998. During this Session, the Court heard the following matters:
1) Castillo Paez Case (Peru): Reparations Phase. The Court deliberated and determined the reparations and costs that the State of Peru must pay in this Case to Mr. Rafael Castillo-Paez's next-of-kin, in accordance with the Judgment issued on November 3, 1997. In that Judgment, the State of Peru was obligated to repair the consequences of the violations that occurred on October 21, 1990 when Mr. Rafael Castillo-Paez was detained by agents of the Peruvian National Police. Since then, his whereabouts have remained unknown. The Court declared that the State of Peru violated Articles 7, 5, 4, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, all in relation to Article 1(1) of the same.
To that respect, the Court, by means of its Judgment on Reparations of November 27, 1998, decided:
1. To set at US$ 245,021.80 (two hundred forty-five thousand twenty-one dollars of the United States and eighty cents) or its equivalent in the national currency, the amount that the State of Peru must pay in reparations to the next-of-kin of Mr. Rafael Castillo-Paez. These payments shall be made by the State of Peru in the proportion and conditions set forth in paragraphs 75, 76, 77, 90, 114, 115, 116, and 117 of [the] Judgment.
2. That the State of Peru must investigate the facts of the present Case, identify and punish those responsible, and adopt the necessary measures in its internal law to ensure compliance with this obligation.
3. That the payments ordered in operative points 1 and 5 must be made within six months of the date of [the] Judgment.
4. That the payments ordered in the present Judgment are exempt from taxes or interest including those which might exist in the future.
5. To set at US$ 2,000 (two thousand dollars of the United States) or its equivalent in the national currency, the amount that the State of Peru must pay to the victim's next-of-kin as reimbursement of the costs at the internal level.
6. To supervise the State of Peru's compliance with this Judgment.
Judges Cançado Trindade and Abreu-Burelli informed the Court of their Joint Concurring Opinion; and Judge Garcia-Ramirez of his Separate Opinion, both of which are attached to the Judgment.
2) Loayza Tamayo Case (Peru): Reparations Phase. As in the Castillo Páez Case, the Court deliberated and determined the reparations and costs in the this Case, based on its Judgment of September 17, 1997. The Court decided in that Judgment that the State of Peru must pay fair compensation to the victim and her next-of-kin and to reimburse them for any expenses they may have incurred in their representations before the Peruvian authorities, due to the events which occurred as of February 6, 1993, when Ms. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo was illegally deprived of her liberty and treated in a cruel, inhuman and degrading manner. The actions of the State of Peru, according to the Judgment, violated Articles 1(1), 5, 7, 8, 25, and 51(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights.
By means of its November 27, 1998 Judgment on Reparations, the Court decided:
AS MEASURES OF RESTITUTION,
1. That the State of Peru must take the necessary measures to reincorporate Ms. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo in her prior teaching positions in the public sector, with the understanding that the amount of her salary and other benefits must be equivalent to the amount of her remunerations for her work in both the public and private sectors at the moment of her detention, based on their present value at the date of this Judgment.
2. That the State of Peru must ensure Ms. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo's full enjoyment of her right to retirement benefits, including for the period in which she was detained.
3. That the State of Peru must adopt all the internal legal measures to ensure that no adverse resolution issued in the process in which Ms. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo was presented before the civil courts has any legal effect.
AS MEASURES OF COMPENSATION,
by six votes to one
4. That the State of Peru must pay, in the form and conditions set forth in paragraphs 183 and 190 of this Judgment, a total sum in the amount of US$ 167,190.30 (one hundred sixty-seven thousand one hundred ninety dollars of the United States of America and thirty cents) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency, distributed in the following manner.
a. US$ 99,190.30 (ninety-nine thousand one hundred ninety dollars of the United States of America and thirty cents) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Ms. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo;
b. US$ 15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Ms. Gisselle Elena Zambrano-Loayza and US$ 15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Mr. Paul Abelardo Zambrano-Loayza;
c. US$ 10,000 (ten thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Ms. Adelina Tamayo-Trujillo de Loayza and US$ 10,000 (ten thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Mr. Julio Loayza-Sudario; and
d. US$ 18,000 (eighteen thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency to Ms. Carolina Maida Loayza-Tamayo, Ms Delia Haydee Loayza-Tamayo, Ms. Olga Adelina Loayza-Tamayo, Ms. Giovanna Elizabeth Loayza-Tamayo, Mr. Ruben Edilberto Loayza-Tamayo, and Mr. Julio William Loayza-Tamayo, corresponding to each one in the amount of US$ 3,000 (three thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in the Peruvian currency.
Partial Dissent by Judge de Roux-Rengifo.
AS OTHER FORMS OF REPARATION,
5. That the State of Peru must take the necessary internal legal measures to conform Judicial Decrees 25-475 (Crime of Terrorism) and 25-659 (Crime of Treason) with the American Convention on Human Rights.
WITH RESPECT TO THE DUTY OF THE STATE TO TAKE INTERNAL MEASURES
6. That the State of Peru must investigate the facts of the present Case, identify and sanction those responsible, and adopt the necessary internal legal measures to ensure compliance with this obligation.
WITH RESPECT TO ATTORNEY'S FEES AND EXPENSES
7. That the State of Peru must pay Ms. Carolina Maida Loayza-Tamayo the amount of US$20,000 (twenty thousand dollars of the United States of America) or its equivalent in Peruvian currency for attorney's fees and expenses, in the form and conditions that are expressed in paragraphs 183 and 190 of this Judgment.
8. That the measures of restitution ordered in operative points 1, 2 and 3, the payment of compensatory damages ordered in operative point 4, the reimbursement of attorney's fees and expenses ordered in operative point 7, the adoption of other forms of reparation ordered in operative point 5, and the duty of the State to take internal action ordered in operative point 6, must be executed within 6 months from the date of this Judgment.
9. That all of the payments ordered in the present Judgment will be exempt from all taxes or interest including those which might exist in the future.
10. To supervise the State of Peru's compliance with this Judgment.
Judges Cançado Trindade and Abreu-Burelli informed the Court of their Joint Concurring Opinion; Judges Jackman and Garcia-Ramirez of their Concurring Opinions and Judge de Roux-Rengifo, of his Partial Dissenting Opinion, all of which are attached to this Judgment.
3) Bamaca Velasquez Case (Guatemala): Merits Phase. On November 22 and 23, 1998, the Court held its third public hearing on the merits of this Case and heard the testimony of 8 witnesses of the Inter-American Commission that had not previously appeared before the Court, and who testified about their knowledge of the facts referred to in the application.
This Case was submitted to the Court by the Inter-American Commission's application of August 30, 1996, which presented claims against the State of Guatemala for the alleged disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution of Efrain Bamaca-Velasquez in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights. The application refers to the events that occurred as of March 12, 1992, when members of the Armed Forces of Guatemala allegedly captured Mr. Bamaca-Velasquez after an armed confrontation, and subsequently detained him in various military installations, where he was tortured and later executed by members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces. The Commission requested that the Court declare that Guatemala had violated the following: Article 3 (Right to Juridical Personality), Article 4 (Right to Life), Article 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), Article 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), Article 8 (Judicial Guarantees), and Article 25 (Judicial Protection), all in relation to Article 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights) of the American Convention on Human Rights. In addition, the Commission requested that the Court declare that Guatemala violated the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture; that the State should investigate the facts and punish those responsible; that the State must inform the family of the whereabouts of Mr. Bamaca-Velasquez and give them his remains; that the State must reform the methods for training the armed forces; and that the State must pay just compensation and costs to the relatives of the victim.
4) Cesti Hurtado Case (Peru): Preliminary Objections Phase. The Court held a public hearing on November 24, 1998, on the preliminary objections submitted by the State of Peru. In that hearing, the Court it heard two experts concerning the habeas corpus Judgment, its immutability, soundness, and application based upon procedural and constitutional law, respectively, as well as both doctrinally and in accordance with Peruvian law. The preliminary objections submitted by the State of Peru in this Case, which are opposed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, include the failure to exhaust domestic remedies, incompetence and jurisdiction, res judicata, and failure to make a previous claim before the Inter-American Commission.
The application for this Case was submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on January 9, 1998, and refers to the alleged violation by the State of Peru of Articles 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 11 (Right to Privacy), 17 (Rights of the Family), 21 (Right to Property), 25 (Judicial Protection) and 51(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in relation with Articles 1 and 2 of the same. The application alleges that these violations were a result of the inclusion, detention, sentencing and deprivation of liberty of the victim in a trial, which occurred despite the existence of a definitive judgment issued in a habeas corpus proceeding, ordering that he be withdrawn from said trial process and that his personal liberty not be hindered. The Commission also requested the Court to require the Peruvian State to sanction those responsible for the alleged violations, to free Mr. Cesti-Hurtado, and to compensate him for the period during which he was wrongly detained and for the respective damages to his personal life and to his financial well-being.
5) Castillo Petruzzi et al. Case (Peru): Merits Phase. On November 25, 1998, the Court held a public hearing on the merits of this Case, and hear the testimony of 3 witnesses proposed by the Inter-American Commission, who testified about the alleged irregularities and violations of legal due process in the judgments against the presumed victims in this Case and the processes inherent in judicial decree No. 25-659 regarding treason and in judicial decree No. 55-708 relating to the procedural processes in judgments of treason. The Court also heard the closing oral arguments of the State of Peru and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The facts of the application, submitted for consideration by the Court on July 22, 1997, concern a faceless tribunal in the State of Peru, which sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime of treason the following Chilean citizens: Jaime Francisco Castillo-Petruzzi, Maria Concepcion Pincheira-Saez, Lautaro Enrique Mellado-Saavedra, and Alejandro Astorga-Valdes. The Commission requested that the Court decide that Peru violated Articles 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 20 (Right to Nationality), 27 (Suspension of Guarantees) and 51(2), all from the American Convention on Human Rights, to the detriment of the victims. The Commission requested the Court to declare null and void the consecutive proceedings in the military courts against the mentioned persons, who also should have reparations made to them and a fair compensation paid to them for the damages they have suffered. The application also requested that the State be ordered to pay the costs and expenses incurred in this Case and in the proceedings in the domestic courts, and that the Court declare that Peru violated Article 29 (Norms of Interpretation) of the American Convention in combination with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
6) Gangaram Panday Case (Suriname): After having supervised the compliance of its Judgment from January 21, 1994 for various years, the Court issued an Order in which it decided:
1. To declare that the State of Suriname has satisfactorily complied with the Judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights from January 21, 1994.
2. To close the Gangaram Panday Case.
3. To include this resolution in the Court's 1998 Annual Report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
7) Other Matters: The Court considered several issues currently pending before it and analyzed the various reports submitted to it by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the States involved in those matters in which the Court had adopted provisional measures.
In the Carpio Nicolle provisional measures (Guatemala), the Court studied the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh reports of the State and the observations of the Commission's twenty-sixth report. On November 27, 1998, the Court issued a resolution, in which, it declared that the State must take the relevant measures to resolve the present and future situation of Ms. Karen Fisher de Carpio, in compliance with the State's obligation to effectively ensure the right to life and the right to humane treatment. The Court further required the State, in its next report, to include relevant documentation regarding the situation of Case No. 1011-97 and on the concrete advances in the investigations of the denounced threats and intimidations.
In the Colotenango provisional measures (Guatemala), the Court studied the seventh, eighth, and ninth reports of the State of Guatemala and the observations of the Commission from October 1, 1998. On November 27, 1998, the Court issued an Order in which it required the State to include in its next report detailed mention of the protective measures offered to Ms. Lucia Quila-Colo, Ms. Fermina Lopez-Castro and Patricia Ispanel-Medimilla and information regarding the investigation and sanctions of those responsible for the actions that caused the adoption of the provisional measures in this Case, specifically regarding the threats that were allegedly made against Mr. Alberto Godinez and Maria Garcia-Domingo.
In the Giraldo Cardona provisional measures (Colombia), the Court studied the eleventh and twelfth reports of the State of Colombia and the observations of the Commission's eleventh report. On November 27, 1998, the Court issued an Order in which it required the State of Colombia to communicate to the beneficiaries of the provisional measures the offer of serious, definitive, and trustworthy protection and to include in the next report, as an element of the essential duty of protection, information about the advances of this investigation regarding those responsible for the acts to which the Case is referred, and if possible, to send copies of the corresponding process.
In the Paniagua Morales and others and Vasquez and others provisional measures (Guatemala), the Court considered a request from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on November 24, 1998, in which it determined that the provisional measures adopted by the Court could be lifted as the petitioners indicated that the security of the beneficiaries had improved. With respect to this, the Court, on November 27, 1998, lifted the provisional measures.
The composition of the Court during this Regular Session included the following: Hernan Salgado-Pesantes (Ecuador), President; Antônio A. Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Vice-President; Maximo Pacheco-Gomez (Chile); Oliver Jackman (Barbados); Alirio Abreu-Burelli (Venezuela); Sergio Garcia-Ramirez (Mexico) and Carlos Vicente de Roux-Rengifo (Colombia). In the Cesti Hurtado Case, the Court excused David Pezua-Vivanco, ad hoc Judge, appointed by the State of Peru. In the Castillo Petruzzi Case, Fernando Vidal-Ramirez participated as the ad hoc Judge, appointed by the State of Peru. In addition, the Secretary of the Court, Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, and the Interim Deputy Secretary, Victor M. Rodriguez-Rescia, were also present.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States established in 1979. The Court is composed of jurists of the highest moral standing and competence in the area of human rights. Judges are elected by the OAS General Assembly and cannot be elected for more than two six-year terms.
San Jose, December 9, 1998.
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The contents of this release are the responsibility of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The official text of the document may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Secretariat at the address provided at the end of this document.