Baena Ricardo et al. Case: According to Press Release CDH-CP 1/99, on January 27 at 10:00 a.m. the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold a public hearing on the preliminary objections in the present Case. In exercise of the authority conferred on it by Article 14(1) of its Rules of Procedure, the Court has decided to celebrate said public hearing in the Plaza de la Justicia Auditorium in the Supreme Court of Justice, located in the First Judicial Circuit of San Jose (Organismo de Investigación Judicial building). This decision is grounded on the lack of physical space at the seat of the Court and the number of victims.
The preliminary objections submitted by the State of Panama in this Case, which are opposed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, are based in the alleged irreceivability of the application for three reasons: failure to comply with the requirements of Article 51 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which establishes that the Commission must adopt a resolution in order to send a contentious case to the Court; because the subject-matter of this petition, according to the State, is the same as the subject-matter of a petition already examined by the International Labor Organization (ILO); and, due to the alleged violation, by the Commission, of the rule regarding confidentiality when a copy of report 37/97 was sent to the petitioners.
The application in the present Case was submitted by the Commission on January 16, 1998, and refers to the alleged violations, by the State of Panama, of Articles 8 (Right to a Fair Trail), 9 (Freedom for ex post Facto Laws), 10 (Right to Compensation), 15 (Right of Assembly), 16 (Freedom of Association), 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the American Convention, in relation with Articles 1 and 2 of the same, as a result of the facts, occurred as of December 6, 1990 which caused the release of 270 public employees who had participated in a march for labor benefits, and the process stemming therefrom, in which their judicial guarantees and their right to judicial protection were allegedly violated. The Commission also requested the Court to declare that law number 25 and the rule established in Article 43 of the Panamanian Constitution, which permits laws concerning 'public order or social interest' to be retroactive, is contrary to the American Convention in the manner in which it was applied to this Case, and must therefore be modified or derogated pursuant to Article 2 of said Convention. Likewise, the Commission requested the Court to declare that Panama violated Articles 33 and 50(2) of the American Convention and that the State must reestablish the released workers in the enjoyment of their rights and compensate them.
The composition of the Court for this public hearing will be: 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). Rolando A. Reyna, appointed by the State of Panama, will participate as ad hoc Judge. The Secretary of the Court, Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, and the Deputy Secretary, Renzo Pomi, will also be 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.
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The contents of this press release are the sole responsibility of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The official text of the documents cited may be obtained by sending a written request to the Secretariat at the address provided at the end of this press release.