The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold its XLIV Regular Session at its seat in San Jose, Costa Rica, from May 23 to June 4, 1999. During this session, the Court will hear the following matters:
1) Cesti Hurtado Case (Peru): Merits Phase. On May 24 at 9:00 a.m., the Court will hold a public hearing on the merits of the Cesti Hurtado Case, which it shall hear the declarations of the witnesses proposed by the Commission, who will testify about the facts of the Case, and the reports of the experts proposed by the State.
The application in 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 (Right to 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 detention, sentencing and deprivation of liberty of Mr. Gustavo Adolfo Cesti-Hurtado in a process before the Military Jurisdiction. According to the application said trial was conducted not withstanding the existence of a definitive judgment issued in a habeas corpus proceeding, ordering that Mr. Cesti be withdrawn from the Military Jurisdiction and that his personal liberty not be hindered.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 release 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.
In its answer to the application, presented on May 29, 1998, the State disputed the Commission's submissions. Peru sustains that, since the alleged victim was detained and sentenced by mandate of a competent jurisdictional organ, the Order issued in the habeas corpus proceedings, to which reference was made in the application, is illicit, may not be executed and is null and void. In what concerns the other allegations of the Commission, the State contends that it has never hindered the personal integrity of the alleged victim, who has been placed under conditions more favorable than the other imprisoned persons in Peru have. According to the State, the crimes for which Mr. Cesti-Hurtado was found guilty were planned and executed by military personnel within quarters, and resulted in an illicit misappropriation of funds belonging to the Armed Forces, and, therefore, Mr. Cesti-Hurtado was tried correctly under the military jurisdiction. Further, in accordance with the State's submission, in the case of Mr. Cesti-Hurtado the judicial guarantees, due process and the rights of privacy and property were upheld. Finally, the State contends that the Court has hindered its sovereignty through several Judgments and that the application presented by the Commission weakens its juridical order and intends to destabilize its constitutional institutions.
2) Durand and Ugarte Case (Peru): Preliminary Objections Phase. During this Session, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on the preliminary objections raised by the State of Peru in this Case. Preliminary objections are procedural defenses that the defendant State may submit, which seek to have a contentious case dismissed before the merits of the case are heard. The objections submitted by the State of Peru in this Case, which are challenged by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, are based on the failure to exhaust domestic remedies, res judicata, expiration of the application; lack of jurisdiction by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights and legal defect; lack of standing and legal capacity of the Inter-American Commission.
This Case, submitted to the Court on August 8, 1996, was based on facts that occurred as of February 14 and 15, 1986. According to the application, on said dates Mrrss. Nolberto Durand-Ugarte and Gabriel Ugarte-Rivera were detained for their alleged participation in terrorist activities and were imprisoned at the San Juan Bautista Prison (El Fronton). In June 1986, an uprising occurred in the penitentiary center and, since that date, Mr. Durand-Ugarte and Mr. Ugarte-Rivera have been missing. However, on July 17, 1987, the Sixth Correctional Tribunal of Lima declared them innocent and ordered their immediate release. According to the application, the State of Peru is responsible the violation of Articles 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights), 2 (Domestic Legal Effects), 4 (Right to Life), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 25 (Judicial Protection) and 27 (Suspension of Guarantees) of the American Convention on Human Rights, to the victim's detriment.
3) Castillo Petruzzi Case (Peru): Merits Phase. On May 26 and 27, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on the merits in this Case.
The application in this Case, submitted to the consideration of the Court on July 22, 1997, refers to the following facts: Mrrss. Jaime Francisco Castillo-Petruzzi, Maira Concepcion Pincheiras-Saez, Lautaro Enrique Mellado-Saavedra, and Alejandro Luis Astorga-Valdez, all of them of Chilean nationality, were tried and condemned for treason by a faceless tribunal in Peru. They have been sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the Commission contends that the proceedings against the alleged victims violated their procedural rights and their right to Nationality. Hence, 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 alleged victims. Further, the Commission requested the Court to declare null and void the proceedings conducted against the alleged victims before military courts and to order that reparations be made to them. The application also requested that the State be ordered to pay the costs and expenses incurred in this Case and in the proceedings before 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.
4) Las Palmeras Case (Colombia): Preliminary Objections Phase. On May 31 at 10:00 a.m., the Court will hold a public hearing on the preliminary objections submitted by the State of Colombia. These objections, which are challenged by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, are based in the alleged irreceivability of the application for the following reasons: due process violation stemming from a grave lack of information, lack of jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights to apply the International Humanitarian Law and other International Treaties, non-exhaustion of domestic remedies and lack of jurisdiction of the Court to act as a fact finding investigating tribunal.
The application, submitted before the Court by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on July 6, 1998, refers to the alleged extra-judicial execution and subsequent denial of justice by the State of Colombia, to the detriment of Artemio Pantoja-Ordoñez, Hernan Javier Cuaran-Muchavisoy, Julio Milciades Ceron-Rojas, William Hamilton Ceron-Rojas, and Hernan Lizcano-Jacanamejoy or Moises Ojeda.
5) Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community Case (Nicaragua): Preliminary Objections Phase. On May 31 at 4:00 p.m., the Court will hold a public hearing on the preliminary objection of non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, submitted by the State of Nicaragua and challenged by the Commission.
The application in this case, submitted by the Commission on June 4, 1998, refers to the alleged violation by the State of Nicaragua of Articles 1 (Obligation to Respect Rights), 2 (Domestic Legal Effect), 21 (Right to Private Property), and 25 (Judicial Protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, to the detriment of members of the Mayagna (Sumo) Indigenous Community, due to the failure to demarcate and officially recognize the territory of said community. The Commission also requested that the Court, based on Article 63(1) of the American Convention, orders reparation of the consequences of the violations of the rights cited in the application.
6) New Cases submitted before the Court:
The Court will examine two new cases, presented by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:
Cantos Case (Argentina): The application in this case (N.11.636) was submitted on March 10, 1999, and it refers to the alleged violations to the detriment of Mr. Jose Maria Cantos by the State of Argentina, as a result of the requisition and confiscation of documents related to his commercial activity, occurred as of March, 1972, by the General Administration Income Office of the Province of Santiago del Estero to the seats of Mr. Cantos businesses for the presumed violation of the Stamps Law (Ley de Sellos).
According to the Commission, the actions that have been described caused severe economic damages to Mr. Cantos' companies. Further, the Commission contends that, during the domestic proceedings, Mr. Cantos and his family were persecuted and harassed.
The Commission requested that the Court declared that the State of Argentina violated articles 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 25 (Judicial Protection), and 21 (Right to Private Property) of the American Convention on Human Rights all in relation with article 1(1) of the same. The Commission also requested the Court to find that the State of Argentina violated article 2 (Domestic Legal Effect) of the Convention, based on the principle of pacta sunt servanda, for the alleged noncompliance of the recommendations made by the Commission, article 50(3), in its report 75/98. The Commission also argued that Argentina has violated the articles XVIII (Right to Justice) and XXIV (Right to Petition) of the American Declaration of Rights and Duties of the Man. Finally, the Commission requested that the Court order reparations, pursuant to Article 63(1) of the Convention.
Ivcher Bronstein Case (Peru): The application in this case (N.11.762), submitted by the Inter-American Commission on March 31, 1999, refers to the alleged violations against Mr. Baruch Ivcher Bronstein, a Peruvian citizen by naturalization, who was the main shareholder, Director and President of the Board of Directors of Channel 2 of the Peruvian.
The application is based upon the alleged arbitrary revocation, by the State of Peru, of the Peruvian citizenship of Mr. Ivcher Bronstein, an the acts of deprivation of the editorial control of Channel 2 and of oppression of his right of free speech, which was expressed by the accusations of human rights violations and corruption.
The Commission requested the Court to determine that the State of Peru violated articles 20 (Right to Citizenship), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 25 (Judicial Protection), and 21 (Right to Private Property) of the American Convention on Human Rights all in relation with article 1(1) of the same.
7) Other Matters: The Court will consider several matters currently pending before it and will analyze the various reports submitted to it by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the States involved in issues in which the Court has adopted provisional measures. Likewise the Court will receive some members of the Juridical Investigations Institute of Mexico-UNAM- as well as the President of the European Court on Human Rights, Judge Luzios Wildhabe and his advisor, Mr. Herbert Petzold, whom will be present at the hearings and activities of the Court.
The composition of the Court for this Regular Session 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). In the Cesti Hurtado Case, Jose Alberto Bustamante-Belaunde, appointed by the State of Peru as Judge ad hoc has been summoned. In the Durand and Ugarte and Castillo Petruzzi et al. Cases, Fernando Vidal-Ramirez, appointed by the State of Peru for these cases will participate as Judge ad hoc. In the Las Palmeras Case, Julio A. Barberis, appointed by the State of Colombia, will participate as Judge ad hoc. Finally, in the Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingni Community Case, Alejandro Montiel-Argüello, appointed by the State of Nicaragua, will participate as Judge ad hoc. The Secretary of the Court, Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, and the Deputy Secretary, Renzo Pomi, will also be present.
For further information, please address all requests to:
Manuel E. Ventura-Robles
Secretary, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
San Jose, Costa Rica
Telephone: (506) 234-0581, Fax: (506) 234-0584
San Jose, 21 May, 1999.
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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.