PRESS RELEASE (*)
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold its XLVI Regular Session at its seat in San Jose, Costa Rica, from November 9 to 20, 1999. During this session, the Court will hear the following matters:
1) Cesti Hurtado Case: Interpretation of the Judgment Phase. On November 9, the Court will deliberate and study the request for an interpretation of the Judgment on Merits of September 29, 1999, submitted by the State of Peru in this case.
2) Villagran Morales et al. Case: Merits Phase. From November 11 to 15, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on the merits in this case.
According to the application appropriately submitted by the Commission, in June , 1990, agents of the Guatemalan State kidnapped, tortured and killed Henry Geovanni Contreras, Federico Clemente Figueroa-Tunchez, Julio Roberto Caal-Sandoval, Jovito Josue Juarez-Cifentes and killed Anstraum Villagran-Morales. The application also states that the Guatemalan State provided no effective remedy for these crimes. Therefore, the Commission requested the Court to determine that the State of Guatemala violated the Articles 1 (Obligation to Respect Rights), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trail), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights as well as Article 19 (Rights of the Child) of the same, in relation with three of the victims; and Articles 1, 6 and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture in relation with four of them.
On September 11, 1997, the Court passed Judgment on the preliminary objections in which dismiss[ed] as inadmissible the preliminary objection brought by the State of Guatemala and decided to continue the examinatiuon of the case.
On January 28 and 29, 1999, the Court held a public hearing on the merits in this case and received the declarations of the witnesses and the reports of the experts proposed by the Commission; furthermore, the Court heard the final oral statements of the parties.
3) Baena Ricardo et al. Case: Preliminary Objections Phase. On November 15 and 16, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on the preliminary objections raised by the State of Panama 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 preliminary objections submitted by the State of Panama in this case, which were opposed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, allege the inadmissibility 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; the subject of the application which, according to the State, is the same subject-matter of a petition already examined by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the allegedviolation, by the Commission, of the rule regarding confidentiality when Report 37/97 was sent to the petitioners.
The Commission submitted the application in this case on January 16, 1998, which refers to the alleged violations, by the State of Panama, of Articles 8 (Right to a Fair Trail), 9 (Freedom from 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 that caused the alleged arbitrary release of 270 public employees who had participated in a march for labor benefits as well as 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 the 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.
4) Public hearings
Furthermore, during this regular session the Court will hold the following public hearings:
Aguilera La Rosa et al. Case. On November 10, at 11:00 a.m., the Court will hold a public hearing at its seat, in which the statements of the State of Venezuela and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, will be heard.
The application in this case was submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on June 7, 1999, and it refers to the events occurred as of February and March, 1989, when 35 persons were allegedly extrajudicially executed, two persons dissappeared and three resulted injured by agents of the Venezuelan State. These facts motivated the processing before the Commission of Case No. 11.455. The Commission considers that Venezuela violated Articles 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights), 2 (Domestic Legal Effects), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), and 27 (Suspension of Guarantees), all of them of the American Convention on Human Rights.
Olmedo Bustos Case: Merits Phase. On November 18, at 10:00 a. m., the Court will hold a public hearing on the merits in this case to hear the witnesses and experts proposed by the Commission, who will testify about their knowledge of the facts of the application.
The application in this case was submitted by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on January 15, 1999 and refers to the alleged violations of some articles of the American Convention on Human Rights, arising from the judicial censorship, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Chile on June 17, 1997, of the exhibition of the film The Last Temptation of Christ. The Commission considers that the aforesaid decision violated the rights to Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Conscience, recognized by Articles 12 and 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, in prejudice of the Chilean society and, in particular, of Juan Pablo Olmedo-Bustos, Ciro Colombara-Lopez, Claudio Marquez-Vidal, Alex Muñoz-Wilson, Matias Insulza-Tagle and Hernan Aguirre-Fuentes. The Commission also requested this Court, based on Article 63(1) of the American Convention, to order the reparations of the consequences of the violations object of its application.
5) 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 Tribunal will analyze the various reports submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the States involved and the victims or their representatives in the cases that are in the Interpretation of Judgment Phase.
Moreover, on November 20, the Court will hold a meeting with the Members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Issues of common interest about the functioning of the organizations of the Inter-American System of Human Rights will be discussed in this encounter.
Seminary The Inter-American System of Protection of Human Rights
at the beginning of the XXI Century
Several celebrations will take place during November 1999, these are: the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the American Convention on Human Rights or Pacto de San Jose de Costa Rica, in November 1969; the twentieth anniversary of the installation of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, on September 3, 1979; and the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in August, 1959.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established upon the entry into force of the American Convention, on July 18, 1978, in accordance with Article 74(2) of the same. The American Convention was adopted on November 22, 1969 at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights that took place from November 7 to 22, 1969 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
To commemorate such important events, the Inter-American Court will carry out a Seminary of the highest academic standing with the participation of prestigious American, European and African jurists, members of recognized institutions dedicated to the defense, study, investigation and encouragement of human rights in the world. The Seminary has been named The Inter-American System of Protection of Human Rights at the beginning of the XXI Century, and will take place on November 23 and 24, in San Jose, upon the celebrations that the Illustrious State of Costa Rica is planning for the week of November 22 to 27, 1999.
The composition of the Court during this Regular Session is the following: Antônio A. CançadoTrindade (Brazil), President; Maximo Pacheco-Gómez (Chile), Vice-President; Hernan Salgado-Pesantes (Ecuador); Oliver Jackman (Barbados); Alirio Abreu-Burelli (Venezuela); Sergio Garcia-Ramirez (Mexico) and Carlos Vicente de Roux-Rengifo (Colombia). The Secretary of the Court is Manuel E. Ventura-Robles and the Deputy Secretary, Renzo Pomi.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States, formally established in 1979. It is formed by jurists of the highest moral standing and competence in the area of Human Rights. The Judges are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and cannot exercise their functions for more than two six year terms.
For further information, please address all requests to:
Manuel E. Ventura-Robles
Secretary, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
P.O. Box 6906-1000
San Jose, Costa Rica
Telephone: (506) 234-0581, Fax: (506) 234-0584
San Jose, October 27, 1999.
(*) El contenido de este comunicado es responsabilidad de la Secretaría de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. El texto oficial de los documentos reseñados puede obtenerse mediante solicitud escrita dirigida a la Secretaría, en la dirección que se adjunta.
(*) The contents of this release are the responsibility of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The official text of the documents may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Secretariat at the address provided at the end of this document.