I) GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) held its XXVII period of regular sessions from June 1st through the 4th, 1997, in Lima, Perú. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was represented by its President, Judge Héctor Fix-Zamudio and its Vice-President, Judge Hernán Salgado Pesantes. The Secretary of the Court, Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, was also present.
1. The 1996 Annual Report of the Court
The Assembly approved the Annual Report of the activities of the Court for 1996. In this resolution, the General Assembly decided:
"1. To note with satisfaction the work of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
2. To support appropriate financing to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights within the available resources of the Organization, so it can continue to fulfill the high functions entrusted to it by the American Convention on Human Rights.
3. To reiterate its gratitude to the European Union for the contribution it has made to the Court in order to fulfill the project 'Support for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,' Third stage.
4. To appeal to the member States of the OAS that have not yet ratified or adhered to the American Convention on Human Rights 'Pact of San José' to do so, and to consider accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
5. To receive and transmit to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights the observations and recommendations of the Permanent Council of the Organization on the Annual Report.
6. To express its recognition and congratulations to the Judge Héctor Fix-Zamudio, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the occassion of his forthcoming retirement after twelve years of uninterrupted work during which he completed an extraordinary and brilliant job for the benefit of the human rights cause in the hemisphere."
2. Approval of the Budget of the Court for 1998
The General Assembly approved a 10% increase in the budget of the Court for 1998.
3. Election of judges to the Court
During this session the General Assembly elected four judges to occupy the seats that will be left vacant at the end of the present year. Two judges of the Court were re-elected in their functions: Hernán Salgado-Pesantes, Vice-President (Ecuador) and Máximo Pacheco-Gómez (Chile). The new judges that were elected for a six year period starting January 1, 1997, are, in order of precedence in accordance with article 13.2 of the Rules of Procedure, Sergio García Ramírez (México) and Carlos Vicente De Roux (Colombia).
II) SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, June 13, 1997, the President of the Court, Judge Héctor Fix-Zamudio, and the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission, Ambassador Dieter König, signed in San José, Costa Rica, the agreement constituting the third stage of the project "Support for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights." This project, financed by the European Union, has as its fundamental purpose the development of activities which would strengthen and modernize the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights through supporting the work of the Inter-American Court. The project, which began developing in 1994, has successfully complied with its first two stages; referring specifically to the publication of the jurisprudence and relevant documents of the Court, its technological development and the improvement of its library.
The purpose of the third stage of this project is to consolidate the system of circulation of the publications of the Court and to develop and consolidate new resources and sources of information for the use of the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.
III) PUBLICATION OF THE COLLECTION "BASIC DOCUMENTS OF THE
INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM OF HUMAN RIGHTS"
In June of 1997, the Secretariat of the Court presented the Spanish version of the collection "Basic Documents of the Inter-American System of Human Rights." This volume has been published with the financial assistance of the European Union within the frame of the second stage of the project "Support for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights."
The compilation includes an introduction referring to the Organization of American States and to the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights, as well as the official text of the main instruments of which it is composed: American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, Costa Rica), Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador), Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Erradicate Violence Against Women. The volume also includes the Statute and Rules of Procedure of the two organs of the Inter-American system, the Commission and the Court, along with a model of complaint before the Inter-American Commission.
The Secretariat of the Court expects to publish the English version of this document in the course of the coming months.
For more information please contact:
Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, Secretary
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
P.O. Box 6906-1000
San José, Costa Rica
Telephone (506) 234-0581. FAX (506) 234-0584.
San José, June 20, 1997.
The Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Court was later reformed and adopted during the XXIII Regular Session, held from January 9th through the 18th, 1991. During the XXXIV Regular Session, held from September 9th through the 20th, 1996, it was entirely reformed again through the Rules of Procedure in force since January 1, 1997.
During the XXIV Regular Session of the General Assembly of the OAS, held in Belém do Pará, Brazil, the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons was adopted. The Convention entered into force March 28, 1996, thirty days after the deposit of the second instrument of ratification.
This Convention establishes a detailed definition of forced disappearances and indicates those responsible for that crime. The States Parties not only promise not to practice, permit, or tolerate forced disappearances, but also to sanction the authors, accomplices and accessories of that crime within their jurisdictions. The States promise to adopt legislation to declare forced disappearances as a crime and to cooperate among states to contribute to the prevention, sanction and erradication of such disappearances, taking all the necessary measures to fulfill the obligations established within the Convention. Furthermore, this Convention establishes that extradition will be justified for the commission of this crime so that a person accussed of the crime will not be able to avoid punishment by fleeing to the territory of another State Party.
During the XXIV Regular Session of the General Assembly of the OAS which took place in Belém do Pará, Brazil, the Inter-American Convention for the Prevention, Punishment and Erradication of Violence Against Women, "Convention of Belém do Pará", was approved. This Convention entered into force March 5, 1995, thirty days after the deposit of the second instrument of ratification.
This Convention establishes a detailed definition of violence against women, including physical, sexual and psychological violence.