PRESS RELEASE (*)
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold its XLII Regular Session at its seat in San Jose, Costa Rica, from November 16 to 27, 1998. During this Session, the Court will hear the following matters:
1) Castillo Páez Case: Reparations Phase. The Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on reparations in this Case, based on its Judgment of November 3, 1997, in which it decided that the State of Peru must repair the consequences of the violations that occurred as of October 21, 1990, when Mr. Ernesto 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 the Right to Personal Liberty (Article 7 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of the same), the Right to Humane Treatment (Article 5 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of the same), the Right to Life (Article 4 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of the same), and the Right to Judicial Protection (Article 25 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of the same) to the detriment of Ernesto Rafael Castillo-Paez, and in the case of the aforementioned Article 25, to the detriment of the victim's next-of-kin. Thus, the Court will determine the nature and amount of the reparations to be made to the victim's next-of-kin, and the reimbursement of the expenses that they have incurred in their representations before Peruvian authorities.
2) Loayza Tamayo Case: Reparations Phase. As in the Castillo Páez Case, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of passing Judgment on reparations and costs in the Loayza Tamayo 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 Mrs. Maria Elena Loayza-Tamayo was illegally deprived of her liberty and treated in a cruel, inhuman and degrading manner. According to the Judgment, the actions of the State of Peru violated her Right to Judicial Protection by subjecting her to trial twice for the same facts. The Court found the State had violated Article 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights), Article 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), Article 7, (Right to Personal Liberty), Article 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), Article 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), and Article 51(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights.
3) Bamaca Velasquez Case: Merits Phase. On November 22, beginning at 10:00 a.m., the Court will hold its third public hearing on the merits of this case to hear the testimony of several witnesses proposed by the Inter-American Commission, who have not previously appeared before the Court, and who will testify 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 violated Articles 3 (Right to Juridical Personality), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Judicial Guarantees), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), all in relation to Article 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights) of the American Convention. 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 reimburse the costs to the relatives of the victim.
4) Cesti Hurtado Case: Preliminary Objections Phase. On November 24 at 10:00 a.m., the Court will hold a public hearing on the preliminary objections submitted by the State of Peru. 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 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 (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 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 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.
5) Castillo Petruzzi et al. Case: Merits Phase. Beginning at 10:00 am on November 25, the Court will hold a public hearing on the merits of this case to hear the witnesses proposed by the parties, who will testify about their knowledge of the facts of the application.
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) 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.
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 Hurado Case, David Pezua Vivanco, appointed by the State of Peru as Judge ad hoc, will participate. In the Castillo Petruzzi Case, Fernando Vidal-Ramirez will participate as the ad hoc Judge appointed by the State of Peru. The Secretary of the Court, Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, and the Interim Deputy Secretary, Víctor M. Rodriguez-Rescia, 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.
San Jose, 6 November, 1998
(*) 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 document may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Secretariat at the address provided at the end of this document.