That the delivery of judgments and advisory opinions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has called for ongoing evaluation of the procedures laid down in its Rules of Procedure.
That it is the duty of the Court to ensure that the rules governing the procedures provide a genuine and effective guarantee of human rights.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS,
pursuant to Article 60 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 25(1) of its Statute,
ORDERS THE FOLLOWING RULES OF PROCEDURE:
RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE
INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Approved by the Court at its XXXIV Regular Session
held September 9 - 20, 1996
1. These Rules regulate the organization and establish the procedure of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
2. The Court may adopt such other Rules as may be necessary to carry out its functions.
3. In the absence of a provision in these Rules or in case of doubt as to their interpretation, the Court shall decide.
For the purposes of these Rules:
a. the term "agent" refers to the person designated by a State to represent it before the Court;
b. the expression "General Assembly" refers to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States;
c. the term "Commission" refers to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
d. the expression "Permanent Commission" refers to the Permanent Commission of the Court;
e. The expression "Permanent Council" refers to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States;
f. the term "Convention" refers to the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, Costa Rica);
g. the term "Court" refers to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights;
h. the expression "Delegates of the Commission" refers to the persons designated by the Commission to represent it before the Court;
i. the expression "original claimant" refers to the person, group of persons, or nongovernmental entity that instituted the original petition with the Commission, pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention;
j. the term "day" shall be understood to be a natural day;
k. the expression "States Parties" refers to the States that have ratified or adhered to the Convention;
l. the expression "Member States" refers to the States that are members of the Organization of American States;
m. the term "Statute" refers to the Statute of the Court, as adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States on October 31, 1979 (AG/RES. 448 [IX-0/79]), as amended;
n. the expression "report of the Commission" refers to the report provided for in Article 50 of the Convention;
o. the expression "judge ad hoc" refers to any judge appointed in pursuance of Article 55 of the Convention;
p. the expression "interim judge" refers to any judge appointed in pursuance of Articles 6(3) and 19(4) of the Statute;
q. the expression "titular judge" refers to any judge elected in pursuance of Articles 53 and 54 of the Convention;
r. the term "month" shall be understood to be a calendar month;
s. the acronym "OAS" refers to the Organization of American States;
t. the expression "parties to the case" refers to the parties in a case before the Court;
u. the term "Secretariat" refers to the Secretariat of the Court;
v. the term "Secretary" refers to the Secretary of the Court;
w. the expression "Deputy Secretary" refers to the Deputy Secretary of the Court;
x. the expression "Secretary General" refers to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States;
y. the term "victim" refers to the person whose rights under the Convention are alleged to have been violated.
ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE COURT
The Presidency and Vice-Presicency
Election of the President and Vice-President
1. The President and Vice-President shall be elected by the Court for a period of two years and may be reelected. Their terms shall begin on July 1 of the corresponding year. The election shall be held during the regular session nearest to that date.
2. The elections referred to in this Article shall be by secret ballot of the titular judges present. The judge who wins four or more votes shall be deemed to have been elected. If no candidate receives the required number of votes, a ballot shall take place between the two judges who have received the most votes. In the event of a tie, the judge having precedence in accordance with Article 13 of the Statute shall be deemed to have been elected.
Functions of the President
1. The functions of the President are to:
a. represent the Court;
b. preside over the meetings of the Court and to submit for its consideration the topics appearing on the agenda;
c. direct and promote the work of the Court;
d. rule on points of order that may arise during the meetings of the Court. If any judge so requests, the point of order shall be decided by a majority vote;
e. present a biannual report to the Court on the activities he has carried out as President during that period;
f. exercise such other functions as are conferred upon him by the Statute or these Rules, or entrusted to him by the Court.
2. In specific cases, the President may delegate the representation referred to in paragraph 1(a) of this Article to the Vice-President, to any of the judges or, if necessary, to the Secretary or Deputy Secretary.
3. If the President is a national of one of the parties to a case before the Court, or in special situations in which he considers it appropriate, he shall relinquish the Presidency for that particular case. The same rule shall apply to the Vice-President or to any judge called upon to exercise the functions of President.
Functions of the Vice-President
1. The Vice-President shall replace the President in the latter's temporary absence, and shall assume the Presidency when the absence is permanent. In the latter case, the Court shall elect a Vice-President to serve out that term. The same procedure shall be followed if the absence of the Vice-President is permanent.
2. In the absence of the President and the Vice-President, their functions shall be assumed by the other judges in the order of precedence established in Article 13 of the Statute.
1. The Permanent Commission shall be composed of the President, the Vice-President and any other judges the President deems it appropriate to appoint, according to the needs of the Court. The Permanent Commission shall assist the President in the exercise of his functions.
2. The Court may appoint other commissions for specific matters. In urgent cases, they may be appointed by the President if the Court is not in session.
3. In the performance of their functions, the commissions shall be governed by the provisions of these Rules, as applicable.
Election of the Secretary
1. The Court shall elect its Secretary, who must possess the legal qualifications required for the position, a good command of the working languages of the Court, and the experience necessary for discharging his functions.
2. The Secretary shall be elected for a term of five years and may be re-elected. He may be freely removed at any time if the Court so decides by the vote of not less than four judges. The vote shall be by secret ballot.
3. The Secretary shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of Article 3(2) of these Rules.
1. The Deputy Secretary shall be appointed on the proposal of the Secretary of the Court, in the manner prescribed in the Statute. He shall assist the Secretary in the performance of his functions and replace him during his temporary absences.
2. If the Secretary and Deputy Secretary are both unable to perform their functions, the President may appoint an Interim Secretary.
1. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary shall take an oath in the presence of the President.
2. The staff of the Secretariat, including any persons called upon to perform interim or temporary duties, shall, upon assuming their functions, take an oath before the President undertaking to respect the confidential nature of any facts that may come to their attention during their performance of such duties. If the President is not present at the seat of the Court, the Secretary shall administer the oath.
3. All oaths shall be recorded in a document which shall be signed by the person being sworn and by the person administering the oath.
Functions of the Secretary
The functions of the Secretary shall be to:
a. communicate the judgments, advisory opinions, orders and other rulings of the Court;
b. keep the minutes of the meetings of the Court;
c. attend all meetings of the Court held at its seat or elsewhere;
d. deal with the correspondence of the Court;
e. direct the administration of the Court, pursuant to the instructions of the President;
f. prepare the draft programs, rules and regulations, and budgets of the Court;
g. plan, direct and coordinate the work of the staff of the Court;
h. carry out the tasks assigned to him by the Court or the President;
i. perform any other duties provided for in the Statute and in these Rules.
Functioning of the Court
The Court shall meet in two regular sessions each year, one during each semester, on the dates decided upon by the Court at the previous session. In exceptional circumstances, the President may change the dates of these sessions after prior consultation with the Court.
Special sessions may be convoked by the President on his own initiative or at the request of a majority of the judges.
The quorum for the deliberations of the Court shall consist of five judges.
Hearings, Deliberations and Decisions
1. Hearings shall be public and shall be held at the seat of the Court. When exceptional circumstances so warrant, the Court may decide to hold a hearing in private or at a different location. The Court shall decide who may attend such hearings. Even in these exceptional circumstances, however, minutes shall be kept in the manner prescribed in Article 42 of these Rules.
2. The Court shall deliberate in private, and its deliberations shall remain secret. Only the judges shall take part in the deliberations, although the Secretary and Deputy Secretary or their substitutes may attend, as well as such other Secretariat staff as may be required. No other persons may be admitted, except by special decision of the Court and after taking an oath.
3. Any question that calls for a vote shall be formulated in precise terms in one of the working languages. At the request of any of the judges, the Secretatiat shall translate the text thereof into the other working languages and distribute it prior to the vote.
4. The minutes of the deliberations of the Court shall be limited to a statement of the subject of the discussion and the decisions taken. Dissenting and concurring opinions and declarations made for the record shall also be noted.
Decisions and Voting
1. The President shall present, point by point, the matters to be voted upon. Each judge shall vote either in the affirmative or the negative; there shall be no abstentions.
2. The votes shall be cast in inverse order to the order of precedence established in Article 13 of the Statute.
3. The decisions of the Court shall be adopted by a majority of the judges present.
4. In the event of a tie, the President shall have a casting vote.
Continuation in Office by the Judges
1. Judges whose terms have expired shall continue to exercise their functions in cases that they have begun to hear and that are still pending. However, in the event of death, resignation or disqualification, the judge in question shall be replaced by the judge who was elected to take his place, if applicable, or by the judge who has precedence among the new judges elected upon expiration of the term of the judge to be replaced.
2. All matters relating to reparations and indemnities, as well as supervision of the implementation of the judgments of this Court, shall be heard by the judges comprising it at that stage of the proceedings, unless a public hearing has already been held. In that event, they shall be heard by the judges who had attended that hearing.
Interim judges shall have the same rights and functions as titular judges, except for such limitations as shall have been expressly established.
Judges Ad Hoc
1. In a case arising under Article 55(2) and 55(3) of the Convention and Article 10(2) and 10 (3) of the Statute, the President, acting through the Secretariat, shall inform the States referred to in those provisions of their right to appoint an judge ad hoc within thirty days of notification of the petition.
2. When it appears that two or more States have a common interest, the President shall inform them that they may jointly appoint one judge ad hoc, pursuant to Article 10 of the Statute. If those States have not communicated any agreement to the Court within thirty days of the last notification of the petition, each State shall have fifteen days in which to propose a candidate. Thereafter, and if more than one candidate has been nominated, the President shall choose one judge ad hoc by lot, and shall communicate the result to the interested parties.
3. Should the interested States fail to exercise their right within the time limits established in the preceding paragraphs, they shall be deemed to have waived that right.
4. The Secretary shall communicate the appointment of judges ad hoc to the other parties to the case.
5. A judge ad hoc shall take an oath at the first meeting devoted to the consideration of the case for which he has been appointed.
6. Judges ad hoc shall receive honoraria on the same terms as titular judges.
1. Disqualification of a judge shall be governed by the provisions of Article 19 of the Statute.
2. Motions for disqualification must be filed prior to the first hearing of the case. However, if the grounds therefor were not known at the time, such motions may be submitted to the Court at the first possible opportunity, so that it can rule on the matter immediately.
3. When, for any reason whatsoever, a judge is not present at one of the hearings or at other stages of the proceedings, the Court may decide to disqualify him from continuing to hear the case, taking all the circumstances it deems relevant into account.
1. The official languages of the Court shall be those of the OAS.
2. The working languages shall be those agreed upon by the Court each year. However, in a specific case, the language of one of the parties may be adopted as a working language, provided it is one of the official languages.
3. The working languages for each case shall be determined at the start of the proceedings, unless they are the same as those already being employed by the Court.
4. The Court may authorize any person appearing before it to use his own language if he does not have sufficient knowledge of the working languages. In such circumstances, however, the Court shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure that an interpreter is present to translate that testimony into the working languages.
5. The Court shall, in all cases, determine which text is authentic.
Representation of the States
1. The States parties to a case shall be represented by an Agent, who may, in turn, be assisted by any persons of his choice.
2. If a State replaces its Agent, it shall so notify the Court, and the replacement shall only take effect once the notification has been received at the seat of the Court.
3. A Deputy Agent may be designated. His actions shall have the same validity as those of the Agent.
4. When appointing its Agent, the State in question shall indicate the address at which all relevant communications shall be deemed to have been officially received.
Representation of the Commission
1. The Commission shall be represented by the Delegates it has designated for the purpose. The Delegates may be assisted by any persons of their choice.
2. If the original claimant or the representatives of the victims or of their next of kin are among the persons selected by the Delegates of the Commission to assist them, in accordance with the preceding paragraph, that fact shall be brought to the attention of the Court, which shall, on the proposal of the Commission, authorize their participation in the discussions.
Representation of the Victims or their Next of Kin
At the reparations stage, the representatives of the victims or of their next of kin may independently submit their own arguments and evidence.
Cooperation of the States
1. The States parties to a case have the obligation to cooperate so as to ensure that all notices, communications or summonses addressed to persons subject to their jurisdiction are duly executed. They shall also expedite compliance with summonses by persons who either reside or are present within their territory.
2. The same rule shall apply to any proceedings that the Court decides to conduct or order on the territory of a State party to a case.
3. When the performance of any of the measures referred to in the preceding paragraphs requires the cooperation of any other State, the President shall request the government in question to provide the requisite assistance.
1. At any stage of the proceedings involving cases of extreme gravity and urgency, and when necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons, the Court may, at the request of a party or on its own motion, order such provisional measures as it deems pertinent, pursuant to Article 63(2) of the Convention.
2. With respect to matters not yet submitted to it, the Court may act at the request of the Commission.
3. The request may be made to the President, to any judge of the Court, or to the Secretariat, by any means of communication. The recipient of the request shall immediately bring it to the President's attention.
4. If the Court is not sitting, the President, in consultation with the Permanent Commission and, if possible, with the other judges, shall call upon the government concerned to adopt such urgent measures as may be necessary to ensure the effectiveness of any provisional measures subsequently ordered by the Court at its next session.
5. In its Annual Report to the General Assembly, the Court shall include a statement concerning the provisional measures ordered during the period covered by the report. If those measures have not been duly implemented, the Court shall make such recommendations as it deems appropriate.
Filing of Briefs
1. The application and the reply thereto, and the communication setting out the preliminary objections and the reply thereto, as well as any other briefs addressed to the Court, may be presented in person, by courier, facsimile, telex, mail or any other method in general use. If they are dispatched by electronic mail, the original documents must be submitted within fifteen days.
2. The President may, in consultation with the Permanent Commission, reject any communication from the parties which he considers patently unreceivable, and shall order that it be returned to the interested party, without further action.
1. When a party fails to appear in or continue with a case, the Court shall, on its own motion, take such measures as may be necessary to complete the consideration of the case.
2. When a party enters a case at a later stage of the proceedings, it shall take up the proceedings at that stage.
Joinder of Cases and Proceedings
1. The Court may, at any stage of the proceedings, order the joinder of interrelated cases.
2. The Court may also order the joinder of the written or oral proceedings of several cases, including the introduction of witnesses.
3. After consulting the Agents and the Delegates, the President may direct that the proceedings in two or more cases be conducted simultaneously.
1. The judgments and interlocutory decisions for discontinuance of a case shall be rendered exclusively by the Court.
2. All other orders shall be rendered by the Court if it is sitting, and by the President if it is not, unless otherwise provided. Decisions of the President that are not purely procedural may be appealed before the Court.
3. Judgments and decisions of the Court may not be contested in any way.
Publication of Judgments and Other Decisions
1. The Court shall order the publication of:
a. the judgments and other decisions of the Court; the former shall include only those explanations of votes which fulfill the requirements set forth in Article 55(2) of these Rules;
b. documents from the dossier, except those considered irrelevant or unsuitable for publication;
c. the records of the hearings;
d. any other document that the Court considers suitable for publication.
2. The judgments shall be published in the working languages used in each case. All other documents shall be published in their original language.
3. Documents relating to cases already adjudicated, and deposited with the Secretariat of the Court, shall be made accessible to the public, unless the Court decides otherwise.
Application of Article 63(1) of the Convention
Application of this provision may be invoked at any stage of the proceedings.
Institution of the Proceedings
For a case to be referred to the Court under Article 61(1) of the Convention, the application shall be filed with the Secretariat of the Court in each of the working languages. Whereas the filing of an application in only one working language shall not suspend the proceeding, the translations into the other language or languages must be submitted within thirty days.
Filing of the Application
The brief containing the application shall indicate:
1. the parties to the case; the purpose of the application; a statement of the facts; the supporting evidence, specifying the facts on which they will bear; the particulars of the witnesses and expert witnesses; the legal arguments, and the conclusions reached.
2. The names of the Agents and Delegates.
If the application is filed by the Commission, it shall be accompanied by the report referred to in Article 50 of the Convention.
Preliminary Review of the Application
When, during a preliminary review of the application, the President finds that the basic requirements have not been met, he shall request the Applicant to correct any deficiencies within twenty days.
Notification of the Application
1. The Secretary of the Court shall give notice of the application to:
a. The President and the judges of the Court;
b. the respondent State;
c. the Commission, when it is not also the Applicant;
d. the original claimant, if known;
e. the victim or his next of kin, if applicable.
2. The Secretary of the Court shall inform the other States Parties and the Secretary General of the filing of the application.
3. When giving notice, the Secretary shall request that the respondent States designate their Agent, and that the Commission appoint its Delegates, within one month. Until the Delegates are duly appointed, the Commission shall be deemed to be properly represented by its Chairman for all purposes of the case.
1. Preliminary objections shall be filed within two months of notification of the application.
2. The document setting out the preliminary objections shall be filed with the Secretariat and shall set out the facts on which the objection is based, the legal arguments, and the conclusions and supporting documents, as well as any evidence which the party filing the objection may wish to produce.
3. The Secretary shall immediately give notice of the preliminary objections to the persons indicated in Article 35(1) above.
4. The presentation of preliminary objections shall not cause the suspension of the proceedings on the merits, nor of the respective time periods or terms.
5. Any parties to the case wishing to submit written briefs on the preliminary objections may do so within thirty days of receipt of the communication.
6. The Court may, if it deems it appropriate, convene a special hearing on the preliminary objections, after which it shall rule on the objections.
Answer to the application
The respondent shall answer the application in writing within four months of the notification. The requirements indicated in Article 33 of these Rules shall apply. The Secretary shall communicate the answer to the persons referred to in Article 35(1) above.
Other Steps in the Written Proceedings
Once the application has been answered, and before the start of the oral proceedings, the parties may seek the permission of the President to enter additional written pleadings. In such a case, the President, if he sees fit, shall establish the time limits for presentation of the relevant documents.
The President shall announce the date for the opening of the oral proceedings and shall call such hearings as may be necessary.
Conduct of the Hearings
The President shall direct the hearings. He shall prescribe the order in which the persons eligible to take part shall be heard, and determine the measures required for the smooth conduct of the hearings.
Questions Put During the Hearings
1. The judges may ask all persons appearing before the Court any questions they deem proper.
2. The witnesses, expert witnesses and any other persons the Court decides to hear may, subject to the control of the President, be examined by the persons referred to in Articles 21, 22 and 23 of these Rules.
3. The President is empowered to rule on the relevance of the questions posed and to excuse the person to whom the questions are addressed from replying, unless the Court decides otherwise.
Minutes of the Hearings
1. Minutes shall be taken at each hearing and shall contain the following:
a. the names of the judges present;
b. the names of those persons referred to in Articles 21, 22 and 23 of these Rules, who are present at the hearing;
c. the names and other relevant information concerning the witnesses, expert witnesses and other persons appearing at the hearing;
d. statements made expressly for the record by the States parties to the case or by the Commission;
e. the statements of the witnesses, expert witnesses and other persons appearing at the hearing, as well as the questions put to them and the replies thereto;
f. the text of the questions put by the judges and the replies thereto;
g. the text of any decisions rendered by the Court during the hearing.
2. The Agents and Delegates, as well as the witnesses, expert witnesses and other persons appearing at the hearing, shall receive a copy of the relevant parts of the transcript of the hearing to enable them, subject to the control of the Secretary, to correct any substantive errors. The Secretary shall set the time limits for this purpose, in accordance with the instructions of the President.
3. The minutes shall be signed by the President and the Secretary, and the latter shall attest to their accuracy.
4. Copies of the minutes shall be transmitted to the Agents and Delegates.
Admission of Evidence
Items of evidence tendered by the parties shall be admissible only if previous notification thereof is contained in the application and in the reply thereto and, where appropriate, in the communication setting out the preliminary objections and in the answer thereto. Should any of the parties allege force majeure, serious impediment or the emergence of supervening events as grounds for producing an item of evidence, the Court may, in that particular instance, admit such evidence at a time other than those indicated above, provided that the opposing party is guaranteed the right of defense.
Procedure for Taking Evidence
The Court may, at any stage of the proceedings:
1. Obtain, on is own motion, any evidence it considers helpful. In particular, it may hear as a witness, expert witness, or in any other capacity, any person whose evidence, statement or opinion it deems be to relevant.
2. Invite the parties to provide any evidence at their disposal or any explanation or statement that, in its opinion, may be useful.
3. Request any entity, office, organ or authority of its choice to obtain information, express an opinion, or deliver a report or pronouncement on any given point. The documents may not be published without the authorization of the Court.
4. Commission one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry, undertake an in situ investigation or obtain evidence in some other manner.
Cost of Evidence
The party requesting the production of evidence shall defray the cost thereof.
Convocation of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
1. The Court shall determine when the parties are to call their witnesses and expert witnesses whom the Court considers it necessary to hear. They shall be summoned in the manner deemed most suitable by the Court.
2. The summons shall indicate:
a. the name of the witness or expert witness;
b. the facts on which the examination will bear or the object of the expert opinion.
Oath or Solemn Declaration by Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
1. After his identity has been established and before giving evidence, every witness shall take an oath or make a solemn declaration as follows:
"I swear" -- or "I solemnly declare" -- "upon my honor and conscience that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
2. After his identity has been established and before performing his task, every expert witness shall take an oath or make a solemn declaration as follows:
"I swear" -- or "I solemnly declare" -- "that I will discharge my duty as an expert witness honorably and conscientiously."
Objections to Witnesses
1. The interested party may object to a witness before he testifies.
2. If the Court considers it necessary, it may nevertheless hear, for purposes of information, a person who is not qualified to be heard as a witness.
3. The Court shall assess the value of the testimony and of the objections by the parties.
Objections to an Expert Witness
1. The grounds for disqualification applicable to judges under Article 19(1) of the Statute shall also apply to expert witnesses.
2. Objections shall be presented within fifteen days of notification of the appointment of the expert witness.
3. If the expert witness who has been challenged contests the ground invoked against him, the Court shall rule on the matter. However, when the Court is not in session, the President may, after consultation with the Permanent Commission, order the evidence to be presented. The Court shall be informed thereof and shall rule on the value of the evidence.
4. Should it become necessary to appoint a new expert witness, the Court shall rule on the matter. Nevertheless, if the evidence needs to be heard as a matter of urgency, the President, after consultation with the Permanent Commission, shall make the appointment and inform the Court accordingly. The Court shall rule on the value of the evidence.
Protection of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
States may neither institute proceedings against witnesses or expert witnesses nor bring illicit pressure to bear on them or on their families on account of declarations or opinions they have delivered before the Court.
Failure to Appear or False Evidence
The Court may request that the States apply the sanctions provided in their domestic legislation against persons who, without good reason, fail to appear or refuse to give evidence or who, in the opinion of the Court, have violated their oath
Early Termination of the Proceedings
1. When the party that has brought the case notifies the Court of its intention not to proceed with it, the Court shall, after hearing the opinions of the other parties thereto and the representatives of the victims or their next of kin, decide whether to discontinue the hearing and, consequently, to strike the case from its list.
2. If the respondent informs the Court of its acquiescence in the claims of the party that has brought the case, the Court shall decide, after hearing the opinions of the latter and the representatives of the victims or their next of kin, whether such acquiescence and its juridical effects are acceptable. In that event, the Court shall determine the appropriate reparations and indemnities.
When the parties to a case before the Court inform it of the existence of a friendly settlement, compromise, or any other occurrence likely to lead to a settlement of the dispute, the Court may, in that case and after hearing the representatives of the victims or their next of kin, decide to discontinue the hearing and strike the case from its list.
Continuation of a Case
The existence of the conditions indicated in the preceding paragraphs notwithstanding, the Court may, bearing in mind its responsibility to protect human rights, decide to continue the consideration of a case.
Contents of the Judgment
1. The judgment shall contain:
a. the names of the President, the judges who rendered it, and the Secretary and Deputy Secretary.
b. the identity of the parties and their representatives and, where appropriate, of the representatives of the victims or their next of kin;
c. a description of the proceedings;
d. the facts of the case;
e. the conclusions of the parties;
f. the legal arguments;
g. the ruling on the case;
h. the decision, if any, in regard to costs;
i. the result of the voting;
j. a statement indicating which text is authentic.
2. Any judge who has taken part in the consideration of a case is entitled to append a dissenting or concurring opinion to the judgment. These opinions shall be submitted within a time limit to be fixed by the President, so that the other judges may take cognizance thereof prior to notification of the judgment.
Judgment on Reparations
1. When no specific ruling on reparations has been made in the judgment on the merits, the Court shall set the time and determine the procedure for the deferred decision thereon.
2. If the Court is informed that the injured party and the party adjudged to be responsible have reached an agreement in regard to the execution of the judgment on the merits, it shall verify the fairness of the agreement and rule accordingly.
Delivery and Communication of the Judgment
1. When a case is ready for a judgment, the Court shall meet in private. A preliminary vote shall be taken, the wording of the judgment approved, and a date fixed for the public hearing at which the parties shall be so notified.
2. The texts, legal arguments and votes shall all remain secret until the parties have been notified of the judgment,.
3. Judgments shall be signed by all the judges who participated in the voting and by the Secretary. However, a judgment signed by only a majority of the judges shall be valid.
4. Dissenting or concurring opinions shall be signed by the judges submitting them and by the Secretary.
5. The judgments shall conclude with an order, signed by the President and the Secretary and sealed by the latter, providing for the communication and execution of the judgment.
6. The originals of the judgments shall be deposited in the archives of the Court. The Secretary shall dispatch certified copies to the States parties to the case, the Commission, the President of the Permanent Council, the Secretary General, the representatives of the victims or their next of kin, and any interested persons who request them.
7. The Secretary shall transmit the judgment to all the States Parties.
Request for Interpretation
1. The request for interpretation, referred to in Article 67 of the Convention, may be made in connection with judgments on the merits or on reparations and shall be filed with the Secretariat. It shall state with precision the issues relating to the meaning or scope of the judgment of which the interpretation is requested.
2. The Secretary shall transmit the request for interpretation to the States that are parties to the case and to the Commission, as appropriate, and shall invite them to submit any written comments they deem relevant, within a time limit established by the President.
3. When considering a request for interpretation, the Court shall be composed, whenever possible, of the same judges who delivered the judgment of which the interpretation is being sought. However, in the event of death, resignation or disqualification, the judge in question shall be replaced pursuant to Article 16 of these Rules.
4. A request for interpretation shall not suspend the effect of the judgment.
5. The Court shall determine the procedure to be followed and shall render its decision in the form of a judgment.
Interpretation of the Convention
1. Requests for an advisory opinion under Article 64(1) of the Convention shall state with precision the specific questions on which the opinion of the Court is being sought.
2. Requests for an advisory opinion submitted by a Member State or by the Commission shall, in addition, identify the provisions to be interpreted, the considerations giving rise to the request, and the names and addresses of the Agent or the Delegates.
3. If the advisory opinion is sought by an OAS organ other than the Commission, the request shall also specify, further to the information listed in the preceding paragraph, how it relates to the sphere of competence of the organ in question.
Interpretation of Other Treaties
1. If the interpretation requested refers to other treaties for the protection of human rights in the American states, as provided for in Article 64(1) of the Convention, the request shall indicate the name of, and parties to, the treaty, the specific questions on which the opinion of the Court is being sought, and the considerations giving rise to the request.
2. If the request is submitted by one of the organs of the OAS, it shall also indicate how the subject of the request falls within the sphere of competence of the organ in question.
Interpretation of Domestic Laws
1. A request for an advisory opinion presented pursuant to Article 64(2) of the Convention shall indicate the following:
a. the provisions of domestic law and of the Convention or of other treaties concerning the protection of human rights to which the request relates;
b. the specific questions on which the opinion of the Court is being sought;
c. the name and address of the applicant's Agent.
2. Copies of the domestic laws referred to in the request shall accompany the application.
1. On receipt of a request for an advisory opinion, the Secretary shall transmit copies thereof to all the Member States, the Commission, the Secretary General, and the OAS organs within whose spheres of competence the subject of the request falls, as appropriate.
2. The President shall establish the time limits for the filing of written comments by the interested parties.
3. The President may invite or authorize any interested party to submit a written opinion on the issues covered by the request. If the request is governed by Article 64(2) of the Convention, he may do so after prior consultation with the Agent.
4. At the conclusion of the written proceedings, the Court shall decide whether there should be oral proceedings and shall fix the date for such a hearing, unless it delegates the latter task to the President. Prior consultation with the Agent is required in cases governed by Article 64(2) of the Convention.
Application by Analogy
The Court shall apply the provisions of Title II of these Rules to advisory proceedings, to the extent that it deems them to be compatible.
Delivery and Content of Advisory Opinions
1. The delivery of advisory opinions shall be governed by Article 57 of these Rules.
2. Advisory opinions shall contain:
a. the name of the President, the judges who rendered the opinion, and the Secretary and Deputy Secretary;
b. the issues presented to the Court;
c. a description of the various steps in the proceedings;
d. the legal arguments;
e. the opinion of the Court;
f. a statement indicating which text is authentic.
3. Any judge who has taken part in the delivery of an advisory opinion is entitled to append a dissenting or concurring opinion to the opinion of the Court. These opinions shall be submitted within a time limit to be fixed by the President, so that the other judges can take cognizance thereof before the advisory opinion is rendered. They shall be published in accordance with Article 30(1)(a) of these Rules.
4. Advisory opinions may be delivered in public.
FINAL AND TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
Amendments to the Rules of Procedure
These Rules of Procedure may be amended by the decision of an absolute majority of the titular judges of the Court. Upon their entry into force, they shall abrogate the previous Rules of Procedure.
Entry into Force
These Rules of Procedure, the Spanish and English versions of which are equally authentic, shall enter into force on January 1, 1997.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Article 1. Purpose
Article 2. Definitions
ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE COURT
The Presidency and Vice Presidency
Article 3. Election of the President and Vice-President
Article 4. Functions of the President
Article 5. Functions of the Vice-President
Article 6. Commissions
Article 7. Election of the Secretary
Article 8. Deputy Secretary
Article 9. Oath
Article 10. Functions of the Secretary
Functioning of the Court
Article 11. Regular Sessions
Article 12. Special Sessions
Article 13. Quorum
Article 14. Hearings, Deliberations and Decisions
Article 15. Decisions and Voting
Article 16. Continuation in Office by the Judges
Article 17. Interim Judges
Article 18. Judges ad hoc
Article 19. Disqualification
Article 20. Official Languages
Article 21. Representation of the States
Article 22. Representation of the Commission
Article 23. Representation of the Victims or Their Next of Kin
Article 24. Cooperation by the States
Article 25. Provisional Measures
Article 26. Filing of Briefs
Article 27. Default Procedure
Article 28. Joinder of Cases and Proceedings
Article 29. Decisions
Article 30. Publication of Judgments and Other Decisions
Article 31. Application of Article 63(1) of the Convention
Article 32. Institution of the Proceedings
Article 33. Filing of the Application
Article 34. Preliminary Review of the Application
Article 35. Notification of the Application
Article 36. Preliminary Objections
Article 37. Answer to the Application
Article 38. Other Steps in the Proceedings
Article 39. Opening
Article 40. Conduct of the Hearings
Article 41. Questions Put During the Hearings
Article 42. Minutes of the Hearings
Article 43. Admission of Evidence
Article 44. Procedure for Taking Evidence
Article 45. Cost of Requested Evidence
Article 46. Convocation of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Article 47. Oath or Solemn Declaration by Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Article 48. Objections to Witnesses
Article 49. Objections to an Expert Witness
Article 50. Protection of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
Article 51. Failure to Appear or False Evidence
Early termination of the Proceedings
Article 52. Discontinuance
Article 53. Friendly Settlement
Article 54. Continuation of a Case
Article 55. Contents of the Judgments
Article 56. Judgment on Reparations
Article 57. Delivery and Communication of the Judgment
Article 58. Request for Interpretation
Article 59. Interpretation of the Convention
Article 60. Interpretation of Other Treaties
Article 61. Interpretation of Domestic Laws
Article 62. Procedure
Article 63. Application by Analogy
Article 64. Delivery and Content of Advisory Opinions
FINAL AND TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
Article 65. Amendments to the Rules of Procedure
Article 66. Entry into Force
Done at the seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica on this sixteenth day of September, 1996.
Antônio A. Cançado Trindade
Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, Secretary
Manuel E. Ventura-Robles
Home / Treaties / Search / Links