28. The Commission filed an application with the Court on May 20, 2002, and designated Messrs. José Zalaquett and Santiago A. Canton as its delegates, with Ariel Dulitzky, Ignacio Álvarez and Mary Beloff as legal advisors.
29. Once the President of the Court (hereinafter “the President”) had made a preliminary review of the application, on June 25, 2002 the Secretariat of the Court (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) notified the respondent State of the application and its appendixes and advised it of the deadlines for answering the application and for designating its representation in the case. That same day, by instruction of the President, the Secretariat advised the State of its right to appoint a Judge ad hoc to participate in the deliberations on the instant case.
30. On June 21, 2002, the Court issued an order wherein it admitted the application filed in the instant case with regard to the persons named in the application. The Court also asked the Commission to identify by name, within three months, “the children and adolescents confined in the ‘Panchito López’ Juvenile Reeducation Institute between August 1996 and July 2001, and subsequently remanded to adult prisons in the country.” It advised the Commission that if that information was not provided the case would still go forward, but only those persons named in the application would be regarded as the alleged victims in the case.
31. On June 27, 2002, pursuant to Article 35(1)(d) and (e) of the Rules of Court, the Secretariat sent CEJIL, as original claimant in the case before the Commission and as representative of the alleged victims, notification that the application had been filed so that, pursuant to Article 35(4) of the Rules of Court,1 it might present its brief of pleadings, motions and evidence (hereinafter “brief of pleadings and motions”) within a period of 30 days.
32. On July 18, 2002, the State designated Mr. Julio Duarte Van Humbeck as its Agent, and Mr. Mario Sandoval as its Alternate Agent.
33. On July 31, 2002, after being granted an extension, the State designated Mr. Víctor Manuel Núñez Rodríguez as Judge ad hoc in the instant case. It also provided a new address for official receipt of all pertinent communications.
34. On September 19, 2002, the Commission sent a “complete list of the names of the inmates at the Panchito López Juvenile Reeducation Institute between August 1996 and July 2001.” This was the list that the State had sent to the Commission on August 26, 2002. The Commission stated further that it was in the process of developing a single database, which it would send to the Court “as soon as possible.” On October 2, 2002, the Secretariat asked the Commission to re-send certain pages of that list that were illegible. On October 4, 2002, the Commission reported that the copies it provided to the Court were the only ones it had in its possession. The Commission therefore petitioned the Court to order the State to forward those pages to the Court, as they were official documents prepared by the Paraguayan authorities.
35. On October 15, 2002, after being given two extensions, the representatives submitted their written brief of pleadings and motions wherein they alleged, in addition to violating the Articles cited by the Commission (supra 2 and 3), that the State had also violated Article 26 (Progressive Development) of the American Convention, and Article 2 (Domestic Legal Effects) thereof. The representatives also petitioned the Court to order the State to adopt certain measures of reparations and to reimburse costs and expenses.
36. On November 19, 2002, the Commission sent the “combined chart” of the alleged victims in the case mentioned in its September 19, 2002 note (supra para. 34).
37. On November 14, 2002, the State asked the Court to order the Commission to provide certain minutes of the hearings it (the Commission) had held on the case. On December 5, 2002, the Secretariat asked the State to explain the reason why it wanted the Commission to be instructed to provide the minutes of the hearings and what the necessity was. In a communication of that same date, the State argued that the minutes in question accurately reflected the positions of the parties.
38. On December 13, 2002, the State, after being granted four extensions, filed preliminary objections, answered the application, and presented its observations on the brief of pleadings and motions. The State’s preliminary objections were as follows: 1) a legal defect in the presentation of the application; 2) failure to previously assert violation of Article 26 of the Convention; and 3) the existence of two complaints, one in a domestic court and another in an international court, with identical subjects, object and cause of action.
39. After having been granted three extensions, on February 21, 2003 the Commission presented its observations on the brief of pleadings and motions filed by the representatives on October 15, 2002 (supra para. 35). In that same submission, the Commission also presented its comments on the preliminary objections raised by the State on December 13, 2002 (supra para. 38). The Commission provided appendixes with that brief.
40. On February 24, 2003, the representatives sent new copies of the illegible or incomplete pages in the appendixes to its brief of pleadings and motions (supra para. 35).
41. On January 9, 2004, the Commission designated Mrs. Lilly Ching as a legal advisor, in place of Mrs. Mary Beloff.
42. On March 2, 2004, the President issued an order in which, pursuant to Article 47(3) of the Rules of Procedure, he instructed the following persons to make their statements in the presence of a person with legal authority to authenticate documents and statements (affidavits):
i. the witnesses offered by the Inter-American Commission: Walter Javier Riveros Rojas, Osmar López Verón, Pablo Emmanuel Rojas, Antonio Delgado, Francisco Ramón Adorno, Raúl Ramírez Bogado and Jorge Bogarín González;
ii. the witnesses offered by the representatives: Arsenio Joel Barrios Báez, Clemente Luis Escobar González, Hugo Antonio Vera Quintana, Concepción Ramos Duarte, María Teresa de Jesús Pérez, Silvia Portillo Martínez, Dirma Monserrat Peña and María Estela Barrios;
iii. the witnesses offered by the Commission and by the representatives: Jorge Daniel Toledo and Sixto Gonzáles Franco;
iv. the witnesses offered by the State: Fernando Vicente Canillas Vera, Teresa Almirón, Michael Sean O’Loingsigh, Teófilo Báez Zacarías, Estanislao Balbuena Jara, Carolina Nicora, Eduardo Giménez, Carolina Laspina de Vera, Mirtha Isabel Herrera Fleitas, Inés Ramona Bogarín Peralta, José Lezcano, Ana María Llanes, María Teresa Báez, Elizabeth Flores, Maureen Antoinette Herman, Teresa Alcaraz de Mencia, María Vilma Talavera de Bogado, Carlos Torres Alújas, Christian Rojas, Rubén Valdéz and Miguel Ángel Insaurralde Coeffier;
v. the expert witness offered by the Commission: Carlos Arestivo; and
vi. the expert witnesses offered by the State: Jorge Rolón Luna and Pedro Juan Mayor Martínez.
43. In that same order, the President also set a fixed twenty-day time period, not subject to extension or deferment and commencing as of the receipt of the affidavits (supra para. 42), for each party to present any comments it deemed pertinent with regard to the affidavits submitted by the other parties. In that same order (supra para. 42), the President summoned the Inter-American Commission, the representatives and the State to a public hearing to be held at the seat of the Court starting on May 3, 2004, to hear the parties’ final oral arguments with regard to the preliminary objections and eventual merits, reparations and costs, and the testimony of the witnesses and experts named below (infra para. 79). In that same order of March 2, 2004 (supra para. 42), the also President advised the parties that they had until July 5, 2004 to submit their final written pleadings.
44. On March 31, 2004, the representatives presented the affidavits (supra para. 42 and infra para. 70). On April 6, 2004, the representatives forwarded the testimony of Mrs. Silvia Portillo Martínez, which was not sworn in the presence of a person authorized by law to authenticate documents and statements. That statement had been requested in the President’s order of March 2, 2004 (supra para. 42), but was not sent with the statements received at the Secretariat on March 31, 2004. The representatives further advised that Sixto Gonzáles Franco, Concepción Ramos Duarte and María Estela Barrios, offered as witnesses, had been unable to make their statements in the presence of a person authorized by law to authenticate documents and statements. The representatives reported that they had not sent either video or audio tape recordings of those statements because of the “high costs” involved. On April 16, 2004, the representatives sent the originals of the statements they had sent to the Court via facsimile on March 31, 2004.
45. On March 31, 2004, the State presented the statements made by the witnesses and experts in the presence of the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay (supra para. 42). In that note the State reported that it was unable to take statements from witnesses María Teresa Baez and José Lezcano, and asked that some of the witnesses and experts it had offered and who had provided expert opinions and other testimony at the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay, be permitted to appear at the public hearing. On April 6, 2004, the State sent the originals of the statements that it had sent by fax on March 31, 2004, and enclosed copies of two books.2 46. On April 2, 2004, the Commission presented the affidavits of the witnesses and experts it had offered (supra para. 42). On April 5, 2004, the Commission re-submitted the affidavits and stated that “for reasons of force majeure” it had been unable to obtain sworn statements from witnesses Walter Javier Riveros Rojas, Pablo Emmanuel Rojas and Antonio Delgado. It also enclosed a video of the testimony given by Messrs. Francisco Ramón Adorno, Osmar López Verón and Raúl Guillermo Ramírez Bogado, and another with the testimony of Jorge Bogarín González and expert witness Carlos Arestivo. The Commission informed the Court that the affidavit of Mr. Jorge Daniel Toledo would be sent by the representatives. On April 7, 2004, the Commission sent the originals of the statements it had sent by facsimile on April 2, 2004. The representatives did not file any comments with regard to those statements.
47. On April 7, 2004, the President decided not to authorize the State’s request that some of its witnesses and experts be permitted to appear at the public hearing (supra para. 45), as the President deemed it unnecessary.
48. On April 18, 2004, the representatives informed the Court that Mr. Eduardo Gallardo was unable to provide an expert opinion. They also reported that Mrs. Liliana Tojo would be joining the team of representatives at the public hearing. They further reported that witnesses Pedro Iván Peña and Raúl Esteban Portillo, former inmates at the Center, would be unable to attend the public hearing. They therefore begged the Court’s permission to present a video at that hearing where the two young men in question would give their testimony. On April 21, 2004, on instructions from the Court, the Secretariat asked the representatives to send the video so that it might be provided to the other parties, in order that they, in turn, might make whatever comments they deemed pertinent. That way, the video would not have to be shown during the public hearing. On April 26, 2004, the representatives sent the testimony of Raúl Esteban Portillo and Pedro Iván Peña, both in writing and on video. Those statements were not made in the presence of a person authorized by law to authenticate documents and statements (infra para. 72). On May 18, 2004, the Commission informed the Court that it had no comments with regard to those statements. On June 10, 2004, the State informed the Court that it was reserving the right to comment on these pieces of testimony when it presented its final written submissions.
49. On April 19, 2004, the representatives reported that they did not, for the moment, have any clarification or observation on the affidavits given by the witnesses and experts at the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay and submitted by the State (supra para. 45).
50. On April 21, 2004, the Commission informed the Court that “for reasons of force majeure,” witnesses Miguel Ángel Coronel Ramírez and César Fidelino Ojeda Acevedo would not be appearing at the hearing.
51. On April 27, 2004, the State presented its comments on the affidavits presented by the Commission (supra para. 46) and by the representatives (supra para. 44). It objected to the testimony of Mrs. Silvia Portillo Martínez, offered by the representatives, and the expert testimony of Mr. Carlos Arestivo, offered by the Commission. As for the affidavit by Jorge Bogarín González, a witness offered by the Commission, the State asked the Court to request from the Ministry of Justice and Labor “copies of the pertinent official court orders issued by that former magistrate in his capacity as a criminal court judge.”
52. On April 28, 2004, the Commission presented its comments on the affidavits that the State’s witnesses and experts gave at the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay (supra para. 45). In those comments, the Commission objected to portions of the testimony given by Fernando Vicente Canillas Vera, Estanislao Balbuena Jara and Teresa de Jesús Almirón Fernández. It also indicated that it had no comments on the affidavits given by the representatives’ witnesses (supra para. 44).
53. On April 28, 2004, the Commission asked the Court to consult the respondent State about the appendixes that some of the State’s witnesses had supplied when they made their statements at the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay. On May 1, 2004, the Court asked the State to submit the documents in question. That request was reiterated on May 31, 2004. On June 3, 2004, the State presented copies of the documents that some of the State’s witnesses had provided at the time they made their statements at the Office of the Chief Government Notary of the Republic of Paraguay.
54. On May 3 and 4, 2004, at a public hearing on preliminary objections and eventual merits, reparations and costs, the Court heard the testimony of the witnesses and experts offered by the Inter-American Commission and the representatives. The Court also heard the final oral arguments of the Inter-American Commission, the representatives and the State.
There appeared before the Court:
for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:
Santiago Canton, delegate;
Ignacio J. Álvarez, advisor, and
Lilly Ching, advisor;
for the representatives:
Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of CEJIL;