Inter-American Court of Human Rights

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Considerations of the Court
105. This Court will examine the procedural question raised to determine whether some defect is present in the filing of the application such that the case would only cover the alleged victims named in the application and in the Court’s June 21, 2002 order.
106. In the amendments it has introduced to its Rules of Procedure, the Court has determined that the brief containing the application must indicate the parties to the case (Article 33 of the Rules of Procedure), the parties being understood to include the duly identified alleged victims (Article 2, paragraph 23 of the Rules of Procedure). As the Court has held in specific cases submitted to its jurisdiction, “just as every individual has human rights, so must any [alleged] violation of those rights be examined on an equally individual basis.”15
107. In its jurisdictional function, and pursuant to Article 62 of the American Convention, the Court has jurisdiction over “all cases concerning the interpretation and application of the provisions of this Convention” for the purpose of establishing the international responsibility of a State party to the Convention for alleged violations of the human rights of persons subject to its jurisdiction. Hence, the Court deems that proper identification, by name, of the person whose right or freedom is alleged to have been breached is essential.
108. This identification requirement is different from the one applied in the case of provisional measures for preventive purposes, where the Court is authorized to order special measures of protection in cases of extreme gravity and urgency, when necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons in response to some threat or possible violation of some right of the American Convention and on the understanding that the merits of the matter are not being judged. In such cases, the beneficiaries of the measures need only be “identifiable” for purposes of affording them those special measures of protection.16
109. In view of the foregoing, and in order to guarantee the effet utile of Article 23 of the Rules of Procedure and effective protection of the rights of the alleged victims, the latter must be properly identified and named in the application that the Inter-American Commission files with this Court.
110. In its June 21, 2002 order, the Court resolved, inter alia, to request the Commission, within three months’ time, to identify, by name, the “children and adolescents interned at the ‘Panchito López’ Juvenile Reeducation Institute between August 1996 and July 2001, and thereafter sent to adult prisons in Paraguay.” In that order, it notified the Commission that if the list was not sent, the case would continue to be processed, but only regarding to the alleged victims identified in the application.
111. On September 19, 2002, which was within the three-month time period the Court set in the aforementioned order, the Commission sent the Secretariat a list of the alleged victims (supra para. 34), which was the very same list that the State itself had supplied to the Commission. On November 19, 2002, by which time the three-month period had expired, the Commission sent the Secretariat a “combined chart” (supra para. 36). On both occasions, in observance of the right of defense and in keeping with the adversarial action principle, all documentation was forwarded to the State; the latter, however, filed no objection or even any comment with regard to the two lists. With that the problem posed by the fact that the identity of some of the alleged victims was either unknown or not given was corrected; as a consequence, the Court proceeded to take cognizance of the case in respect of the inmates at the Center between August 14, 1996 and July 25, 2001, who represent all the alleged victims identified and named on the list in question.
112. The Court must emphasize that the acceptance of that list to identify the inmates interned at the Center between August 1996 and July 2001, who are the alleged victims in the case, does not imply any decision with regard to the merits and eventual reparations in the instant case. In the sections dealing with the merits, the Court will examine the question of whether the violations of the Articles alleged in the Commission’s application and in the representatives’ brief of pleadings and motions regarding the facts set out in the application, did or did not occur.
113. The Court therefore dismisses the State’s preliminary objection claiming a legal defect in the presentation of the application.

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