Inter-American Court of Human Rights

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Pleadings of the State

141. Concerning the violation of Article 19 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) thereof, the State admitted to the alleged victims named in the application and in the Court’s order of June 21, 2002. However, it denied certain charges made by the Commission. The State further argued that:

a) the Center was moved from Emboscada to Asunción to enable families to visit more frequently and to put more emphasis on socialization programs, with the support of nongovernmental organizations;

b) structural problems with the system for handling juvenile offenders meant that the special protection that this vulnerable sector requires was completely neglected. However, those structural problems were gradually corrected, to the point that the Center itself was permanently closed;
c) the fact that the prison system had problems does not imply that there was any systematic violation of Article 19 of the Convention;
d) Paraguay’s domestic laws already uphold the principle of the best interests of the child and all public policies are premised on that principle, under the supervision of a government agency specialized in formulating and implementing public policies for the comprehensive care and treatment of juvenile offenders. That agency is the Office of the Executive Secretary on Children and Adolescents;
e) at the beginning, the schedule for recreation time was restricted, owing to a lack of space and for security reasons, and to avoid fights between enemy gangs; inmates belonged to their neighborhood gangs;
f) the Center had a continuing formal education program attended by all interested inmates, since the State does not have the authority to require the inmates to pursue their studies. It is untrue that the actions taken to get certain educational programs implemented and recreational space created were limited in the wake of the fires; and
g) the State has limited ways and means to enable it to best respond to its obligations in the area of comprehensive inmate services.
142. As for Article 4 of the Convention, in relation to Article 1(1) thereof, the State acknowledged responsibility in the death of Benito Augusto Adorno. It also stated that:
a) it complied with its obligation to respect and ensure the right to life of all the juveniles at the Center and did not violate the right to life, either by action of omission, of any inmate at the Center, with the exception of adolescent Benito Augusto Adorno;
b) it did not violate the right to life of Héctor Ramón Vázquez and Richard Daniel Martínez, as these two died in fights that broke out between inmates in the Cellblock for Juveniles at Emboscada. They died as a result of wounds inflicted by home-made weapons. The State had provided them with immediate care and did everything possible to save their lives;
c) it is impossible to anticipate an inmate riot; all one can do is deal with the situation and look for the most effective means of alleviating the consequences of the violence;
d) the guards risked their lives to help the inmates inside the cellblocks who were being stricken by the smoke and fire, and all the inmates in Cellblock No. 8 were aided promptly, without discrimination, and were sent to emergency centers that would help the alleged victims and hopefully save their lives;
e) nine inmates died from burns and smoke inhalation caused by the fire set in Cellblock No. 8 as a consequence of a riot in February 2000; and
f) it is not for the State to take responsibility for events caused by individuals who became alleged victims and alleged authors of a crime in which people were killed and injured, especially when either malice or negligence was involved. It would, therefore, be “unjust” to compensate the former inmates of Cellblock No. 8 and their next of kin since one or several of them was or were the cause of the fire, “with premeditation and malice aforethought.”
143. In the case of Article 5 of the Convention in relation to Article 1(1) thereof, the State argued that:
a) it did admit to responsibility with regard to detention conditions incompatible with human dignity and with regard to the violation of Article 5, paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, to the detriment of the alleged victims named in the brief of application and in the Court’s June 21, 2002 order;

b) the Center had an educational program and ongoing sports program for all inmates;

c) it prohibited solitary confinement as a form of punishment;
d) a lack of means made it difficult to segregate juveniles awaiting or standing trial from those already convicted. Nonetheless, efforts were being made to comply with that requirement;
e) the practice of incarcerating juveniles in the Juvenile Cellblock at the Emboscada adult prison was not a form of discipline; instead, inmates placed there “d[id] not have the proper profile to fit into the social and educational model developed at the Education Centers”;
f) the overpopulation, crowding, slow pace of court cases, and the high percentage of inmates never convicted are uncontested facts. There is sufficient documentary evidence from official sources detailing the inadequacies of the State prison system. What has to be proved, however, are the human rights allegedly violated in each individual case; the alleged victim must be identified clearly and conclusively, not in some general and ambiguous way;
g) the operation of the Itauguá Education Center and the La Esperanza Penal Farm and, in its time, the former La Salle Education Center, coupled with the establishment of the National Service for the Treatment of Juvenile Offenders (SENAAI) were wise moves on the State’s part and helped to improve the lot of children in conflict with the law;
h) under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, juveniles in detention awaiting trial can be held in adult penal institutions, provided they are held in a separate part of the adult institution. The State looked for a way to ensure that minors transferred from the Center would have no contact with the adult inmates while at the Emboscada prison. However, there may have been exceptions where such contact did take place; and
i) the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty provide that “The Rules shall be implemented in the context of the economic, social and cultural conditions prevailing in each Member State.” Paraguay did not have an institution with the capacity to accommodate all the juveniles in conflict with the law at the Center. Because resources were lacking, the competent authorities ordered the inmates’ transferred to various prison facilities.

Directory: docs -> casos -> articulos
docs -> #17622 Relational Leadership: New Developments in Theory and Practice
docs -> Leadership Development Programs and ecq-based Readings
articulos -> Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case of Loayza-Tamayo v. Peru Judgment of November 27, 1998
articulos -> Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case of DaCosta Cadogan v. Barbados Judgment of September 24, 2009
articulos -> Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case of Albán-Cornejo et al v. Ecuador Judgment of August 5, 2008
articulos -> Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case of Baldeón-García v. Perú Judgment of April 6, 2006
casos -> Operation Condor
casos -> Humberto antonio sierra porto and eduardo ferrer mac-gregor poisot case of the kali
articulos -> Official summary issued by the inter-american court

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