Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Pleadings of the representatives

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Pleadings of the representatives

220. Concerning the violation of Article 7 of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) thereof, the representatives alleged that:

a) the State violated the right to personal liberty and security, to the detriment of the three thousand seven hundred forty-four children who were interned at the Center in the period from August 14, 1996 to July 25, 2001, and those who were transferred to adult prisons;
b) under the Paraguayan law in effect at the time of the events herein denounced, the domestic courts had sweeping authority to order preventive detention, an authority that the courts exercised as a generalized, abusive and arbitrary practice;
c) internationally accepted principles for the incarceration of juveniles were violated, as the State provided no alternatives to imprisonment in the case of minors in conflict with the law. The primary purpose of the sentence was not to educate the juvenile and reincorporate him into society;
d) the Minor’s Code made no provision for the subsidiarity principle and did not provide that deprivation of liberty as a preventive measure was to be used only in exceptional cases; it left that decision entirely to the judge’s discretion;
e) the Articles added to the Code of Criminal Procedure on the subject of preventive detention (which entered into force in July 1999) do make provision for the subsidiarity principle and the principle of ultima ratio. The same cannot be said, however, of the earlier Code of Criminal Procedure, which authorized preventive detention in all those cases in which there was prima facie evidence of the commission of a crime and evidence to suggest that the accused was involved. These standards do not comport with the international standards on this subject;
f) even when a detention is done in accordance with the existing law, it may still be arbitrary if it is unreasonable, unforeseeable or disproportionate;
g) the endless violence that the State forced upon the children interned at the Center constituted systematic violations of human rights contrary to the international standards for the protection of children. The presence of a generalized practice has one important consequence, which is to reverse the burden of proving that these conditions applied to each and every children; and
h) the court system made generalized, abusive and arbitrary use of preventive detention; the criminal laws applied did not take the accused’ status as a child into account; juveniles’ cases experienced unwarranted delays before being decided, and the legal counsel provided to the inmates was unsatisfactory.
Pleadings of the State
221. Concerning Article 7 of the Convention, the State alleged that:

a) the allegation of violation of Article 7 was not properly substantiated and proven;

b) all the inmates at the Center were taken there by order of the court. Therefore, these were not arbitrary detentions; quite the contrary, these were lawfully adopted measures or sanctions. Consequently the lawfulness of the preventive detention measures order by the competent judges against the juveniles interned at the Center is not a debatable point;
c) the petition of habeas corpus filed had a specific purpose unrelated to the rights protected under Articles 7(5) or 7(6) of the Convention. The purpose of Ruling No. 652 of July 31, 1998, which granted that petition, was to place the juvenile offenders in adequate facilities. The judge who heard the petition did not challenge –nor did the original claimant- the lawfulness of the detention measures ordered against the inmates at the Center;
d) an analysis of the combined list of alleged victims, presented by the Commission, plainly shows that the vast majority of the juveniles have been released by order of the court, after having served the detention ordered by competent judges;
e) the principles requiring that preventive detention be reserved for exceptional cases and be for specified periods that are to be as brief as possible, and then only as a last resort, were not violated as the procedural code in effect at the time the petition was filed made no provision for those principles. As criminal law has gradually evolved, especially juvenile criminal justice (such as the Child and Adolescent Code, for example), this situation has been corrected and with that the aforementioned principles have been fully incorporated into domestic positive law. The Commission has not singled out any case that demonstrates that these principles were violated;
f) under the previous system of criminal proceedings and when the former Minor’s Code was still in effect, there were problems in the handling of criminal cases. However, those difficulties have largely been corrected with the introduction of the new criminal proceeding and with application of Law 1444/99 “Transition to the New Criminal Justice System,” the results of which the Commission has noted on a number of occasions; and
g) in May 2001, the Supreme Court delivered Policy Decision 214 regulating the competence of the juvenile trial and sentencing courts and ordering a redistribution of cases. It also established rapid procedures for settlement of cases instituted under the old Code of Criminal Procedure.

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
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articulos -> Official summary issued by the inter-american court

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