University of Minnesota

Blake Case, Order of the Court of April 17, 1997, reprinted in 1997 Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [147], OEA/Ser.L/V/III.39, doc. 5 (1998).





1.             The brief of April 16, 1997, from the State of Guatemala (hereinafter "the State" or "Guatemala") in which it accepted "the international human rights responsibility, stemming from the delay in the application of justice, until the year nineteen hundred and ninety-five (1995), in the 'Blake' Case" and requested the Court that it suspend the oral proceeding in the case, "granting a term of six months to arrive at an agreement with the victim's next of kin, and/or the Commission on reparation."

2.             The brief from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Commission") in which it stated:

[t]he Commission appreciates the acceptance [of responsibility] by the Illustrious Government of Guatemala, but considers it to be exceedingly restrictive inasmuch as it refers solely to the undue delay of justice.

Given that the Commission in its brief has raised other issues that generate international responsibility, which must therefore be the subject of reparation and compensation, the Commission requests the Honorable Court to pursue the oral proceeding and that judgment be duly delivered as requested in the petition.

3.             The statements made by the Agent of the State during the public hearing on merits in the instant Case held on this day by the Court to the effect that "the Government's recognition stemmed from the order of June 2, 1996, on preliminary objections in this case and that it refers to the facts relating exclusively to the unwarranted delay in the judicial case in the domestic courts in Guatemala ...  [that is to say] only to facts derived from the delay or tardiness of the process."

4.             The statements made by the Commission's representative at the same public hearing, in which he stated that the Government's recognition was "exceedingly restrictive inasmuch as the Judgment on preliminary objections embraces more than the unwarranted delay."


1.             That the State's declaration refers exclusively to the facts concerning the "unwarranted delay in the application of justice in the Blake Case," which, in the view of this Tribunal, represents partial recognition of the facts contained in the application submitted by the Commission and which fall within the purview of the Court.

2.             That, in accordance with the Judgment of July 2, 1996, on preliminary objections, this Court is competent to take cognizance of only "the events and effects that occurred after the date on which Guatemala recognized the jurisdiction of the Court" (March 9, 1987).

3.             That owing to the partial recognition on the part of the State and to the fact that a public hearing had been convoked for this day for the purpose of hearing the evidence on the merits in the Blake Case, insofar as it related to those events and effects that occurred after March 9, 1987.



pursuant to Article 29 of its Rules of Procedure,


1.             To take note of the partial recognition of responsibility on the part of the State of Guatemala in this case.

2.             To continue to hold the public hearing convoked for this day for the purpose of hearing the evidence on the merits in the Blake Case insofar as it relates to those events and effects that occurred after March 9, 1987, and not expressly recognized by the Government of Guatemala.

Done in Spanish and English, the Spanish text being authentic, at the seat of the Court, in San Jose, Costa Rica, on this seventeenth day of April, 1997.



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