University of Minnesota

Baena Ricardo et al. Case, Order of the Court of January 22, 1999, reprinted in 1998 Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [163], OEA/Ser.L/V/III.47, doc. 6 (2000).



Having Seen:

1.         The January 28, 1998 note from the Secretariat of the Court (hereinafter “the Secretariat”), wherein it informed the Illustrious Government of Panama (hereinafter “the State”) of the State’s  “right to designate, within thirty days following the notification of the application, an ad hoc judge to participate in the consideration of the Baena Ricardo et al. Case.”

2.         The note from the State, received by the Secretariat on February 20, 1998, in which it designated Rolando Adolfo Reyna Rodríguez as Judge ad hoc in the present case.

3.         The February 27, 1998 note from the Secretariat, in which it informed Mr. Reyna Rodríguez of his designation as ad hoc judge, and advised him that “the President of the Court [...] would opportunely summon him to be sworn in at the seat of the Tribunal.”

4.         The document faxed by Mr. Reyna Rodríguez to the Secretariat on May 21, 1998, and resent by the same means on May 25, 1998, in which he “solemnly swore to undertake [his] functions of Judge with honor, independence, and impartiality and to maintain the confidentiality of all  deliberations.”

5.         The December 9, 1998 note from the Secretariat, in which it summoned Mr. Reyna Rodríguez to the XLIII Regular Session of the Court and informed him that a hearing would be held at that session on the preliminary objections interposed by the State in the present case.

6.         The January 19, 1999 note from Mr. Reyna Rodríquez in which he communicated to the President of the Court that he “had taken action [...] [in] the complaint of JORGE A. MARTINEZ v. INSTITUTE OF WATER AND ELECTRIC RESOURCES, which I rejected, for lack of jurisdiction, without beginning to hear the case.”   In that note he also asked the Court to determine if that circumstance constituted grounds of  “disqualification and if it would comply with the Law and the rules of this Court.”

7.         The message received by the Secretariat on January 22, 1999 in which Mr. Reyna Rodríguez stated that the cause of action referred to in the previous paragraph was a “labor complaint filed before the Conciliation and Labor Decision Boards by several workers laid off as a result of Law 25 of December 14, 1990, which he only received and rejected for lack of jurisdiction without hearing it.”


1.         That, pursuant to Article 18(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court, “[i]n a case arising under Articles 55(2) and 55(3) of the Convention and 10(2) or 10(3) of the Statute, the President, acting through the Secretariat, shall invite the States referred to in those provisions to appoint an ad hoc judge within thirty days following the Agent’s receipt of the written invitation.”

2.         That, pursuant to Article 19(1) of the Statute, “[j]udges may not take part in matters in which, in the opinion of the Court, they or members of their family have a direct interest or in which they have previously taken part as agents, counsel or advocates, or as members of a national or international court or an investigatory committee, or in any other capacity.”

3.         That according to his notes of January 19 and 22, 1999, Mr. Reyna Rodríguez served as the President of the Conciliation Board and Decision No. 4 and as such took part in the cause of action Jorge A. Martínez v. Institute of Water and Electric Resources, dealing with “a labor complaint filed [...] by several workers laid off as a result of Law 25 of December 14, 1990.”

4.         That, taking into account the information brought forward by Mr. Reyna Rodríguez, the Court finds that it is confronted with a situation falling under Article 19 of its Statute, and that, therefore,  Mr. Reyna Rodríguez is barred from acting as ad hoc Judge.

5.         That the fundamental responsibility of the Court is to assure the effective protection of human rights and, to comply with this commitment, to must give particular importance to the satisfactory progress of the proceedings.  In the present case, the Court scheduled the deliberation of preliminary objections for the present session and finds that there is no statutory obstacle that prevents these deliberations from being undertaken with its present composition.(Cfr. Cesti Hurtado Case, Order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of January 19, 1999.)


in accordance with the requirements of Articles 10 and 19 of its Statute and Articles 18(1) and 19 of its Rules of Procedure      


1.         To declare that Mr. Rolando Adolfo Reyna Rodríguez is barred that undertaking the position of ad hoc Judge in the present case.

2.         To continue to hear the case with its present composition.

3.         To inform Mr. Rolando Adolfo Reyna Rodríguez of the present Order.



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