University of Minnesota





The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold its LVI Regular Session at its seat in San Jose, Costa Rica, from August 26 to September 7, 2002.  During this Session, the following public hearings will take place at the seat of the Court:


1.             Five Pensioners Case.  Merits and Possible Reparations Phase.  At 10:00 o’clock on September 3 and 4, 2002 the Court will hold a public hearing to receive the arguments of the representatives of the alleged victims, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the State of Peru on the merits and possible reparations of the case.  Likewise, the Court will hear statements from the witnesses and the experts proposed by the Inter-American Commission and the representatives of the alleged victims.  The State did not offer witness or expert testimonies during this phase of the procedure.




On December 4, 2001, the Inter-American Commission submitted to the Court, pursuant to Article 51 of the American Convention, the Five Pensioners Case (No. 12,034), concerning the alleged “modification by the State of Peru in the pension system that Carlos Torres-Benvenuto, Javier Mujica-Ruiz-Huidoboro, Guillermo ?lvarez-Hernández, Reymert Bartra-Vásquez and Maximiliano Gamarra-Ferreira had been enjoying in conformity with Peruvian legislation until 1992, and the failure to comply with the judgments of the Supreme Court of Justice of Peru and the Peruvian Constitutional Court, which ordered that these persons be paid a pension for an amount calculated in accordance with the legislation in force when they began to enjoy of a specified pension system.? Similarly, it is indicated that “said situation has signified for the pensioners a violation of the rights to judicial protection, to property and the progressive development of economic, social and cultural rights, embodied in Articles 25, 21 and 26 of the American Convention respectively, in conjunction with the obligations established in Article 1(1) and 2 thereof.? Likewise, the Commission requested in its application for the Court to order the State to guarantee the alleged victims and their next of kin the enjoyment of their alleged violated rights “and the consequent payment that the State [] should make to the [alleged] victims and their next of kin for the difference in the amount of their pensions that it has omitted to pay since November 1992, as well as the payment of their pensions at their future value.?  The Commission also requested the Court to order the State to annul and terminate, in a retroactive manner, the effects of Article 5 of Decree Law No. 25792 of October 23, 1992, for considering it incompatible with the American Convention.  Finally, the Commission asked the Court to order the State to investigate the responsibilities for the alleged human rights violations indicated in the application and to pay the costs derived from the domestic judicial proceedings filed by the alleged victims, as well as those arising at the international level in processing the case before the Inter-American Commission and the Court.


The Court will also hear, among others, the following matters:



2.             Request for Advisory Opinion OC-17.  During this Session, the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of delivering an opinion in response to this request that refers to the interpretation of Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with Article 19 of said international instrument.




In the request for an Advisory Opinion, presented on March 30, 2001, pursuant to Article 64(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission requested that the Court interpret Articles 8 and 25 of said Convention in order to determine if these provisions constitute “limits on States’ capacity or discretion to issue special measures of protection? with respect to children in light of Article 19 of the same.  Likewise, it requested the Court to formulate general criteria governing the issue within the framework of the Convention.


On June 21, 2002 the Court held a public hearing with regard to this request for Advisory Opinion, and heard the observations of the United States of Mexico, Costa Rica, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Rafael Preciado Hernández Foundation, Mexican University Institute of Human Rights, A.C., the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the United Nation’s Latin-American Institute for Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Criminals (ILANUD), these last four participated as amici curiae.  At this hearing, the President granted the parties the possibility of submitting their closing arguments within a month’s period.



3.             El Caracazo Case.  Reparations Phase.  During this session the Court will deliberate and study the possibility of delivering a Judgment on reparations in this case, pursuant to the provisions of its November 11, 1999 Judgment, in which it unanimously decided, “[t]o initiate the procedure on reparations and costs?, due to the State’s acquiescence regarding the facts of the case and the pretensions on its international responsibility.




The Inter-American Commission filed the application in this case on June 7, 1999.  According to the complaint, in virtue of the course of incidents that occurred in the months of February and March 1989, 35 persons were allegedly extra judicially executed by agents of the State of Venezuela, while two others resulted disappeared and another three wounded which gave rise to Case No. 11,455 before the Commission.  It was the Commission’s opinion that Venezuela violated Articles 1(1) (Obligation to Respect Rights), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty, 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), 2 (Domestic Legal Effects) and 27 (Suspension of Guarantees) of the American Convention.


On November 10, 1999, the Court held a public hearing in which Venezuela admitted to the facts and accepted the legal consequences and international responsibilities from which they derived. In the same hearing, the Commission expressed its satisfaction with Venezuela’s position.


Accordingly, on November 11, 1999, the Court delivered its judgment on the case. In said judgment, it was recognized that “Venezuela’s acquiescence in this case [was] a positive contribution to the development of the process and effective exercise of the principles that inspire the American Convention?. It decided unanimously to take cognizance of Venezuela’s admission of the events outlined in the application and declared that the dispute over the facts had ceased. It also took unanimous note of the State’s recognition of responsibility and declared that Venezuela had violated Articles 4(1), 5, 7, 8(1), 25(1), 25(2), and 27(3) of the American Convention, in accordance with Articles 1(1) and 2, to the injury of the persons cited in paragraph 1 of the judgment. Finally, it took note of information provided by the State with regards to investigations that had been initiated for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting, and punishing those responsible for the acts described in the application, urged the State to continue its investigations, and initiated the procedure on reparations and costs.


4.             Other matters.  On September 6 and 7, 2002, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights will visit the seat of the Court for the annual joint meeting that it holds with the Inter-American Court, by mandate of the General Assembly of the OAS.  The following persons will take part in this meeting for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: Antônio A. Cançado-Trindade, President; Alirio Abreu-Burelli, Vice President; Máximo Pacheco-Gómez; Hernán Salgado-Pesantes; Oliver Jackman; Sergio García-Ramírez; Carlos Vicente de Roux-Rengifo; Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, Secretary and Pablo Saavedra-Alessandri, Deputy Secretary.  The following persons will take part in this meeting for the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights: Juan Méndez, President; Marta Altoaguirre-Larraondo, Vice President; Robert K. Goldman; Julio Prado-Vallejo; Clare Kamau Roberts, José Zalaquett; Susana Villarán and Santiago Cantón, Executive Secretary.  The meeting will deal mainly with the evaluation of the application of the new Rules of Procedure of the Court and of the Commission, which entered into force on May and June, 2001 respectively.


Likewise, the Court will also consider several procedures in matters pending before it, and it will analyze the various reports submitted by the States involved in matters on which provisional measures have been adopted, as well as the observations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and of those benefited by those measures, related to those reports.  The Court will furthermore analyze the various reports submitted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the States involved, and the victims or their representatives in those cases that are in the stage of compliance with the Judgment.  The Court will also consider various administrative matters.


The composition of the Court for this Session is as follows: Antônio A. Cançado-Trindade (Brazil), President; Alirio Abreu-Burelli (Venezuela), Vice-President; Máximo Pacheco-Gómez; Hernán Salgado-Pesantes (Ecuador); Oliver Jackman (Barbados); Sergio García-Ramírez (Mexico), and Carlos Vicente de Roux-Rengifo (Colombia). In the Five Pensioners Case, Javier de Belaunde will participate as an ad hoc Judge, appointed by the Peruvian State.  The Secretary of the Court is Manuel E. Ventura-Robles, and the Deputy Secretary is Pablo Saavedra-Alessandri.


The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is an autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States established in 1979, is formed by jurists of the highest moral standing and widely recognized competence in the area of human rights.  The judges are elected in an individual capacity by the General Assembly of the OAS, and cannot serve for more than two six-year terms.



For further information, please contact:

Manuel E. Ventura Robles, Secretary

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Apartado 6906-1000, San José, Costa Rica


Phone (506) 234-0581.  Fax (506) 234-0584.


Web site:



San Jose, August 19, 2002.


(*)              This is an unofficial translation and is for informative purposes only.  The official version of this press release is available in Spanish.


(**)           The content of this press release is the responsibility of the Secretariat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  The official text of the documents mentioned can be obtained through a written request to the Secretariat, at the address below.



Home || Treaties || Search || Links