CEJIL

Message from Viviana Krsticevic on the case of Expelled Dominican and Haitian Persons vs. the Dominican Republic ruling

As a result of over a decade of international litigation, it was possible to establish that the individuals we represented were expelled from their own country in violation of the rights granted by the American Convention and other international human rights treaties because of the color of their skin.

Fri, 10/24/2014

I want to share my joy at the decision made by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in the case of Expelled Dominican and Haitian Persons vs. the Dominican Republic.
 
The Court clarified several issues of great importance to the country and the continent: the scope of the right to nationality, the guarantee of equality and non-discrimination, the rights of persons born in the country and those who hold an irregular immigration status, among others.
 
As a result of over a decade of international litigation, it was possible to establish that the individuals we represented-17 out of 23 were Dominican, many of them children- were expelled from their own country in violation of the rights granted by the American Convention and other international human rights treaties because of the color of their skin.
 
The Inter-American Court examined in detail the practice, jurisprudence and legislation on migration, and reaffirmed what was mandated in the case of Yean and Bosico: the rules cannot be applied or interpreted as a way of limiting the right to citizenship of persons born in the country depending on the immigration status of their parents. More specifically, the Inter- American Court questioned the reasoning of the Constitutional Court (TC / 0168/13) in its decision on the matter, for its discriminatory effects and the possibility of making nearly two hundred thousand people stateless. Additionally, the Court stated that parts of the law that tries to solve the crisis of rights generated by the Constitutional Court should be rescinded, to the extent that it treats thousands of people as foreigners even if they were born in the Dominican Republic. The Court is clear in determining that the plaintiffs born in the country must have Dominican citizenship.
 
The Court has issued decisions on many countries and different situations. Decisions that are binding as established in the American Convention.
 
Several constitutional courts and supreme courts in the continent have changed their jurisprudence pursuant this jurisprudential dialogue and, sometimes, the control exercised by the Inter-American Court. In Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Mexico - among others -, there have been important steps in this direction. Moreover, countries such as Chile and Mexico have amended their own constitutions as a result of freedom of expression cases and serious violations of human rights.
 
Dominican Republic agreed to comply with the obligations established by the treaty in 1978, accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court in 1999 and for 15 years has appeared before the Court and has in various ways expressed its interest in strengthening the protection international rights.
 
Therefore, our expectation and hope centers on the fact that the different branches of the government, starting with the highest authorities, will respond to the Court's decision with serenity and the democratic commitment to ensure human rights, fully complying with the sentence. We expect from Dominican Republic what we expect from the rest of the region. Neither more nor less. For those interested in the subject, I urge you to read the decision and support this work for dignity from various perspectives.
 
The decision expresses the vocation of the highest Court of Justice of the region as rights defender. It is not an accusation against the country or an affront to its sovereignty, but an exercise of safeguarding rights internationally. Despite the decision to reject the ruling announced yesterday by government authorities, we hope we can sit down soon with them to initiate a new phase of dialogue.
 
This is one of the moments where we remember, with longing and satisfaction, our friend and colleague, Sonia Pierre, who led in her life many of the debates and struggles against discrimination of Dominican-Haitians.

Summaries of Jurisprudence: Gender-based Violence. 2nd Edition Updated

CEJIL presents a new title to its collection of Summaries of Jurisprudence, this time dedicated to Gender Violence.

This publication includes a selection of texts of decisions from international human rights organs related to the protection of women victims of violence. The compilation provides a solid body of jurisprudence that allows one to obtain a broad panorama of the reality of women in a variety of contexts, revealing the indisputable relevance of gender violence in the world, even further than the advances in regulation material.

We hope that this will be a useful tool that contributes to the defense of human rights and the eradication of one of the most tolerated and silenced human rights violations as such is the violence exercised against women.


Type of publication:Compilation of jurisprudence
Full version available in:
Year: 2011
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Summaries of Jurisprudence: Health and Reproductive Rights

CEJIL is delighted to present a new book to its collection of Tools for the Protection of Human Rights: Summaries of Jurisprudence, this time dedicated to Health and Reproductive Rights.

The human rights protection bodies recognize the access to medical care, including reproductive health, as a basic right. Nonetheless, the decisions included in this volume illustrate some of the grave deficiencies in the effective enjoyment of these rights, directly affecting women’s right to choose regarding maternity, accessing health information, or to be respected in their autonomy and privacy, among others.

These pages compile decisions and judgments that constitute more relevant jurisprudence in relation to health and reproductive rights. We hope that this book will be a useful tool that contributes to the defense of those rights.


Type of publication:Compilation of jurisprudence
Full version available in:
Year: 2012
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Human rights in the Inter-American System. Compilation of instruments. 2011 Edition.


Type of publication:Compilation of law
Full version available in:
Year: 2011
Partial download options in:

Spanish


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Human rights in the Inter-American system. Compilation of instruments. 2009 edition.

Los Derechos Humanos en el Sistema Interamericano. Compilación de Instrumentos.

El Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL) se complace en presentar la sexta edición actualizada de su publicación Derechos Humanos en el Sistema Interamericano: Compilación de Instrumentos.

Desde la primera versión de este compendio de normativa interamericana sobre protección y defensa de los derechos humanos –editada en 1997- CEJIL se ha propuesto con esta compilación tornar más accesible a distintos públicos el conocimiento del derecho internacional de los derechos humanos desarrollado en el continente americano, así como el uso de las herramientas que el sistema interamericano (SI) pone a disposición de víctimas y defensores de derechos humanos.

La obra recopila las Declaraciones, Tratados, Protocolos y Principios que conforman la normativa fundamental del derecho internacional de los derechos humanos en el ámbito interamericano, complementándola con aquellos textos que reglamentan la composición y funcionamiento de la Comisión y Corte Interamericana (Estatutos y Reglamentos).

Esta sexta edición actualizada incluye las últimas modificaciones a los Reglamentos de la Comisión y la Corte introducidas en 2009, que afectan a aspectos centrales del Sistema como son las reglas aplicables a la fase de admisibilidad de peticiones, las medidas cautelares de protección, el papel de las víctimas en el litigio ante la Corte Interamericana, o cuestiones de representación legal, entre otras.

Adicionalmente, en esta nueva edición presentamos un cuadro que cumple con la intención de ofrecer de forma ilustrativa un panorama completo acerca del estado de ratificaciones de los instrumentos del sistema interamericano de derechos humanos. A su vez, la forma en que se expone la información permite tener una mirada abarcadora e integral acerca del grado de involucramiento de los Estados miembros de la OEA en el SI.


Type of publication:Compilation of law
Full version available in:
Year: 2009
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Human rights groups denounce Venezuela before the Inter-American Court over Barrios Family case

CEJIL, the Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC), and the Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Justicia y Paz del Estado Aragua (Comisión de Justicia y Paz de Aragua) before the Inter-American Court Venezuela´s almost complete disregard in complying with a sentence involving a case having to do with the extra judicial execution of ten members of the same family—primarily at the hands of police officers from the state of Aragua, Venezuela.

Fri, 02/06/2015

 

San José, February 5th 2015.- the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero y Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC), and the Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Justicia y Paz del Estado Aragua (Comisión de Justicia y Paz de Aragua) before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court) Venezuela´s almost complete disregard in complying with a sentence involving a case having to do with the extra judicial execution of ten members of the same family—primarily at the hands of police officers from the state of Aragua, Venezuela.

“The Barrios family case is emblematic in that it illustrates a pattern of extrajudicial killings carried out by members of the Venezuelan police in which the victims are primarily young men from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds whose murders go unpunished,” said Liliana Ortega, Executive Director for COFAVIC. “The State has a new opportunity to ensure that those who killed, threatened and harassed members of the Barrios family are brought to justice and that remaining family members will be protected.”

Between 1998 and 2013, ten members of the Barrios family were killed. Benito Antonio (1998), Narciso (2003) and 16 year old Rigoberto Barrios (2005) were executed by police officers of the State of Aragua. In the following years, Luis Alberto (2004), Oscar (2009), Wilmer (2010) and Juan José Barrios (2011), Jorge Antonio Barrios (2012) Víctor Navarro Tomás Barrios (2012) and Roni David Barrios Alzul (2013) were killed under similar circumstances.

On November 14, 2011, the Inter-American Court condemned Venezuela for the deaths of and failure to protect seven members of the Barrios family, as well as the absence of effective investigation. Additionally, the Court issued eight resolutions between November 2004 and February 2013 demanding the protection of the Barrios family, making it the case with the largest number of requests made by the Court to a State to ensure the protection and safety of members of one family.

Yet, eight of the killings took place after the issuance of protection measures and three after the Court handed down the ruling. To date, the seven criminal investigations launched into these murders are at a standstill and no prosecutions have been made or suspects identified. Moreover, several members of the Barrios family have been subjected to threats and harassment over the last decade and forced to flee their homes.

"The United Nations Committee´s on Torture and Human Rights Committee have expressed their concern over the high number of  extra judicial executions endured by the Barrios family despite the issuance of protective measures and the State´s pending obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible,” said Francisco Quintana, Program Director for the Andean Region, North America and the Caribbean for CEJIL, "It is clear that the international community has their eyes on Venezuela and are monitoring the State´s response. In light of this, we ask the court to issue a resolution to condemn the lack of compliance in the short term.”

In its defense, the State argued that many members of the Barrios family had deferred in their responsibility to cooperate with authorities designated for their protection. Further, the state said, it was impossible to assign a guard to 21 people and finally, that the timeline for compliance demanded by the victim´s representatives was not realistic considering the country´s social and legal realities.

The Barrios family´s situation reflects the lack of respect for human rights found within the Venezuela. Despite their denunciation of the American Convention—which entered into force for the country on September 10th, 2013—the Barrios family case is one of 16 cases with convictions issued between 1995 and 2012 that Venezuela must comply with.

Rejection over Attorney General's anouncement over possible suspension of investigations into Ayotzinapa case

CEJIL would like to express its rejection and concern over the possible closure of investigations into the Ayotzinapa case, after an announcement made by Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam on Tuesday January 27th. The Attorney General (AG) stated with “legal certainty” that the 43 students of the Normal Rural Raul Isidro Burgos were murdered, burned and their remains thrown into a municipal dump by members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, which is integrated by police officers from Iguala and Cocula.

Fri, 01/30/2015

San Jose and Washington D.C., 29th of January 2015. –  CEJIL would like to express its rejection and concern over the possible closure of investigations into the Ayotzinapa case, after an announcement made by Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam on Tuesday January 27 . The Attorney General (AG) stated with “legal certainty” that the 43 students of the Normal Rural Raul Isidro Burgos were murdered, burned and their remains thrown into a municipal dump by members of the Guerreros Unidos gang, which is integrated by police officers from Iguala and Cocula.

The announcement was made only a few days after the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced the formation of an international group of experts. This group, which counted with the Mexican government’s approval, is expected to create an action plan to seek the 43 students, analyze current lines of investigation to determine penal responsibilities and carry out an analysis to create a holistic plan of attention for victims. Unfortunately, the AG’s hasty declarations raise serious questions about the government’s will to pursue the truth and find the students.

It is clear that there is not enough scientific evidence that justifies the AG’s conclusions. Additionally, internal investigations have been insufficient for the information that is of public knowledge. The AG’s office announced the arrest of 99 people, including 28 military personnel, for their involvement behind the students’ disappearance s. In his declaration, the AG announced that the principal theory over the events places the blame on the mayor of Iguala and his wife. In addition, the involvement of the ex-governor of Guerrero has not been yet determined.

Given the unclear levels of involvement by military and state authorities, it is evident that investigations into the case have not been exhaustive. Finally, it is highly preoccupying that this is not being tried as a forced disappearance instead of an abduction.

“The response of the authorities to the events that took place in Ayotzinapa is unfortunate and remains insufficient. The Mexican State is obligated to hear the voice of the families and exhaust all the lines of investigation through reliable scientific proof. The closure of the case will further strengthen the generalized climate of frustration, violence and impunity,” said Marcia Aguiluz, Director of CEJIL’s Central America and Mexico Program,“If the State closes this case, they will be wasting an historic opportunity to comply with its international obligations and would close the doors to the future of the nation.”

In dealing with this new injustice, CEJIL would like to express its solidarity with the families of the disappeared students.  We call on the authorities to rectify their position and allow the group of experts elected by the IACHR to initiate the process of international investigation immediately.

Peruvian villagers demand justice at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Human Rights groups denounced today serious violations committed against the rural community of Santa Barbara by the Peruvian military during the internal armed conflict in Peru.

The case of the rural community of Santa Barbara is yet another example demonstrating a pattern of impunity and a generalized and systematic practice conducted by the Peruvian Army of carrying out forced disappearances, extra judicial executions, massacres and other human rights violations during the internal armed conflict in Peru. Thus far, investigations and prosecutions by the State for these crimes have been minimal.

Wed, 01/28/2015

 

San Jose, January 27th 2015.- Human Rights groups denounced today serious violations committed against the rural community of Santa Barbara by the Peruvian military during the internal armed conflict in Peru.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and Asociación Paz y Esperanza stood before a public hearing at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) in defense of members the quechua speaking, Andean community.

On July 4th 1991, members of the Peruvian army advanced a military operation that ravaged two sectors of the community. During the course of the operation, the military arrested 15 members of the community, most of them women and children, who were suspected of belonging to subversive groups. Members of the group were beaten, their houses were burned to the ground, and their cattle as well as other belongings were stolen by soldiers. Afterwards, the victims were led towards the Varallon mine (nicknamed the Mysterious mine by the community) where they were executed with bursts of high-caliber automatic rifles. Finally the military used dynamite to disappear the remains.

“The moral damage of taking my family away from me is something that you’ll never cure. The wound that I have inside my heart will never heal,” said Zenon Cirilo Onzayo Tunque, husband and father of 4 of the victims, “I would like to have their remain, to know where are my children buried, at least to light them a candle or take them a flower.”

The case of the rural community of Santa Barbara is yet another example demonstrating a pattern of impunity and a generalized and systematic practice conducted by the Peruvian Army of carrying out forced disappearances, extra judicial executions, massacres and other human rights violations during the internal armed conflict in Peru. Thus far, investigations and prosecutions by the State for these crimes have been minimal.

In the present case, a large group of military personnel planned and executed the operation, but until now only one active sentence of 20 years issued in 2012 by the National Criminal Court of Peru against Sargent Oscar Alberto Carrera Gonzalez exists. This same sentence ordered the processing of five other military personnel and the investigation of 3 high ranking officers. Two of them, Dennis Wilfredo Pacheco Zambrano and Javier Bendezú Vargas, are currently fugitives from justice. Both of them have active arrest warrants through INTERPOL.  However the Peruvian authorities have not taken the necessary steps to effectuate their arrests, and the rest of the military personnel involved have not been adequately investigated.

These were some of the points raised during the hearing. CEJIL concluded pointing out the lack of access to justice, truth, and reparation for the victims, the lack of timely prosecution of the fugitive military personnel, and the climate of inefficacy present in the Peruvian State that left this case on the backburner for over 20 years, even after the events of the massacre were partially recognized by the State.

”It’s unacceptable that Peru continues to avoid its obligations concerning the complete fulfillment of rulings issued over cases of severe human rights violations that occurred during the internal armed conflict,” expressed Francisco Quintana, Director of the Andean Region and North American Program for CEJIL,   ”The fugitives who were involved in the massacre of Santa Barbara must be captured and judged so that the State can fully clarify the events and finally fulfill its duty of reparations for the victims. The echoes of what happened in the Varallon mine have been reverberating for 23 years. The time for justice is now. ”

The organizations requested the Peruvian State to guarantee the right to the truth and the integrity to the family of the victims and the provision of structural repairs, the establishment of a mechanism that will facilitate the identification of the remains and finally the provision of integrated answers that take in account the necessities of the community.

Meanwhile the Peruvian State refuted the classification of the case as one of forced disappearance instead of extra judicial execution, pointed to lack of funds as one of the causes delaying further investigation processes and  the identification of one of the victims as such.

Additional Information

The peasant community of Santa Barbara is nestled in the Andean mountains that trace the south central area of the country of the department of Huancavelica.The majority of the residents dedicated to cattle herding and agriculture.

CEJIL will Represent Victims of Human Rights Violations before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

CEJIL, along with partner organizations, will represent victims from across the region before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) during its 107th period of regular sessions.Activities will include two public hearings, two private hearings to monitor judgment and provisional measure compliance, and a public hearing on provisional measures.

Mon, 01/26/2015

 

San Jose, January 26th 2015.-The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), along with partner organizations, will represent victims from various parts of the continent before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) during its 107th period of regular session.

Public Hearings

Caso Comunidad Campesina Santa Bárbara vs. Perú:
Monday, January 26th 3:00pm-7:00pm and Tuesday, January 27th 9:00am-1:00pm
(Local time: Costa Rica)

On July 4th, 1991, members of the Peruvian military advanced an operation within two sectors of the rural, quecha-speaking community of Santa Bárbara, which is nestled in Andean mountains that trace the department of Huancavelica in the south-central area of the country.

This case is related to the forced disappearance of 15 people (93% of which were women and children) by members of the Peruvian military and demonstrates the systematic practice by the military of carrying out abductions and other heinous human rights violations against subversive groups.

Two decades later, the Peruvian state continues to deny the force disappearance. Represented by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and Asociación Paz y Esperanza the families of the victims hope the hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Court (I/A Court)) represents a step towards truth and justice.

Caso López Lone y otros vs. Honduras:

Monday, February 2nd 10:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 7:00pm; Tuesday, February 3rd 9:00am-1:00pm (Local Time: Costa Rica)

This case refers to the arbitrary and illegal dismissal of four judges during the 2009 Honduran coup. The victims of the case, Judges Adán Guillermo López, Luis Alonso Chévez de la Rocha, and Ramón Barrios Maldonado, and Tirza Flores Lanza will be represented by the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

This is the first known case linked to the 2009 Honduran coup that will be presented before the I/A Court. It also presents a transcendental opportunity for Honduras to take actions that strengthen the institution of Judicial Power and to ensure that Honduran citizens can count of independent judges.

Private Hearings on Compliance with Sentences and Interim Measures


Veléz Loor vs. Panamá:

Thursday, February 5th 4:45pm-6:45pm  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

The sentence from the Veléz Loor vs. Panamá case was issued on November 23rd, 2010 by the I/A Court and became a historic landmark by being the first sentence issued in the americas involving immigrants. This sentence determined the responsibility of the Panamanian government on the cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of Ecuadorian citizen Jesús Veléz Loor, who was detained for being a migrant, arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for almost a year, and tortured in various different ways while in detention.

The Panamanian government has yet to investigate the torturous acts, has not trained the Panamanian agents in the area of human rights, and has not bettered the conditions under which immigrants are detained.

Familia Barrios vs Venezuela:
Thursday, February 5th 3:00pm-4:30pm  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

The sentence from the Familia Barrios vs. Venezuela case was issued on November 24th, 2011 by the I/A Court. This case is concerned with the extrajudicial executions of 10 members of the Barrios family in the Aragua region of Venezuela between 1998 and 2013.

The goal of the hearing will be to receive updated and detailed information from the Venezuelan government about the fulfillment of the reparations ordered by the sentences, which is still pending compliance, and to listen to the observations of the Committee and the representatives of the victims.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Committee on Families of Victims of the Events of February and March of 1989 (COFAVIC), and the Committee of Justice and Peace of Aragua will participate in the hearing.

Public Hearings on Interim Measures
Friday, February 6th 9:00am-11:30am  (Local Time: Costa Rica)

Following an application from the Venezuelan Government, the Court summoned a public hearing concerning the interim measures ordered for the issues from certain penitentiaries in Venezuela.

The goal is to receive updated and detailed information from the Venezuelan government about the fulfillment of the interim measures and to listen to the observations of the Inter-American Committee and the representatives of the beneficiaries.

CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos

It is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Sat, 10/18/2014

Fotografía Defensoras créditos Agencia CuadratínIt is with great joy and admiration that CEJIL congratulates the Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras)  for winning the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award from the Institute on Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

As a result of their fight for equality, peace and justice within Central America and Mexico, IM-Defensoras are an inspiration to all of us. They have improved the lives of hundreds of Human Right defenders and also contributed to the eradication of taboos through dialog. It is an honor to support their work. http://tinylink.net/qtpg6

Photographic credits: Quadratin Press Agence

 

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