A.      Legal bases, functions and powers


1.       The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the “IACHR” or the “Commission”) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (“OAS”) headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its mandate is found in the OAS Charter, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the Statute of the Commission. The IACHR is one of two bodies in the inter-American system responsible for protecting human rights, the other being the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is located in San José, Costa Rica.


2.       The IACHR is composed of seven members who act independently, without representing any particular country. The members of the IACHR are elected by the General Assembly of the OAS for a four-year period and can be re-elected only once.  The IACHR meets in ordinary and special sessions several times a year. The Executive Secretariat of the IACHR carries out the tasks delegated to it by the IACHR and provides legal and administrative support to the IACHR as it carries out its work. 


3.       In April of 1948 the OAS approved the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (the “American Declaration”) in Bogotá, Colombia, the first international human rights instrument of a general nature. The IACHR was created in 1959 and held its first session in 1960. 


4.       By 1961, the IACHR had begun to carry out on-site visits to observe the human rights situations in various countries.  Since that time, the IACHR has carried out 87 visits to 23 member States.  Based in part on its on-site investigations the IACHR has published 60 special country and thematic reports to date. 


5.       In 1965, the IACHR was expressly authorized to examine complaints or petitions regarding specific cases of human rights violations. By 2003, the IACHR had examined more than 13,000 complaints, resulting in the publication of over 600 individual case reports, which may be found in the Annual Reports of the Commission. 


6.       In 1969, the American Convention on Human Rights (the “American Convention”) was adopted, and subsequently entered into force in 1978. As of December 2003, 24 were parties to the Convention: Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Convention defines the human rights that the ratifying States have agreed to respect and ensure. The Convention also created the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and defines the functions and procedures of both the Commission and the Court. In addition to considering complaints of violations of the American Convention by states that are parties to that instrument, the IACHR is competent under the OAS Charter and the Commission’s Statute to entertain alleged violations of the American Declaration by OAS Member States that are not yet parties to the American Convention. 


7.       The IACHR has the principal function of promoting the observance and the defense of human rights in the Americas. In carrying out its mandate, the Commission: 


a)       Receives, analyzes and investigates individual petitions that allege human rights violations, pursuant to Articles 44 to 51 of the Convention, Articles 19 and 20 of the Commission’s Statute, and Articles 22 to 50 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure.


b)       Observes the general human rights situation in the Member States and publishes special reports regarding the situation in a specific Member State, when it considers it appropriate.


c)       Carries out on-site visits to countries to engage in more in-depth analysis of the general situation and/or to investigate a specific situation. These visits usually result in the preparation of a report regarding the human rights situation observed, which is published and presented to the Permanent Council and General Assembly of the OAS.


d)       Stimulates public consciousness regarding human rights in the Americas. To that end, the Commission carries out and publishes studies on specific subjects, some of which are the subject of special rapporteurships, such as: measures to be taken to ensure greater independence of the judiciary; the activities of irregular armed groups; the human rights situation of children and women; and the human rights of indigenous peoples.


e)       Organizes and carries out conferences, seminars and meetings with representatives of governments, academic institutions, non-governmental groups and others in order to disseminate information and to increase knowledge regarding issues relating to the inter-American human rights system.


f)       Recommends to the Member States of the OAS the adoption of measures that would contribute to human rights protection.


g)       Requests Member States to adopt "precautionary measures" pursuant to Article 25 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure to prevent irreparable harm to persons in serious and urgent cases. The Commission may also request that the Inter-American Court order "provisional measures" in cases of extreme gravity and urgency to avoid irreparable damage to persons, even where a case has not yet been submitted to the Court.


h)       Submits cases to the Inter-American Court and appears before the Court in the litigation of cases.


i)        Requests advisory opinions from the Inter-American Court in accordance with Article 64 of the American Convention. 


          8.       At present the Commission is processing over 900 individual cases.  Any person, group of persons or nongovernmental entity legally recognized in one or more of the member states of the OAS may submit petitions to the Commission concerning violations of a right recognized in the American Convention, the American Declaration or other pertinent instrument in accordance with their respective provisions and the Commission’s Statute and Rules.  The denunciation may be presented in any of the four official languages of the OAS (English, French, Portuguese or Spanish) and may be presented by the alleged victim of the violation or by a third party.


B.       The Commission's sessions in 2003


9.       During this reporting period, the Commission met on two occasions: during its 117th regular session from February 17 to March 7, 2003, and during its 118th regular session from October 7 to October 24, 2003.[1]


1.       117th regular session


10.     During its 117th regular session, the Commission elected its new board of officers, which was comprised of Lic. Marta Altolaguirre, President, José Zalaquett, First Vice-President, and Dr. Clare K. Roberts, Second Vice-President.


11.     The Commission also took up numerous individual petitions on human rights violations alleging the international responsibility of OAS Member States. It adopted a total of 41 reports on individual petitions and cases, issued 5 precautionary measures pursuant to Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, and held 52 hearings on individual cases, the general human rights situation in different nations in the Hemisphere, precautionary measures, follow up on recommendations, and other issues over which it has competence. In addition, the Commission held a series of hearings and working meetings with petitioners and representatives of OAS Member States to promote the friendly settlement of complaints. During its week of audiences, the Commission also convened hearings on the situation of human rights in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.


12.     The general and thematic issues on which the Commission received information during the session included torture, racial discrimination, the development of economic, social and cultural rights, and the situation of persons living with HIV/AIDS in several countries of the Americas. In this regard, representatives of various United Nations mechanisms made presentations to the Commission, including Mr. Theo Van Boven, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the question of torture, and Mr. Doudou Diene, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In addition, the Commission continued to receive information from its Special Rapporteurs in the course of its session, including information pertaining to the right to freedom of expression in various countries and the situation of indigenous peoples throughout the Hemisphere.


13.     Further, the Commission held working meetings with the parties in more than 50 petitions and cases from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru, during which various matters were discussed, including progress in compliance with the Commissions’ recommendations and the initiation and completion of friendly settlements. In addition, the Commission renewed its dialogue with representatives of several governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) through meetings between members of the Commission’s Executive and representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, during which a variety of issues of mutual interest were discussed relating to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Caribbean region. Further, the President of the Commission and its Executive Secretary met with members of several non-governmental organizations and engaged in exchanges of information on issues of common interest.


2.       118th regular session


14.     At the outset of its 118th regular session, the Commission elected a new board of officers, which was comprised of José Zalaquett, President, Dr. Clare K. Roberts, First Vice-President, and Susana Villarán, Second Vice-President. The election of the new board followed the resignations, for reasons of compatibility, of Marta Altolaguirre and Juan E. Méndez.


15.     During its 118th regular session, the Commission continued with its study of numerous individual communications alleging violations of human rights protected by the American Convention and the American Declaration and adopted a total of 80 reports on individual cases and petitions, 10 reports on friendly settlement, and several specific resolutions.


16.     In conjunction with its 118th session, the Commission convened 50 hearings between October 14 and October 20, 2003, concerning individual petitions and cases, precautionary measures, and general and specific situations relating to human rights. The subject matter of these hearings included the situation of human rights in Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Venezuela. Thematic issues upon which the Commission received information included the right to freedom of expression, the rights of children, the rights of indigenous people, the rights of women, and the rights of refugees, as well as the promotion of racial equality in Brazil, the situation of Afro-Colombian communities in Buenaventura, Colombia, racial discrimination in the United States, affirmative action in the Americas, and the situation of persons deprived of their liberty in the Hemisphere. Throughout the session, the Commission also continued to analyze trends affecting the stability of democratic institutions in the hemisphere, and in this respect paid particular attention to the situations in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Venezuela, and Cuba.


17.     As part of the session program, the Commission held various working meetings relating to petitions, cases and precautionary measures concerning Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru, and convened meetings with representatives of States,  intergovernmental agencies, and civil society organizations, to exchange experience and to reinforce coordination of efforts to protect human rights for inhabitants of the Hemisphere. In this respect, information was received from representatives of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and the International Organization for Migration. The Commission also continued its dialogue with member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), through a meeting between the Commission’s members and representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Suriname, in which the Commission received information on specific concerns relating to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Caribbean region.


          18.     Also during its 118th session, the Commission issued Resolution 1/03 on the prosecution of international crimes, approved publication of a special report on the situation of human rights in the Challapalca Prison, Department of Tacna, Peru, and continued with the examination and consideration of its Annual Report for 2003, to be presented to the OAS General Assembly in Quito, Ecuador in June 2004.  In addition, the Commission was pleased to receive Ambassador Eduardo Gutiérrez, Permanent Observer of the Kingdom of Spain to the OAS, who announced a generous financial contribution to the Commission from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency.


C.      On-Site Visits


On-Site Visit to Guatemala


19.     From March 24 to 29, 2003, the Commission conducted an on-site visit to the Republic of Guatemala, at the invitation of the government of President Alfonso Portillo, to observe the situation of human rights in that country. The Commission’s delegation for the visit included First Vice-President, Dr. José Zalaquett; Second Vice-President, Dr. Clare K. Roberts; Commissioner and Rapporteur for Guatemala, Susana Villarán; Commissioner and Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, Julio Prado Vallejo; Commissioner and Rapporteur for Migrant Workers, Juan E. Méndez; Executive Secretary Santiago A. Canton, and the Commission’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Eduardo Bertoni. 


20.     During its visit, the Commission met with various government officials, including the Vice-President, then acting-President, of the Republic, the Ministers of Interior and of Defense, and members of various government secretariats and commissions. The Commission also held meetings with members of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court, the Attorney General, the Public Defender and members of his office, and the President of Congress and members of the committees on human rights and on women, children, and family. Additional meetings were held with representatives of non-governmental organizations relating to a variety of human rights issues, including the rights of indigenous people, children, women, journalists and laborers, as well as with delegates from the institutions of other intergovernmental organizations, including MINUGUA and UNICEF.


21.     During its visit, the Commission focused particular attention on a variety of issues, including the administration of justice, the effort to end impunity, citizen security and the threat represented by the illegal bodies and clandestine security apparatuses, the situation of human rights defenders, discrimination against and social exclusion of indigenous peoples, women, and children, and freedom of expression. The Commission emphasized the fundamental importance of these issues for achieving the effective observance of the rule of law in a democratic society, and at the same time noted that democracy and the rule of law are necessary conditions for achieving the observance of and respect for human rights.


On-Site Visit to Haiti


22.     From August 18 to 22, 2003, the Commission conducted an on-site visit to the Republic of Haiti, at the invitation of its Government and in accordance with its mandate provided for in the OAS Charter, the American Convention on Human Rights, and OAS Resolutions CP/Res. 806 and AG/Res. 1841. The Commission’s delegation was comprised of Ms. Marta Altolaguirre, President of the Commission and Mr. Clare K. Roberts, Vice-President of the Commission and Rapporteur for Haiti, as well as members of the Secretariat Staff.  


23.     During its visit, the delegation met with officials from the Haitian government as well as representatives of civil society, political organizations and human rights organizations, including the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Justice and Public Security, the Director General of the National Police of Haiti, the Inspector General of the National Police, the President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Appeals Court, the Chief Prosecutor and the Chief Justice of the First Instance Tribunal of Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien and Gonaïves, as well as the Departmental Delegate and Chief of Police of Cap-Haitien et Gonaïves. The delegation also met with the Human Rights Ombudsman, representatives from the School of Magistrates, and the representatives of human rights non-governmental organizations, Bar Associations, associations of magistrates, and political parties.


          24.     In the course of its investigations, the Commission considered observance by the Republic of Haiti of its human rights obligations in the context of the difficulties facing that country, including the severe economic hardship and a long-lasting and tense political crisis. The Commission also expressed serious concerns with respect to the situation of human rights in Haiti, particularly with regard to the right to liberty and security of the person as well as numerous aspects of the administration of justice.


          25.     In this respect, the Commission noted deficiencies in respect of the right of a person to a hearing within a reasonable time by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal as well as the existence of significant limitations on the independence of the Haitian judiciary. In addition, the Commission observed serious problems dealing with the right to judicial protection, including the non-execution by competent authorities of release orders and other warrants and orders, and the continued problems of impunity caused by the failure to effectively investigate and punish serious human rights violations. Further, the Commission was very troubled by reports of the existence in Haiti of armed groups who act unlawfully and with impunity, sometimes terrorizing the population in certain areas, and expressed the view that the State’s failure to guarantee the population’s security in certain areas of the country and to end impunity and guarantee the right to judicial protection hindered the rule of law.


D.      Special visits and other activities


26.     In addition to its on-site visits, the Commission conducted a number of special visits to particular Member States and undertook a number of special activities in 2003.


27.     On January 13, 2003, an international team of experts appointed by the Commission undertook a mission to Mexico City, at the request of the Government of Mexico and the petitioners in case P12.299, in order to verify part of the technical evidence obtained in the investigation of the October 19, 2001 death of human rights defender, Attorney Digna Ochoa y Plácido. The team of exerts was comprised of: Dr. Pedro Díaz Romero, a consultant with the Commission; Dr. Alan John Voth, an expert with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and Dr. María Dolores Morcillo, a forensic physician from the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia. Pursuant to the terms of reference adopted by the Commission, the team of experts sought to verify whether the technical tests conducted in the areas of forensics, ballistics, and criminal pathology were consistent with international standards in the field, but were not responsible for determining the circumstances of Attorney Digna Ochoa’s death or for identifying or prosecution possible perpetrators, which tasks were solely within the purview of the Mexican authorities.


28.     From June 17 to June 27, 2003, Professor Robert K. Goldman Commissioner member and rapporteur for matters relating to the Republic of Colombia, undertook a working visit to that country. In the course of his visit, Commissioner Goldman held meetings with national and local officials, including the Vice President of the Nation, the Minister of Foreign Relations, the Minister of the Interior and Justice, the Vice Minister of Defense, the Attorney General of the Nation, and the President of the Constitutional Court. He also traveled to the Departments of Antioquia, Córdoba, and Chocó, and took various statements from individuals, community representatives, and representatives of civil society organizations. The main objectives for the visit were to obtain in-depth information on the situation at Comuna 13 in the city of Medellín and to verify compliance with the precautionary measures granted by the Commission to the Embera Katío indigenous community and the Afro-Colombian communities resettled in the Cararica. In the course of his visit, Commissioner Goldman also called attention to the challenges facing the Government of Colombia as it sought to establish peace and to demobilize the members of armed outlaw groups, and in this context emphasized the State’s obligation to refrain from adopting measures that would leave crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law unpunished.

29.    From July 14 to July 17, 2003, a delegation from the IACHR, composed of Commission President and Rapporteur for the Republic of Ecuador Lic. Marta Altolaguirre, Dr. Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary of the Commission, and Christina Cerna, the Secretariat’s specialist in charge of petitions and cases from Ecuador, conducted a visit to Ecuador.  The purpose of the visit was to make contact with the new state authorities.  Interviews were held with the following Government officials: Dr. Nina Pacari Verga, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Fabián Valdivieso Eguiguren, Director General of Human Rights for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Armando Bermeo, President of the Supreme Court of Justice; Ombudsman Dr. Claudio Mueckay; Attorney General Dr. Mariana Yépez; Dr. María Augusta Rivas, President of the National Congress’ Human Rights Commission, and attorney Mario Canessa, from the Ministry of Government and Police.  Working meetings were held with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State General Attorney’s Office officials, regarding specific cases being processed in the Commission, and the recent submission of two cases against Ecuador to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  The Commission delegation took advantage of its short stay in the country and met with several attorneys and petitioners in cases pending before the Commission.  In addition, the delegation took part in a meeting with several petitioners and NGO’s, organized by CEDHU.  The President of the Commission also gave a conference at the Post-Graduate Institute on International Sciences, entitled “Human Rights in America”, which was organized by Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo, a member of the Commission. 

30.     From August 25 to September 1, 2003, a delegation of the Commission comprised of Professor Robert K. Goldman, Commission member and rapporteur for the Republic of Argentina, Dr. Santiago Canton, Executive Secretary of the Commission, and staff from the Commission Secretariat conducted a working visit in Argentina. The purpose of the visit was to hold working meetings on specific cases being processed by the Commission, to examine the human rights situation in the country, and to conduct activities aimed at promoting the inter-American human rights system. To this end, the Commission delegation convened with competent authorities, petitioners and family members of victims in cases in which friendly settlement procedures were underway, and held meetings with government officials and with representatives of different sectors of civil society in Buenos Aires and Santiago del Estero.


31.     At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Peru, Dr. Marta Altolaguirre, President of the Commission and rapporteur for Peru, conducted a working visit in that country from August 26 to September 1, 2003. In the course of her visit, Dr. Altolaguirre attended the presentation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s of its final report on August 28, 2003 and met with members of that Commission. Meetings were also convened with government officials and representatives from different sectors of civil society, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice, and the Executive Secretary of the Office for the Coordination of Human Rights in Peru. In addition, the Commission followed up on efforts by the Peruvian state to seek integral settlements in the cases of human rights violations identified by the Commission in 105 final published reports, which covered 159 cases related to forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions for which the Commission had found the Peruvian state responsible. To this end, the Commission met with the Inter-Institutional Working Group for Follow Up of IACHR Recommendations, a body established by Peru to seek integral settlements and implement the Commission’s recommendations.


32.     On various occasions during the year, the Commission was invited by other bodies of the Organization of American States to present its views concerning the role of human rights in Hemispheric security and the campaign against terrorism, and to discuss the findings in the Commission’s 2002 Report on Terrorism and Human Rights. In this regard, on January 23, 2003, Professor Juan E. Méndez, President of the Commission, made a presentation during the Third Regular Session of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism in San Salvador, El Salvador relating to the common challenges faced by the Committee and the Commission in ensuring that the population of the Hemisphere region is protected from terrorist violence and disproportionate state responses to such violence. In addition, on March 4, 2003, Professor Méndez delivered a speech to the OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security concerning the relevance and importance of the inter-American human rights system to efforts to ensure the security of the region.


33.     On October 9, 2003, the Commission approved for publication a Special Report on the Human Rights Situation at the Challapalca Prison in the Department of Tacna, Republic of Peru. The report resulted from a visit conducted by the Commission to the Challapulca Prison on August 22 and 23, 2002, during which the Commission met with pertinent government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, relatives of persons held in the prison, and inmates themselves. Utilizing the information gathered during the visit and other information provided by various state organs, the Commission prepared its report, in which it analyzed Challapulca Prison in light of international rules and standards related to the conditions of detention as well as provisions of Peruvian legislation on the matter. The report also contained conclusions and recommendations arising out of the Commission’s analysis, which included a reiteration of the Commission’s finding in its 2000 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru that the Challapalca Prison was unfit for use as a prison and should be closed.


Inter-American human rights treaties


          34.     During this reporting period, the Commission was pleased to note the ratification by certain OAS Member States of several treaties pertinent to the protection of human rights in the Americas.


          35.     On January 28, 2003, the Republic of Guatemala deposited its instrument of ratification of the Inter-American Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities, and on May 30, 2003 the Republic of Bolivia delivered its instrument of ratification of the same treaty, bringing to 13 the number of state parties to the Convention.  


          36.     On October 23, 2003, the Republic of Argentina deposited its instrument of ratification of the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador), becoming the 13th state party to that treaty.


Fellowships and Internships


          37.     The Commission continued in 2003 with its "Rómulo Gallegos Fellowships" program.  The program provides training in the inter-American system for the protection and promotion of human rights for young attorneys from countries in the Hemisphere, who are selected annually on a competitive basis.  They must have demonstrated commitment to human rights and strong academic credentials. Over the year 2003, the Commission received five Rómulo Gallegos fellows, as well as one fellow for the Commission’s Special Rapporteurship on Indigenous Rights and two fellows through an agreement with the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame University. The Commission also created a new Fellowship position dedicated to candidates from the Caribbean region, the first recipient of which was an attorney from Antigua and Barbuda.


          38.     In addition to its fellowship program, the Commission continued and expanded its internship program. The Commission internships, which are administrated in cooperation with the OAS Student Intern Program, are designed for junior, senior and graduate students at the university level as well as junior professionals to allow them to work within their field of study. The object of the internships is to provide students and recent graduates in law or other related disciplines with the opportunity to learn about the Commission’s work. It also provides professionals with an opportunity to acquire practical training in the area of human rights, and to work together with the lawyers of the Executive Secretariat in different activities that are carried out by the IACHR. During 2003, the Commission received a total of 25 interns, partly through agreements between the IACHR and the law schools at several academic institutions, including American University, New York University, Yale University, and Harvard University. Additional information concerning the Commission’s fellowship and internship programs can be found on its web site at  


          Promotional activities


          39.     Throughout 2003, members of the Commission and Secretariat participated in numerous international conferences, workshops and training sessions on the international protection of human rights and related topics. Topics addressed at events in which the Commission took part included the functioning of the inter-American system, human rights in the context of terrorism and Hemispheric security, the application of the death penalty, the rights of migrant workers and other non-nationals, the use of international humanitarian law in the inter-American system, and promoting and protecting the rights of human rights defenders.


40.     On March 1, 2003, the Commission convened a one-day “Working Session on the Implementation of International Human Rights Commitments and Standards in the Inter-American System”. The event, which was possible thanks to the support and cooperation of the International Justice Project, included an introductory panel that provided a context and overview of issues for the session, and three additional panels that focused upon legislative, judicial, and intra-governmental mechanisms and initiatives to implement international human rights obligations and standards. The session involved the participation of more than 70 OAS member state and permanent observer representatives and 15 experts, and provided a valuable opportunity for collaboration among the governments and institutions of the inter-American system to enhance the practical effect of international human rights protections in the region.


41.     Throughout 2003, the Commission’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of the Child, through its Special Rapporteur Commissioner Susana Villarán, and with funding provided by the Inter-American Development Bank, held training seminars on the promotion and defense of the rights of children and adolescents in the inter-American system in numerous member states in the region, including Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil. The seminars were held in conjunction with pertinent ministries and institutions in each of the host countries, and were attended by officials from the executive and legislative branches of government, public defenders, judges, lawyers, child and health care professionals, youth workers, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and members of civil society.


          42.     The Members of the Commission, the Executive Secretary and Commission staff attorneys also participated in the Eighth Annual Moot Court Competition on the inter-American system of human rights in May 2003, organized by the Washington College of Law of the American University. The competition has been convened every year since 1996 and has involved more than 900 students and faculty representing 80 universities from more than 20 countries of the Hemisphere.  


E.         Activities of the Inter-American Commission in connection with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 


          43.     The Commission continued to litigate a number of matters before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.


          44.     Between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2003, the Commission submitted 15 cases to the Inter-American Court: Mauricio Herrera Ulloa and Fernando Vargas Rohrmoser (“La Nación” daily newspaper) (Costa Rica); Alfonso Martín del Campo Dodd (Mexico); Winston Caesar (Trinidad and Tobago); Yakye Axa Indigenous Community (Paraguay); Maria Teresa de la Cruz (Peru); Jorge Carpio Nicolle and others (Guatemala); Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz (El Salvador); Yatama (Nicaragua); Julio Acevado Jaramillo and others (Peru); Rigoberto Acosta Calderón (Ecuador); Daniel David Tibi (Ecuador); Marco Antonio Molina Theissen (Guatemala); Alfredo Lopez Alvarez (Honduras); and Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico (Dominican Republic). 


45.     Also during 2003, the Commission participated in numerous public hearings before the Court. During the Court’s LVIII Regular Period of Sessions from February 17 to March 2, 2003, the Commission participated in hearings on the following matters and cases: merits and eventual reparations, as well as amplification of provisional measures, in the Mack Chang Case (Guatemala); preliminary objections and eventual merits and reparations in the Juan H. Sánchez Case (Honduras); merits and eventual reparations in the Bulacio Case (Argentina); provisional measures in the Luis Uzcátegui Case (Venezuela); provisional measures in the Liliana Ortega and others Case (Venezuela); and provisional measures in the Luisiana Ríos and others Case (Venezuela). During the Court’s LIX regular period of sessions from June 4 to June 12, 2003 in Santiago, Chile, the Commission participated in a hearing on Advisory Opinion OC-18 relating to the human rights of migrant workers in the states of the Americas.



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[1] For further details concerning the Commission's periods of sessions in 2003, see the IACHR 2003 Press Releases on the Commission's web site: 

[2] Trinidad and Tobago requested that its reservation with respect to operative paragraph 7 be placed on record.

[3] The United States requested that its reservation be placed on record.  Its statement is attached.

[4] The United States reserves on paragraphs 2.b and 9 of this resolution and requests that the text of its statement be placed on record.  The text of the statement appears as an annex to this resolution.