IACHR WELCOMES DECISION OF GUATEMALA’S SUPREME COURT OF JUSTICE
Washington, DC, February 3, 2010 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), expresses its satisfaction over the decision of the Supreme Court to reopen criminal investigations in four cases of grave human rights violations in Guatemala. The cases were submitted by the Commission to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court’s decision marks an important step in the enforcement of the regional tribunal’s decision and against impunity.
In a decision dated December 11, 2009, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, in accordance with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ judgments on the merits of the cases “Street Children” (Villagrán-Morales et al.) (1998); “White Van” (Paniagua-Morales et al.) (1999); “Bámaca Velásquez” (2000) and; “Carpio-Nicolle et al.” (2004), declared the auto-execution of the judgments issued by the Inter-American Court; the nullification of the decisions issued in the aforementioned cases in the domestic courts because they violated universal principles of justice established in the American Convention on Human Rights; and ordered a new investigation in each case, requesting the intervention of the Public Ministry with the purpose of executing the investigations to effectively determine the persons responsible for the human rights violations established by the Inter-American Court in each case.
The decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala are based in the acknowledgement of the Inter-American Court’s jurisdiction and that the State of Guatemala “under the justification of national norms cannot obstruct or impede the compliance with what a supra national Tribunal ordered.” These decisions were declared in the context of requests made by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights presented by the Office for the Prosecution of Human Rights of the Public Ministry.
The IACHR recognizes these important decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice of Guatemala because they reflect an important step towards compliance with judgments issued by the Inter-American Court. They also constitute a concrete sign to fight impunity. Also, the IACHR reiterates the importance of strengthening the Office for the Prosecution of Human Rights, granting them sufficient and adequate resources to respond to the large number of pending cases on human rights.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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