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Inter-American Court is holding sessions from 17-28 May

From 17 to 28 May 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is holding ordinary sessions at its seat in Costa Rica. These sessions will include public hearings, deliberations of judgments to be handed down as well as hearings on and deliberations of provisional measures potentially to be granted by the Court. Also, sessions regarding the supervision of the compliance with the judgments already handed down will be held (for more information see the Court’s press release in Spanish).

The public hearings will be held on two cases currently before it. The first one, Gomes Lund et al. v. Brazil, deals with the alleged arbitrary detention, torture and forced disappearance of 70 persons, both members of the Brazilian Communist Party and local peasants, between 1972 and 1975. At that time Brazil had not yet ratified the American Convention of Human Rights (for an overview of the state of ratification see here). However, the Court has constantly held that the lack of investigation of such acts constitutes a continuous violation of the right to access to justice and may therefore be brought before the Court. In this case, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights submits that, due to the amnesty law applicable, the State did not conduct an effective investigation with a view to sanctioning the perpetrators of these acts. It is also alleged that the State has unduly restricted the right to information about the violations by the victims, which has also affected the personal integrity of the next of kin of the victims.

The second public hearing will be held on the case Rosendo Cantú et al. v. México. This case is about the alleged torture and rape of the indigenous women Me’phaa Valentina Rosendo Cantú of 16 February 2002 in the State of Guerrero, Mexico. It also deals with

  • the alleged authorities’ failure to adequately examine this case and punish the perpetrators which, the Commission argues, has had severe implications on the victim and her child
  • the use of military law in the context of the investigations and the proceedings,
  • the alleged lack of adequate compensation of the victim
  • and more generally with the alleged difficulties which Mexican indigenous people, particularly women, face when trying to access justice or the public health system.