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A petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: How to enforce human rights?

Knowing how to use the available legal tools greatly facilitates timely access to justice. The Inter-American System The Human Rights Commission is a guarantor of human rights in the American continent, so it is very useful to have a thorough understanding of its competence.

This system was born after the difficult experience of mankind in various war conflicts. Where fundamental guarantees have been systematically and profoundly violated. Its intention is to promote the regional protection of human rights under all circumstances. To this end, it takes action through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court).

These two agencies, as executing arms, are responsible for monitoring the compliance of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) with their obligations in this regard.

Before submitting any individual petition directly to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the following should be considered it is necessary to resort to the IACHR. The commission is responsible for investigating whether the case of human rights violations is appropriate and can make recommendations to the responsible State, with the intention of restoring, as far as possible, the enjoyment of fundamental guarantees, preventing the occurrence of similar situations and repairing the damages committed. Here are the corresponding instructions with relevant information on the process of submitting a case to the commission.

It should be noted that the IACHR will agree to investigate only those cases in which all domestic judicial remedies have been exhausted.The application must have been submitted to the national courts of the country where the situation has been denounced and the judiciary of that State has issued a decision of last instance in which the application was found to be inadmissible.

If domestic remedies have not been exhausted, other permitted requirements must be met.only applied when domestic laws do not provide for due process to protect the rights that have been violated, the exhaustion of domestic remedies has been prevented, or there is delay in rendering a final decision.

The petition may be filed after six months from the exhaustion of domestic judicial remedies. However, when any of the above-mentioned exceptions are to be admitted, the six-month period does not apply.

How to file the petition

Requests can be made by any personThe OAS is an organization or group of people to denounce a violation of human rights against one or more OAS member states.

The petitioner may act as both petitioner and alleged victim in a petition at the same time.. In cases where required, the Commission has the power to protect the identity of the alleged victim in legal documents. Likewise, it may reserve the identity of the petitioner, if required.

It is important to note that filing the petition does not require the services of an attorney. no fee is required. These are the data that must be included:

Personal data of the alleged victim and his or her relatives.

  • Personal data of the requesting party, such as full name, telephone numbers, mailing address and e-mail address.
  • Full, clear and detailed description of the facts, including how, when and where they occurred and the State held responsible for the actions.
  • Indication of the authorities considered responsible, as well as the human rights allegedly violated in the facts.
  • The internal judicial instances before which charges and legal actions were brought, as well as the response of the state authorities, especially the courts.
  • Indication, if any, of the submission of the petition to another international organization with competence to resolve this type of case.

Status of the petition before the inter-American commission

Once the commission acknowledges receipt, the petition may proceed to any of the following phases: not to open the petition for processing, to request additional information for the investigation, or to open the process. When the petition is opened for processing and moves to the admissibility stage, it means that the requirements for the IACHR to investigate the case in depth have been met, but it does not guarantee what decision will be taken.

At the admissibility stage will be sent to the corresponding State so that it may present its observations on the matter. At this stage, the exchange of information and consideration of the arguments of both parties begins.

When the commission decides that there has indeed been a violation of human rights by a State, shall issue a report with specific recommendations aimed at putting an end to the acts that violate fundamental guarantees, clarifying the facts and carrying out the pertinent investigations, and repairing the damages caused.

In the event that the State does not comply with the recommendations suggested by the commissionThe IACHR will submit the petition to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which will analyze and issue a judgment.

Venezuela before the American Convention

In order for the Court to act, States must have recognized its jurisdiction. Venezuela, as part of the system the denunciation of the American Convention. Denunciation in public international law is the unilateral declaration through which a State decides to withdraw its consent to an international treaty, breaking the binding relationship that bound it through the same.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been informed that Venezuela submitted to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) an instrument of denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights, dated September 6, 2012.

The Commission notes that, once the denunciation of the Convention enters into force within one year, Venezuela, as a member state of the OAS, will continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission. and the obligations imposed by the OAS Charter and the American Declaration, signed by the State of Venezuela in 1948. Likewise, any case of violation of human rights occurring up to the date of entry into force of the complaint may be heard by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), in accordance with Article 78.2 of the American Convention.

The lapse of time for the OAS Charter to become null and void

In turn, on April 27, 2017, the OAS complaint was delivered to Secretary General Luis Almagro.. The reasons for Venezuela's denunciation are due to the fact that "Luis Almagro and the OAS are responsible for leading the attacks against the nation and for promoting interventionist actions". After the denunciation, 24 months must elapse for the OAS Charter to be without effect for Venezuela.

The country was a member of the Court until 2013, when its president, Nicolás Maduro, decided to withdraw on September 10 of that year.

It should be noted that the Commission cannot admit a case when it involves a country that does not belong to a country that is not a member of the to the OAS. It is also not authorized to provide lawyers to assist in domestic judicial proceedings, nor to provide financial assistance, carry out immigration procedures or process the granting of visas or political asylum.

Sources consulted