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July 16, 1999




With regard to the public debate surrounding the Inter-American Human Rights system and some decisions taken by a few member states, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Cesar Gaviria, expressed: "Heeding the recommendations of the Commission and complying with the decisions of the Court is essential for the integrity and legitimacy of the system." In his judgment, and as the Presidents and Prime Ministers expressed in the Santiago Summit, the Inter-American Human Rights system is a fundamental part of the broad-ranging strengthening process of both democracy and human rights in the hemisphere. For that reason, as well, they have issued declarations urging all member states to ratify the Convention and accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court. "As I have said from the moment I became Secretary General five years ago, the Secretariat will continue to promote this policy which it considers an essential part of its responsibilities in the OAS, and will continue to work to strengthen the system, as well as consolidate its independence administratively and financially," Gaviria stated.

With respect to the decision taken recently by the government of Peru to withdraw its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Secretary General stated: "I have the greatest respect for the policies of the government of President Fujimori to face terrorism without concessions. This has been, without a doubt, an effective policy which has contributed in an important way to the strengthening of the rule of law in Peru. Because of this policy, Peru enjoys the immense satisfaction of having moved beyond one of the most intense waves of terrorism ever in the history of the Americas."

The Secretary General stated that it is not for him to comment on the substance or merit of any case before the Court, nor regarding the decision taken by Peru. He hopes that Peru will find in the future a way to comply with the sentence of the Court, which does not prejudice its policies against terrorism.