PROCEDURE OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Approved by the Court at its
Forty-ninth Regular Session
held from November 16 to 25,
These Rules regulate the organization and establish the procedure
of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The Court may adopt such other Rules as may be necessary to carry
out its functions.
In the absence of a provision in these Rules or in case of doubt
as to their interpretation, the Court shall decide.
For the purposes of these Rules:
the term Agent
refers to the person designated by a State to represent it before the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights;
the term Deputy Agent refers to the person
designated by a State to assist the Agent in the discharge of his duties
and to replace him during his temporary absences;
the expression General
Assembly refers to the General Assembly of the Organization of
the term Commission
refers to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
the expression Permanent
Commission refers to the Permanent Commission of the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights;
The expression Permanent
Council refers to the Permanent Council of the Organization of
the term Convention
refers to the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José,
the term Court
refers to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights;
the term Delegates
refers to the persons designated by the Commission to represent it
before the Court;
claimant refers to the person, group of persons, or nongovernmental
entity that instituted the original petition before the Commission,
pursuant to Article 44 of the Convention;
term day shall be
understood to be a natural day;
expression States Parties
refers to the States that have ratified or adhered to the
expression Member States
refers to the States that are members of the Organization of American
term Statute refers to the
Statute of the Court adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization
of American States on 31 October 1979 (AG/RES. 448 [IX-0/79]), as
expression next of kin
refers to the immediate family, that is, the direct ascendants and
descendants, siblings, spouses or permanent companions, or those
determined by the Court, if applicable;
expression report of the
Commission refers to the report provided for in Article 50 of the
term Judge refers to the
judges who compose the Court for each case;
expression Titular Judge
refers to any judge elected pursuant to Articles 53 and 54 of the
expression Interim Judge
refers to any judge appointed pursuant to Articles 6(3) and 19(4) of the
expression Judge ad hoc refers to any judge
appointed pursuant to Article 55 of the Convention;
term month shall be
understood to be a calendar month;
acronym OAS refers to the
Organization of American States;
expression parties to the
case refers to the victim or the alleged victim, the State and,
only procedurally, the Commission;
term President refers to
the President of the Court;
term Secretariat refers to
the Secretariat of the Court;
term Secretary refers to
the Secretary of the Court;
Secretary refers to the Deputy Secretary of the Court;
General refers to the Secretary General of the Organization of
refers to the Vice-President of the Court;
expression alleged victim
refers to the person whose rights under the Convention are alleged to
have been violated;
term victim refers to the
person whose rights have been violated, according to a judgment
pronounced by the Court.
ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE COURT
The Presidency and
Article 3. Election of the President and the
The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by the
Court for a period of two years and may be reelected. Their term shall begin on the
first day of the first session of the corresponding year. The election shall take place at
the last regular session held by the Court during the preceding year.
The elections referred to in this Article shall be by secret
ballot of the Titular Judges present. The judge who wins four or more
votes shall be deemed to have been elected. If no candidate receives the
required number of votes, a ballot shall take place between the two
judges who have received the most votes. In the event of a tie, the judge
having precedence in accordance with Article 13 of the Statute shall be
deemed to have been elected.
Article 4. Functions of the President
1. The functions of the
President are to:
represent the Court;
preside over the meetings of the Court and to submit for
consideration the topics appearing on the agenda;
direct and promote the work of the Court;
rule on points of order that may arise during the meetings of the
Court. If any judge so
requests, the point of order shall be decided by a majority
present a biannual report to the Court on the activities he has
carried out as President during that period;
exercise such other functions as are conferred upon him by the
Statute or these Rules, or entrusted to him by the Court.
In specific cases, the President may delegate the representation
referred to in paragraph 1(a) of this Article to the Vice-President, to
any of the judges or, if necessary, to the Secretary or to the Deputy
If the President is a national of one of the parties to a case
before the Court, or in special situations in which he considers it
appropriate, he shall relinquish the Presidency for that particular
case. The same rule shall apply to the Vice-President or to any judge
called upon to exercise the functions of the President.
Article 5. Functions of the Vice-President
The Vice-President shall replace the President in the latter's
temporary absence, and shall assume the Presidency when the absence is
permanent. In the latter
case, the Court shall elect a Vice-President to serve out the rest of
the term. The same
procedure shall be followed if the absence of the Vice-President is
In the absence of the President and the Vice-President, their
functions shall be assumed by the other judges in the order of
precedence established in Article 13 of the Statute.
Article 6. Commissions
The Permanent Commission shall be composed by the President, the
Vice-President and any other judges the President deems it appropriate
to appoint, according to the needs of the Court. The Permanent Commission shall
assist the President in the exercise of his functions.
The Court may appoint other commissions for specific
matters. In urgent cases,
they may be appointed by the President if the Court is not in
The commissions shall be governed by the provisions of these
Rules, as applicable.
Article 7. Election of the Secretary
The Court shall elect its Secretary, who must possess the legal
qualifications required for the position, a good command of the working
languages of the Court, and the experience necessary for discharging his
The Secretary shall be elected for a term of five years and may
be re-elected. He may be
removed at any time if the Court so decides. A majority of no fewer than four
judges, voting by secret ballot in the presence of a quorum, is required
for the appointing or removal of the Secretary.
Article 8. Deputy Secretary
The Deputy Secretary shall be appointed on the proposal of the
Secretary, in the manner prescribed in the Statute. He shall assist the Secretary in
the performance of his functions and replace him during his temporary
If the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary are both unable to
perform their functions, the President may appoint an Interim
Article 9. Oath
The Secretary and the Deputy Secretary shall take an oath or make
a solemn declaration before the President undertaking to discharge their
duties faithfully, and to respect the confidential nature of the facts
that come to their attention while exercising their functions.
The staff of the Secretariat, including any persons called upon
to perform interim or temporary duties, shall, upon assuming their
functions, take an oath or make a solemn declaration before the
President undertaking to discharge their duties faithfully and to
respect the confidential nature of the facts that come to their
attention while exercising their functions. If the President is not present
at the seat of the Court, the Secretary shall administer the oath.
All oaths shall be recorded in a document to be signed by the
person being sworn in and by the person administering the oath.
Article 10. Functions of the Secretary
functions of the Secretary shall be to:
communicate the judgments, advisory opinions, orders and other
rulings of the Court;
b. keep the
minutes of the meetings of the Court;
c. attend the
meetings of the Court held at its seat or elsewhere;
deal with the correspondence of the Court;
direct the administration of the Court, pursuant to the
instructions of the President;
prepare the drafts of the working schedules, rules and
regulations, and budgets of the Court;
g. plan, direct
and coordinate the work of the staff of the Court;
h. carry out the
tasks assigned to him by the Court or by the President;
perform any other duties provided for in the Statute or in these
Functioning of the
Article 11. Regular Sessions
During the year, the Court shall hold the sessions needed for the
exercise of its functions on the dates decided upon by the Court at the
previous session. In exceptional circumstances, the President may change
the dates of these sessions after prior consultation with the
Article 12. Special Sessions
Special sessions may be convoked by the President on his own
initiative or at the request of a majority of the judges.
Article 13. Quorum
quorum for the deliberations of the Court shall consist of five
Article 14. Hearings, Deliberations and
Hearings shall be public and shall be held at the seat of the
Court. When exceptional circumstances so warrant, the Court may decide
to hold a hearing in private or at a different location. The Court shall decide who may
attend such hearings. Even
in these cases, however, minutes shall be kept in the manner prescribed
in Article 42 of these Rules.
The Court shall deliberate in private, and its deliberations
shall remain secret. Only
the judges shall take part in the deliberations, although the Secretary
and the Deputy Secretary or their substitutes may attend, as well as
such other Secretariat staff as may be required. No other persons may be
admitted, except by special decision of the Court and after taking an
oath or making a solemn declaration.
Any question that calls for a vote shall be formulated in precise
terms in one of the working languages. At the request of any of the
judges, the Secretariat shall translate the text thereof into the other
working languages and distribute it prior to the vote.
The minutes of the deliberations of the Court shall be limited to
a statement of the subject of the discussion and the decisions taken.
Separate opinions, dissenting and concurring, and declarations made for
the record shall also be noted.
Article 15. Decisions and Voting
The President shall present, point by point, the matters to be
voted upon. Each judge
shall vote either in the affirmative or the negative; there shall be no
The votes shall be cast in inverse order to the order of
precedence established in Article 13 of the Statute.
The decisions of the Court shall be adopted by a majority of the
judges present at the time of the voting.
In the event of a tie, the President shall have a casting
Article 16. Continuation in Office by the
Judges whose terms have expired shall continue to exercise their
functions in cases that they have begun to hear and that are still
pending. However, in the
event of death, resignation or disqualification, the judge in question
shall be replaced by the judge who was elected to take his place, if
applicable, or by the judge who has precedence among the new judges
elected upon expiration of the term of the judge to be replaced.
All matters relating to reparations and indemnities, as well as
supervision of the implementation of the judgments of the Court, shall
be heard by the judges comprising it at that stage of the proceedings,
unless a public hearing has already been held. In that event, they shall be
heard by the judges who had attended that hearing.
All matters relating to provisional measures shall be heard by
the Court composed of Titular Judges.
Article 17. Interim Judges
Interim Judges shall have the same rights and functions as
Titular Judges, except for such limitations that have been expressly
Article 18. Judges Ad Hoc
In a case arising under Article 55(2) and 55(3) of the Convention
and Article 10(2) and 10(3) of the Statute, the President, acting
through the Secretariat, shall inform the States referred to in those
provisions of their right to appoint a Judge ad hoc within 30 days of
notification of the application.
When it appears that two or more States have a common interest,
the President shall inform them that they may jointly appoint one Judge
ad hoc, pursuant to Article
10 of the Statute. If those
States have not communicated their agreement to the Court within 30 days
of the last notification of the application, each State may propose its
candidate within 15 days.
Thereafter, and if more than one candidate has been nominated,
the President shall choose a common Judge ad hoc by lot, and shall
communicate the result to the interested parties.
Should the interested States fail to exercise their right within
the time limits established in the preceding paragraphs, they shall be
deemed to have waived that right.
The Secretary shall communicate the appointment of Judges ad hoc to the other parties to
The Judge ad hoc shall
take an oath at the first meeting devoted to the consideration of the
case for which he has been appointed.
Judges ad hoc shall
receive honoraria on the same terms as Titular Judges.
Article 19. Impediments, excuses and
Impediments, excuses and disqualification of Judges shall be
governed by the provisions of Article 19 of the Statute.
Motions for impediments and excuses must be filed prior to the
first hearing of the case.
However, if the grounds therefore were not known at the time,
such motions may be submitted to the Court at the first possible
opportunity, so that it can rule on the matter immediately.
When, for any reason whatsoever, a judge is not present at one of
the hearings or at other stages of the proceedings, the Court may decide
to disqualify him from continuing to hear the case, taking all the
circumstances it deems relevant into account.
Article 20. Official Languages
The official languages of the Court shall be those of the OAS,
which are Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.
The working languages shall be those agreed upon by the Court
each year. However, in a
specific case, the language of one of the parties may be adopted as a
working language, provided it is one of the official languages.
The working languages for each case shall be determined at the
beginning of the proceedings, unless they are the same as those already
being employed by the Court.
The Court may authorize any person appearing before it to use his
own language if he does not have sufficient knowledge of the working
languages. In such
circumstances, however, the Court shall make the necessary arrangements
to ensure that an interpreter is present to translate that testimony
into the working languages.
The interpreter must take an oath or make a solemn declaration,
undertaking to discharge his duties faithfully and to respect the
confidential nature of the facts that come to his attention in the
exercise of his functions.
The Court shall, in all cases, determine which text is
Article 21. Representation of the States
The States Parties to a case shall be represented by an Agent,
who may, in turn, be assisted by any persons of his choice.
If a State replaces its Agent, it shall so notify the Court, and
the replacement shall only take effect once the notification has been
received at the seat of the Court.
A Deputy Agent may be designated who will assist the Agent in the
exercise of his functions and replace him during his temporary
When appointing its Agent, the State in question shall indicate
the address at which all relevant communications shall be deemed to have
been officially received.
Article 22. Representation of the Commission
Commission shall be represented by the Delegates it has designated for
the purpose. The Delegates
may be assisted by any persons of their choice.
Article 23. Participation of the Alleged
When the application has been admitted, the alleged victims,
their next of kin or their duly accredited representatives may submit
their requests, arguments and evidence, autonomously, throughout the
When, there are several alleged victims, next of kin or duly
accredited representatives, they shall designate a common intervenor who
shall be the only person authorized to present requests, arguments and
evidence during the proceedings, including the public hearings.
In case of disagreement, the Court shall make the appropriate
Article 24. Cooperation of the States
The States Parties to a case have the obligation to cooperate so
as to ensure that all notices, communications or summonses addressed to
persons subject to their jurisdiction are duly executed. They shall also facilitate
compliance with summonses by persons who either reside or are present
within their territory.
The same rule shall apply to any proceeding that the Court
decides to conduct or order in the territory of a State Party to a
When the performance of any of the measures referred to in the
preceding paragraphs requires the cooperation of any other State, the
President shall request the corresponding government to provide the
Article 25. Provisional Measures
At any stage of the proceedings involving cases of extreme
gravity and urgency, and when necessary to avoid irreparable damage to
persons, the Court may, at the request of a party or on its own motion,
order such provisional measures as it deems pertinent, pursuant to
Article 63(2) of the Convention.
With respect to matters not yet submitted to it, the Court may
act at the request of the Commission.
The request may be made to the President, to any judge of the
Court, or to the Secretariat, by any means of communication. In every case, the recipient of
the request shall immediately bring it to the President's
If the Court is not sitting, the President, in consultation with
the Permanent Commission and, if possible, with the other judges, shall
call upon the government concerned to adopt such urgent measures as may
be necessary to ensure the effectiveness of any provisional measures
that may be ordered by the Court at its next session.
The Court, or its President if the Court is not sitting, may
convoke the parties to a public hearing on provisional measures.
In its Annual Report to the General Assembly, the Court shall
include a statement concerning the provisional measures ordered during
the period covered by the report. If those measures have not been duly
implemented, the Court shall make such recommendations as it deems
Article 26. Filing of Briefs
The application, the reply thereto, and any other briefs
addressed to the Court, may be presented in person, by courier,
facsimile, telex, mail or any other method generally used. If they are
dispatched by electronic means, the original documents must be submitted
within 15 days.
The President may, in consultation with the Permanent Commission,
reject any communication from the parties which he considers patently
inadmissible, and shall order that it be returned to the interested
party, without further action.
Article 27. Default Procedure
When a party fails to appear in or continue with a case, the
Court shall, on its own motion, take such measures as may be necessary
to complete the consideration of the case.
When a party enters a case at a later stage of the proceedings,
it shall take up the proceedings at that stage.
Article 28. Joinder of Cases and Proceedings
The Court may, at any stage of the proceedings, order the joinder
of interrelated cases, when there is identity of parties, subject-matter
and ruling law.
The Court may also order that the written or oral proceedings of
several cases, including the introduction of witnesses, be carried out
After consulting the Agents and the Delegates, the President may
direct that two or more cases be conducted simultaneously.
Article 29. Decisions
The judgments and orders for discontinuance of a case shall be
rendered exclusively by the Court.
All other orders shall be rendered by the Court if it is sitting,
and by the President if it is not, unless otherwise provided. Decisions
of the President that are not purely procedural may be appealed before
Judgments and orders of the Court may not be contested in any
Article 30. Publication of Judgments and Other
1. The Court shall order the
its judgments and other decisions, including separate opinions,
dissenting or concurring, whenever they fulfill the requirements set
forth in Article 55(2) of these Rules;
documents from the dossier, except those considered irrelevant or
unsuitable for publication;
records of the hearings;
d. any other
document that the Court considers suitable for publication.
The judgments shall be published in the working languages used in
each case. All other
documents shall be published in their original language.
Documents relating to cases already adjudicated, and deposited
with the Secretariat of the Court, shall be made accessible to the
public, unless the Court decides otherwise.
Article 31. Application of Article 63(1) of the
Application of this provision may be invoked at any stage of the
Article 32. Institution of the Proceedings
a case to be referred to the Court under Article 61(1) of the
Convention, the application shall be filed in the Secretariat of the
Court in the working languages. Whereas the filing of an application in
only one working language shall not suspend the proceeding, the
translations into the other language or languages must be submitted
within 30 days.
Article 33. Filing of the Application
brief containing the application shall indicate:
the claims (including those relating to reparations and costs);
the parties to the case; a statement of the facts; the orders on the
opening of the proceeding and the admissibility of the petition by the
Commission; the supporting evidence, indicating the facts on which it
will bear; the particulars of the witnesses and expert witnesses and the
subject of their statements; the legal arguments, and the pertinent
conclusions. In addition,
the Commission shall include the name and address of the original
petitioner, and also the name and address of the alleged victims, their
next of kin or their duly accredited representatives, when this is
The names of the Agents or the Delegates.
the application is filed by the Commission, it shall be accompanied by
the report referred to in Article 50 of the Convention.
Article 34. Preliminary Review of the
When, during a preliminary review of the application, the
President finds that the basic requirements have not been met, he shall
request the applicant to correct any deficiencies within 20 days.
Article 35. Notification of the Application
Secretary of the Court shall notify of the application to:
a. The President
and the judges of the Court;
b. the respondent
c. the Commission,
when it is not the applicant;
d. the original
claimant, if known;
e. the alleged
victim, his next of kin, or his duly accredited representatives, if
The Secretary shall inform the other States Parties, the
Permanent Council of the OAS through its President, and the Secretary
General of the OAS, of the filing of the application.
When notifying, the Secretary shall request the respondent States
to designate their Agent, and the Commission to appoint its Delegates,
within one month. Until the
Delegates are duly appointed, the Commission shall be deemed to be
properly represented by its President for all purposes of the case.
When the application has been notified to the alleged victim, his
next of kin or his duly accredited representatives, they shall have a
period of 30 days to present autonomously to the Court their requests,
arguments and evidence.
Preliminary objections may only be filed in the brief answering
The document setting out the preliminary objections shall set out
the facts on which the objection is based, the legal arguments, and the
conclusions and supporting documents, as well as any evidence which the
party filing the objection may wish to produce.
The presentation of preliminary objections shall not cause the
suspension of the proceedings on the merits, nor the respective time
periods or terms.
Any parties to the case wishing to submit written briefs on the
preliminary objections may do so within 30 days of receipt of the
When the Court considers it indispensable, it may convene a
special hearing on the preliminary objections, after which it shall rule
on the objections.
The Court may decide on the preliminary objections and the merits
of the case in a single judgment, under the principle of procedural
Article 37. Answer to the application
The respondent shall answer the application in writing within two
months of the notification.
The requirements indicated in Article 33 of these Rules shall
apply. The Secretary shall
communicate the said answer to the persons referred to in Article 35(1)
In its answer, the respondent must state whether it accepts the
facts and claims or whether it contradicts them, and the Court may
consider accepted those facts that have not been expressly denied and
the claims that have not been expressly contested.
Article 38. Other Steps in the Written
Once the application has been answered, and before the opening of
the oral proceedings, the parties may seek the permission of the
President to enter additional written pleadings. In such a case, the President,
if he sees fit, shall establish the time limits for presentation of the
Article 39. Opening
T he President
shall announce the date for the opening of the oral proceedings and
shall call such hearings as may be necessary.
Article 40. Conduct of the Hearings
The President shall direct the hearings. He shall prescribe the order in
which the persons eligible to take part shall be heard, and determine
the measures required for the smooth conduct of the hearings.
The provisions of Article 23 of these Rules of Procedure shall be
observed, with regard to who may speak for the victims or the alleged
victims, their next of kin or their duly accredited
Article 41. Questions Put During the Hearings
The judges may ask all persons appearing before the Court any
questions they deem proper.
The witnesses, expert witnesses and any other persons the Court
decides to hear may, subject to the control of the President, be
examined by the persons referred to in Articles 21, 22 and 23 of these
The President is empowered to rule on the relevance of the
questions posed and to excuse the person to whom the questions are
addressed from replying, unless the Court decides otherwise. Leading questions shall not be
Article 42. Minutes of the Hearings
Minutes shall be taken at each hearing and shall contain the
the names of the judges present;
the names of those persons referred to in Articles 21, 22 and 23
of these Rules, who are present at the hearing;
the names and personal information of the witnesses, expert
witnesses and other persons appearing at the hearing;
statements made expressly for the record by the States Parties,
by the Commission, by the victims or alleged victims, by their next of
kin or their duly accredited representatives;
the statements of the witnesses, expert witnesses and other
persons appearing at the hearing, as well as the questions posed to them
and the replies thereto;
f. the text of the
questions posed by the judges and the replies thereto;
g. the text of any
decisions rendered by the Court during the hearing.
The Agents, Delegates, victims or alleged victims, their next of
kin or their duly accredited representatives, and also the witnesses,
expert witnesses and other persons appearing at the hearing, shall
receive a copy of the relevant parts of the transcript of the hearing to
enable them, subject to the control of the Secretary, to correct any
errors in transcription.
The Secretary shall set the time limits for this purpose, in
accordance with the instructions of the President.
The minutes shall be signed by the President and the Secretary,
and the latter shall attest to their accuracy.
Copies of the minutes shall be transmitted to the Agents, the
Delegates, the victims and the alleged victims, their next of kin or
their duly accredited representatives.
Article 43. Admission
Items of evidence tendered by the parties shall be admissible
only if previous notification thereof is contained in the application
and in the reply thereto and, when appropriate, in the document setting
out the preliminary objections and in the answer thereto.
Evidence tendered to the Commission shall form part of the file,
provided that it has been received in a procedure with the presence of
both parties, unless the Court considers it essential that such evidence
should be repeated.
Should any of the parties allege force majeure, serious
impediment or the emergence of supervening events as grounds for
producing an item of evidence, the Court may, in that particular
instance, admit such evidence at a time other than those indicated
above, provided that the opposing parties are guaranteed the right of
In the case of the alleged victim, his next of kin or his duly
accredited representatives, the admission of evidence shall also be
governed by the provisions of Articles 23, 35(4) and 36(5) of the Rules
Article 44. Procedure for Taking Evidence
Court may, at any stage of the proceedings:
Obtain, on is own motion, any evidence it considers helpful. In
particular, it may hear as a witness, expert witness, or in any other
capacity, any person whose evidence, statement or opinion it deems to be
Request the parties to provide any evidence within their reach or
any explanation or statement that, in its opinion, may be useful.
Request any entity, office, organ or authority of its choice to
obtain information, express an opinion, or deliver a report or
pronouncement on any given point.
The documents may not be published without the authorization of
Commission one or more of its members to conduct measures in
order to gather evidence.
Article 45. Cost of Evidence
party requesting the production of an item of evidence shall cover its
Article 46. Convocation of Witnesses and Expert
The Court shall determine when the parties are to call their
witnesses and expert witnesses whom the Court considers it necessary to
hear. They shall be
summoned in the manner deemed most suitable by the Court.
The summons shall indicate:
the name of the witness or expert witness;
the facts on which the examination will bear or the object of the
Article 47. Oath or Solemn Declaration by Witnesses
and Expert Witnesses
After his identity has been established and before giving
evidence, every witness shall take an oath or make a solemn declaration
in which he shall state that he will speak the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth.
After his identity has been established and before performing his
task, every expert witness shall take an oath or make a solemn
declaration in which he shall state that he will discharge his duties
honorably and conscientiously.
The oath shall be taken, or the declaration made, before the
Court or the President or any of the judges so delegated by the
Article 48. Objections to Witnesses
Any party may object to a witness before he testifies.
If the Court considers it necessary, it may nevertheless hear,
for purposes of information, a person who is not qualified to be heard
as a witness.
The Court shall assess the value of the testimony and of the
objections made by the parties.
Article 49. Objections to Expert Witnesses
The grounds for disqualification applicable to judges under
Article 19(1) of the Statute shall also apply to expert witnesses.
Objections shall be presented within 15 days of notification of
the appointment of the expert witness.
If the expert witness who has been challenged contests the ground
invoked against him, the Court shall rule on the matter. However, when the Court is not
in session, the President may, after consultation with the Permanent
Commission, order the evidence to be presented. The Court shall be informed
thereof and shall rule on the value of the evidence.
Should it become necessary to appoint a new expert witness, the
Court shall rule on the matter.
Nevertheless, if the evidence needs to be heard as a matter of
urgency, the President, after consultation with the Permanent
Commission, shall make the appointment and inform the Court
accordingly. The Court
shall rule on the value of the evidence.
Article 50. Protection of Witnesses and Expert
States may neither institute proceedings against witnesses or
expert witnesses nor bring illicit pressure to bear on them or on their
families on account of declarations or opinions they have delivered
before the Court.
Article 51. Failure to Appear or False Evidence
Court shall inform the States when those persons summoned to appear or
declare, fail to appear or refuse to give evidence without good reason,
or when, in the opinion of the Court, they have violated their oath or
solemn declaration, so that the appropriate action may be taken under
the relevant domestic legislation.
Early Termination of the
Article 52. Discontinuance of a Case
When the party that has brought the case notifies the Court of
its intention not to proceed with it, the Court shall, after hearing the
opinions of the other parties thereto, decide whether to discontinue the
hearing and, consequently, to strike the case from its list.
If the respondent informs the Court of its acquiescence to the
claims of the party that has brought the case, the Court, after hearing
the opinions of the other parties to the case whether such acquiescence
and its juridical effects are acceptable. In that event, the Court shall
determine the appropriate reparations and indemnities.
Article 53. Friendly Settlement
When the parties to a case before the Court inform it of the
existence of a friendly settlement, compromise, or any other occurrence
likely to lead to a settlement of the dispute, the Court may strike the
case from its list.
Article 54. Continuation of a Case
Court, may notwithstanding the existence of the conditions indicated in
the preceding paragraphs, and bearing in mind its responsibility to
protect human rights, decide to continue the consideration of a
55. Contents of the Judgment
1. The judgment shall contain:
a. the names of
the President, the judges who rendered it, the Secretary and Deputy
b. the identity of
the parties and their representatives;
c. a description
of the proceedings;
d. the facts of
e. the conclusions
of the parties;
f. the legal
g. the ruling on
h. the decision,
if any, on reparations and costs;
result of the voting;
statement indicating which text is authentic.
judge who has taken part in the consideration of a case is entitled to
append a separate opinion, concurring or dissenting, to the judgment.
These opinions shall be submitted within a time limit to be fixed by the
President, so that the other judges may take cognizance thereof prior to
notification of the judgment. The said opinions shall only refer to the
issues covered in the judgment.
Article 56. Judgment on Reparations
When no specific ruling on reparations has been made in the
judgment on the merits, the Court shall set the time and determine the
procedure for the deferred decision thereon.
If the Court is informed that the parties to the case have
reached an agreement in regard to the execution of the judgment on the
merits, it shall verify the fairness of the agreement and rule
Article 57. Delivery and Communication of the
When a case is ready for judgment, the Court shall deliberate in
private and adopt the judgment, which shall be notified to the parties
by the Secretariat.
The texts, legal arguments and votes shall all remain secret
until the parties have been notified of the judgment.
Judgments shall be signed by all the judges who participated in
the voting and by the Secretary.
However, a judgment signed by the majority of the judges and the
Secretary shall also be valid.
Separate opinions, dissenting or concurring, shall be signed by
the judges submitting them and by the Secretary.
The judgments shall conclude with an order, signed by the
President and the Secretary and sealed by the latter, providing for the
communication and execution of the judgment.
The originals of the judgments shall be deposited in the archives
of the Court. The Secretary
shall dispatch certified copies to the States Parties, the parties to
the case, the Permanent Council through its President, the Secretary
General of the OAS, and any other interested person who requests
Article 58. Request for Interpretation
The request for interpretation, referred to in Article 67 of the
Convention, may be made in connection with judgments on the merits or on
reparations and shall be filed with the Secretariat. It shall state with
precision the issues relating to the meaning or scope of the judgment of
which the interpretation is requested.
The Secretary shall transmit the request for interpretation to
the parties to the case and shall invite them to submit any written
comments they deem relevant, within the time limit established by the
When considering a request for interpretation, the Court shall be
composed, whenever possible, of the same judges who delivered the
judgment of which the interpretation is being sought. However, in the
event of death, resignation, impediment, excuse or disqualification, the
judge in question shall be replaced pursuant to Article 16 of these
A request for interpretation shall not suspend the effect of the
The Court shall determine the procedure to be followed and shall
render its decision in the form of a judgment.
Article 59. Interpretation of the Convention
Requests for an advisory opinion under Article 64(1) of the
Convention shall state with precision the specific questions on which
the opinion of the Court is being sought.
Requests for an advisory opinion submitted by a Member State or
by the Commission shall, in addition, identify the provisions to be
interpreted, the considerations giving rise to the request, and the
names and addresses of the Agent or the Delegates.
If the advisory opinion is sought by an OAS organ other than the
Commission, the request shall also specify, further to the information
listed in the preceding paragraph, how it relates to the sphere of
competence of the organ in question.
Article 60. Interpretation of Other Treaties
If the interpretation requested refers to other treaties
concerning the protection of human rights in the American states, as
provided for in Article 64(1) of the Convention, the request shall
indicate the name of, and parties to, the treaty, the specific questions
on which the opinion of the Court is being sought, and the
considerations giving rise to the request.
If the request is submitted by an OAS organ, it shall indicate
how the subject of the request falls within the sphere of competence of
the organ in question.
Article 61. Interpretation of Domestic Laws
A request for an advisory opinion presented pursuant to Article
64(2) of the Convention shall indicate the following:
the provisions of domestic law and of the Convention or of other
treaties concerning the protection of human rights to which the request
the specific questions on which the opinion of the Court is being
the name and address of the applicant's Agent.
Copies of the domestic laws referred to in the request shall
accompany the application.
Article 62. Procedure
On receipt of a request for an advisory opinion, the Secretary
shall transmit copies thereof to all the Member States, the Commission,
the Permanent Council of the OAS through its President, the Secretary
General of the OAS and the OAS organs within whose spheres of competence
the subject of the revision of request falls, as appropriate.
The President shall establish the time limits for the filing of
written comments by the interested parties.
The President may invite or authorize any interested party to
submit a written opinion on the issues covered by the request. If the request is governed by
Article 64(2) of the Convention, he may do so after prior consultation
with the Agent.
At the conclusion of the written proceedings, the Court shall
decide whether there should be oral proceedings and shall fix the date
for such a hearing, unless it delegates the latter task to the
President. Prior consultation with the Agent is required in cases
governed by Article 64(2) of the Convention.
Article 63. Application by Analogy
Court shall apply the provisions of Title II of these Rules to advisory
proceedings, to the extent that it deems them to be compatible.
Article 64. Delivery and Content of Advisory
The delivery of advisory opinions shall be governed by Article 57
of these Rules.
Advisory opinions shall contain:
the name of the President, the judges who rendered the opinion,
the Secretary and Deputy Secretary;
b. the issues
presented to the Court;
c. a description
of the proceedings;
d. the legal
e. the opinion of
f. a statement
indicating which text is authentic.
Any judge who has taken part in the delivery of an advisory
opinion is entitled to append a separate opinion, dissenting or
concurring, to the opinion of the Court. These opinions shall be
submitted within a time limit to be fixed by the President, so that the
other judges can take cognizance thereof before the advisory opinion is
rendered. They shall be published in accordance with Article 30(1)(a) of
Advisory opinions may be delivered in public.
FINAL AND TRANSITORY
Article 65. Amendments to the Rules of
These Rules of Procedure may be amended by the decision of an
absolute majority of the Titular Judges of the Court. Upon their entry
into force, they shall abrogate the previous Rules of Procedure.
Article 66. Entry into Force
These Rules of Procedure, the Spanish and English versions of
which are equally authentic, shall enter into force on 1 June 2001.
Done at the seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in
San José, Costa Rica on this twenty-forth day of November, 2000.