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OEA/Ser.G
CP/RES. 963 (1728/09)
11 November 2009
Original: Spanish

 

CP/RES. 963 (1728/09)

 

RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE OPERATION OF THE

LEGAL ASSISTANCE FUND OF THE INTER-AMERICAN

HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM

 (Adopted at the meeting of November 11, 2009) 

 

THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,

 

HAVING SEEN:

 

Resolution AG/RES. 2426 (XXXVIII-O/08), “Establishment of the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System”; 

Resolution AG/RES. 2075 (XXXV-O/05), “Strengthening of Human Rights Systems pursuant to the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas,” and resolutions AG/RES. 2220 (XXXVI-O/06), AG/RES. 2291 (XXXVII-O/07), AG/RES. 2407 (XXXVIII-O/08), and AG/RES. 2521 (XXXIX-O/09), “Strengthening of Human Rights Systems pursuant to the Mandates Arising from the Fourth Summit of the Americas”; and 

Resolutions AG/RES. 2128 (XXXV-O/05), AG/RES. 2227 (XXXVI-O/06),  AG/RES. 2290 (XXXVII-O/07), AG/RES. 2409 (XXXVIII-O/08), and AG/RES. 2522 (XXXIX-O/09), “Observations and Recommendations on the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” and resolutions AG/RES. 2223 (XXXVI-O/06), AG/RES. 2292 (XXXVII-O/07), AG/RES. 2408 (XXXVIII-O/08), and AG/RES. 2500 (XXXIX-O/09), “Observations and Recommendations on the Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights”, 

BEARING IN MIND: 

That the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an organ of the OAS and included in its functions is oversight of the commitments and obligations assumed by the member states under the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights, as applicable; and 

That the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial institution of the OAS, and by virtue of Article 26(2) of its Statute, it manages its own budget, 

 

 CONSIDERING:
 

That the General Assembly, through resolution AG/RES. 2426 (XXXVIII-O/08), requested the Secretary General to establish a specific fund for voluntary contributions to be called the “Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System” (hereinafter “the Legal Assistance Fund”), to facilitate access to the inter-American human rights system by persons who currently lack the resources needed to bring their cases before the system;

 

That, through operative paragraph 2.b of resolution AG/RES. 2426 (XXXVIII-O/08), the General Assembly agreed that financial management of the Legal Assistance Fund shall be entrusted to the General Secretariat of the OAS, and its operations shall be governed by rules of procedure adopted by the Permanent Council, which shall contain clear accountability procedures;

 

That, according to operative paragraph 7 of resolution AG/RES. 2426 (XXXVIII-O/08), the General Assembly established that the Legal Assistance Fund shall take effect once the Permanent Council adopted its rules of procedure, after consulting with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, taking into account the observations made by civil society; and 

That the respective consultations have been held with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the observations of civil society have been taken into account, 

RESOLVES:
 

1.         To adopt the Rules of Procedure for the Operation of the “Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System” established in the Annex, which is part of this resolution.

 

2.         To designate the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System as a Humanitarian Fund pursuant to Article 80(i)(C) of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat.
 

3.         To instruct the Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs (CAAP) to study, within its current process of program review, the possibility of establishing a mechanism which would allow enhanced funding of the inter-American human rights system, through the program-budget of the OAS, including the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System.

 

4.         To request the Secretary General to publicize the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System as extensively as possible.


 

ANNEX

 

RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE OPERATION OF THE “LEGAL ASSISTANCE

FUND OF THE INTER-AMERICAN HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM”

 

 

ARTICLE 1

PURPOSE

 

1.1       The purpose of the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights system (hereinafter, the Fund) is to facilitate access to the inter-American system of human rights by persons who currently lack the resources needed to bring their cases before the system.

 

1.2       Operation of the Legal Assistance Fund of the Inter-American Human Rights System does not exonerate the OAS from its obligation to guarantee funding of the inter-American human rights system with resources from the Regular Fund.

 

1.3       Contributions to the Fund do not preclude other voluntary contributions or the establishment of other specific funds to finance the operation of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereafter, the Court) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereafter, the Commission), their programs, or the “Oliver Jackman Voluntary Capital Fund.”

 

 

ARTICLE 2

RESOURCES

 

2.1       The Fund shall be comprised of:

 

a)         Voluntary capital contributions from the member states of the OAS, the permanent observer states, and other states and donors that may wish to collaborate with the Fund, pursuant to the Article on “Specific Funds” of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat of the OAS;

 

b)         Yields from investments and interest accrued on the capital contributions established in paragraph 2.1 (a). 

 

ARTICLE 3

DISTRIBUTIONS

 

3.1       The Fund shall maintain two separate accounts, which shall be called:

 

a)         Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and

 

b)         Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

3.2       Contributions made to each of these two bodies in the inter-American system of human rights shall be deposited in the appropriate account.  Contributions made without specifying which body they are for shall be construed as contributions to be split equally between the two.

 

3.3       The Secretary General of the OAS shall submit an annual report to the Permanent Council reflecting the activities of the Fund, the contributions received during the corresponding year, and the Fund’s financial position.

 

ARTICLE 4

LEGAL ASSISTANCE

 

4.1              Approval of legal assistance shall be determined by the Court and the Commission, as the case may be, in accordance with regulations that each of these institutions shall issue to that end.

 

4.2              To that end, the aforementioned regulations could take into account, inter alia, the following:

 

a)                  Procedures that ensure that the potential beneficiaries receive support in due time and form.

 

b)               The establishment of a system for free defense counsel in both organs, for persons who need it, in accordance with the resources allocated by each Fund.

 

c)               Proven need for these resources by the potential beneficiaries.

 

d)               Consideration of mechanisms and procedures for the Court to reimburse costs to the Fund, in the event that the Fund has defrayed said costs.

 

e)               That assistance be provided to victims from all states based on criteria of objectivity in selection, and diversity and plurality in the representation of victims.

 

 

ARTICLE 5

MANAGEMENT OF FUNDS IN

THE “INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS” ACCOUNT

 

5.1       The Court shall administer funds received by the General Secretariat of the OAS from the “Inter-American Court of Human Rights” account of the Legal Assistance Fund, according to the Agreement between the General Secretariat of the OAS and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Administrative Functioning of the Secretariat of the Court, signed January 1, 1998 (hereinafter the Agreement). 

 

 

5.2  The Court:

 

a)                  Shall promote fundraising and, when appropriate, shall negotiate with donors the terms and conditions of donations and shall accept contributions to its account that are consistent with the purpose of the Fund and with the Charter of the OAS and the American Convention on Human Rights, without prejudice to the decisions, rules, and procedures of the General Secretariat of the OAS, and by virtue of the mandate received from the General Assembly for the financial management of the Fund.

 

b)                  Shall administer funds in the “Inter-American Court of Human Rights” account separately from the funds for the operation of the Court itself.  For this purpose it shall maintain separate accounting and shall conduct an independent audit of the account, similar to that which is defined in Article II.2 of the Agreement.

 

c)                  Shall present to the Permanent Council, through its Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, and the General Secretariat of the OAS, and separately from its Annual Report of activities, a specific annual report on the “Inter-American Court of Human Rights” account, which shall reflect the activities of the account, contributions received during the corresponding year, and the account’s financial position.

 

ARTICLE 6

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF THE

“INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS” ACCOUNT

 

6.1       The General Secretariat of the OAS shall conduct financial management of the “Inter-American Commission on Human Rights” account of the Legal Assistance Fund, according to its rules and procedures.

 

ARTICLE 7

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

 

7.1       The General Secretariat of the OAS shall conduct financial management of the Fund in accordance with its rules and procedures, including the Agreement.

 

7.2       The General Secretariat of the OAS:

 

a)         Shall accept contributions that are in keeping with the purpose of the Fund, in accordance with the Charter of the OAS and the American Convention on Human Rights.

 

b)         Shall negotiate the terms and conditions of donations with donors, in consultation with the Commission or the Court, as the case may be, that are consistent with the purpose of the Fund and of the OAS.

 

c)         Shall promote fundraising and the mobilization of resources for both accounts of the Fund, without prejudice to the Court and the Commission’s own initiatives in this regard, and shall periodically report to the Permanent Council on the results of these efforts.

 

d)         Shall submit an annual report to the General Assembly during each of its regular sessions, to reflect the activities of the Fund, contributions received during the corresponding year, and the Fund’s financial position. This report shall be part of the Annual Audit Report of Accounts and Financial Statements.

 

e)         The Fund’s accounts shall be subject to the annual audit conducted by the General Secretariat of the OAS, and the results shall be included in the annual report of the Board of External Auditors.

  

ARTICLE 8
ENTRY INTO FORCE, AMENDMENTS, AND REVOCATION
 

8.1       These rules of procedure shall enter into force immediately upon their adoption by the Permanent Council. 

8.2       These rules of procedure may be amended or revoked by the Permanent Council at its own initiative or by recommendation of the Secretary General who shall take into account the opinions of the Court and the Commission.

 


 

 

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