IACHR Urges Peruvian Congress to Abide by Judicial Rulings Concerning the Election of Constitutional Court Judges

July 22, 2021

Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern over the announcement that the Congress of the Republic of Peru will go ahead with the process of electing members of the Constitutional Court (CC), despite the existence of a judicial ruling that was issued as part of a constitutional writ of amparo that suspended this process provisionally. In response, the IACHR urged Peruvian Congress to abide by judicial rulings concerning the election of judges to the Constitutional Court.

The IACHR noted the amparo proceedings brought by a citizen against the Congress of the Republic, which reported alleged irregularities in the process of electing judges to the Constitutional Court. In this context, the IACHR noted the ruling of July 6, 2021, issued by the Third Transitory Constitutional Court of the Superior Court of Justice of Lima, which granted a precautionary measure suspending the election process until the merits of the case are addressed. However, the Congress of the Republic announced that it would continue with the appointment process even though this has not yet happened. Furthermore, Congress has convened several sessions regarding the appointment process and has filed a complaint against the judge who granted the measure in question for alleged breach of trust.

In this regard, the IACHR noted that respect for judicial rulings is a central component of the rule of law, even though these may be challenged through the remedies provided by the law. The IACHR also emphasized that the judiciary must remain independent and separate from the other branches of government. This helps strengthen the rule of law, which is indivisible from guarantees and respect for human rights. The definitions, functions, and meanings of these institutional components are complementary and mutually reinforce one another, giving material content to the balance of power through the system of checks and balances.

Finally, the IACHR emphasized that during processes to select and appoint judicial personnel, openness, participation, and transparency contribute to building greater certainty about the integrity and suitability of those appointed, and thus build citizens' confidence in the objective nature of the process. As is stated in the report "Guarantees for the Independence of Justice Operators. Towards Strengthening Access to Justice and the Rule of Law in the Americas," from a substantive perspective, the most important thing in any appointment and selection procedure is for states to ensure these are not carried out or perceived by the public as being based on political motivations that affect operators' independence. In this sense, the IACHR warned that an inappropriate selection and appointment process for judicial personnel jeopardizes judicial independence, which is essential to preserving the rule of law.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 188/21

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