IACHR Takes Case Involving Argentina to the Inter-American Court
April 7, 2011
Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case 12.539, Sebastián Claus Furlan and Family, with respect to Argentina.
The case has to do with the unjustified delay of more than 12 years in a civil case involving an accident that took place in an abandoned military training area belonging to the Argentine Army. The accident left Sebastián Claus Furlan, then 14 years old, with irreversible brain damage. As a result of the accident, Sebastián currently suffers from a permanent partial disability of 70%. The civil process, which was initiated with an action brought by Sebastián Furlan's father against the Ministry of Defense for "damages and prejudicial consequences," took ten years before a judgment was issued, and was in the execution phase for more than two years. The IACHR concluded that the permanent disability Sebastián suffered as a result of the accident was aggravated by the delay in receiving compensation, which, given the petitioner's precarious economic situation, was critical to be able to provide Sebastián with adequate, timely rehabilitation treatment and psychological and psychiatric care. Moreover, the petitioner received 33% of the compensation amount, as the judgment was enforced more than two years after it was issued and was executed in the form of bonds, even though the courts had ordered payment in Argentine pesos. The case represents an opportunity for the development of case law in the inter-American system in determining the reasonableness of time periods in civil cases involving the principle of a child's best interest and the interests of persons with disabilities. The case was sent to the Inter-American Court on March 15, 2011, because the Commission deemed that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in the report on the merits.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.