IACHR Expresses Concern over the Ousting of the Paraguayan President
June 23, 2012
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deep concern over the ousting of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo through an impeachment process that, because of its speed, generates profound questions as to its integrity.
The House of Representatives of the Paraguayan Congress decided on June 21, 2012, to initiate an impeachment process against President Lugo. The following day, the Senate voted for his removal from office, with 39 votes in favor, four against and two members absent. The resolution on the procedure to be followed, which was approved by the Paraguayan Senate on June 21, established that President Lugo was to present his defense the following day, for two hours. According to the media, a request presented to the Senate by representatives of President Lugo in order to have more time to prepare his defense was rejected.
The Inter-American Commission considers unacceptable the speed with which the impeachment of the constitutional and democratically elected President was conducted. Considering that it was a process for the removal of a Head of State, it is highly questionable that this could be done within 24 hours while still respecting the due process guarantees necessary for an impartial trial. The Commission considers that the procedure that was followed affects the rule of law.
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 area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.