Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Argentina to the Inter-American Court

June 15, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court HR) in Case No. 12.167 Hugo Oscar Arguelles et al., Argentina.

The case refers to the violation of the right to personal liberty and the right to a fair trial in the domestic proceedings of a military court against members of the military for the crime of military fraud, pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Military Justice of Argentina, then in force. The Commission found violation of the right to personal liberty of the victims by maintaining them in a situation of preventive detention that exceeded the limits of reasonableness. In addition, the Commission concluded that the Code of Military Justice included certain provisions that prima facie constituted an infringement of the right to a fair trial and to access to justice. The Code was repealed in the framework of a friendly settlement on a different case also processed by the IACHR.

The case was sent to the IA Court HR on May 29, 2012, because the Commission considered that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in its Report on the Merits. In that report, the Inter-American Commission recommended the State to grant full reparations, especially adequate compensation, to the 21 victims, for the violations declared in this decision.

In addition, the case involves issues of inter-American public order. The Inter-American system has in the past developed standards and case law regarding both the treatment of civilians in military courts, and proceedings before military courts against military officers accused of human rights violations. However, since it has a factual basis different from those already examined by the inter-American system, this case would allow the Court to establish standards for due process and for the protection of the right to personal liberty in proceedings under military jurisdiction, regarding military officers on active duty being tried for offenses in the course of duty.

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.

No. 67/12