Press Release

IACHR Takes Case involving Peru to the Inter-American Court

November 22, 2013

Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case No. 12.794, Wong Ho Wing, Peru.

The facts in this case involve a series of violations of the rights of Mr. Wong Ho Wing, a national of the People’s Republic of China, from the moment he was taken into custody in Peru, on October 27, 2008, and throughout the extradition process, which is still ongoing. In its Report on the Merits of the case, the Commission concluded that Mr. Wong Ho Wing has been and continues to be subjected to an arbitrary and excessive deprivation of liberty that has no procedural basis and that has been extended for more than five years under the concept of “provisional arrest,” without a final determination having been made as to his legal situation.

The Commission also concluded that at the different stages of the extradition proceedings, domestic authorities have committed a series of omissions and irregularities in the processing of the case and in procuring and weighing the reported assurances offered by the People’s Republic of China. The Commission found that these omissions and irregularities constituted not only violations of several aspects of due process, but a failure to comply with the obligation to guarantee Mr. Wong Ho Wing’s right to life and to humane treatment, given the risk that the death penalty or possible acts of torture could be applied.

The Commission also concluded that since May 24, 2011, when the Peruvian Constitutional Court ordered the executive branch to refrain from extraditing Mr. Wong Ho Wing, the State authorities have failed to comply with a court ruling, which is incompatible with the right to judicial protection.

The case was sent to the Inter-American Court on October 30, 2013, because the Commission considered that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in its Report on the Merits of the case. In that report, the Inter-American Commission concluded that the State of Peru had violated Wong Ho Wing’s rights to personal liberty, life, humane treatment, a fair trial, and judicial protection. Consequently, the IACHR recommended that the State order the measures necessary to ensure that the extradition process is brought to a conclusion as soon as possible, in accordance with the procedures set for the in the Peruvian Code of Criminal Procedure, denying the extradition in strict compliance with the Constitutional Court’s ruling of May 24, 2011. In carrying out this recommendation, the State must ensure than none of its authorities put into practice mechanisms that would obstruct or delay enforcement of that ruling. The IACHR also recommended that the State order an ex officio review of Wong Ho Wing’s provisional arrest, and make full reparations to him for the violations established in the merits report.

In its Report on the Merits, the Commission also recommended that the State, within a reasonable period, order measures of non-repetition to ensure that the procedures established in the Code of Criminal Procedure are followed to the letter in future extradition processes and that the necessary safeguards are in place to ensure that any diplomatic or other assurances offered by the requesting State are procured and weighed in accordance with relevant international standards.

In addition, the Commission notes that this case provides the first opportunity for the Inter-American Court to develop case law on standards that must be applied in extradition cases and decisions so that the States do not end up violating their international obligations under the American Convention. Specifically, the Court will be able to issue an opinion on the issue of diplomatic or other types of assurances in the face of risks that the death penalty or acts of torture will be applied in the requesting State.

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. 93/13