Press Release

IACHR Brings Argentina Case before the IA Court

February 27, 2018

   Contact info

IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9000

   More on the IACHR
A+ A-

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) over case 12.818, José Luis Hernández, involving Argentina.

The case concerns José Luis Hernández’s lack of access to healthcare. The beneficiary contracted meningitis while he was deprived of his liberty, and because he was not treated in a timely manner in similar conditions to those of a person who is not deprived of their liberty, he suffered permanent neurological damage, the absolute loss of vision in one eye, permanent partial impairment to the use of one arm, and memory loss. The IACHR found that the state violated the right to personal integrity and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. In this regard, it noted that the medical care the beneficiary was given was insufficient and came too late. Furthermore, the IACHR concluded that José Luis Hernández did not have access to an effective remedy to exercise his right to health. The IACHR also found that the victim’s right to personal liberty and the right to be presumed innocent were violated because he was placed in mandatory pretrial detention, which is incompatible with inter-American standards, notably because he was deprived of his liberty for a year and a half by being held at a police station. Finally, the IACHR found that José Luis Hernández’s mother’s right to personal integrity was violated.

In the Merits Report, the IACHR recommended that Argentina make full reparation to the victim through monetary compensation and measures of satisfaction that contemplate both the tangible and intangible damages he was caused as a result of the human rights violations described in the report. Likewise, the IACHR recommended that the victim be immediately provided physical and mental health treatment free of charge for as long as is necessary, provided that the victim requests this and agrees to it. Finally, it recommended that the appropriate nonrepetition measures be implemented to ensure that people who are deprived of their liberty in Buenos Aires Province receive timely medical diagnoses and the specialized health care they require, in accordance with the standards established in the Merits Reports, particularly the principle of equivalence.

The IACHR filed the application with the court on February 8, 2018, as it judged that Argentina had not complied with the recommendations set out in the Merits Report.

This case will allow the IA Court to develop and consolidate its jurisprudence on the right to adequate medical care and the scope of this regarding people who have been deprived of their liberty, specifically with regard to the principle of equivalence, particularly in circumstances in which there has been a series of omissions on the part of the state concerning a person in its custody, which led to irreversible consequences that could have been prevented, due to the nature of the illness in question.

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 and to defend 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. 036/18