Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Peru to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

November 1, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed on August 6, 2019 an application before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) in Case 12,993, Jorge Luis Cuya Lavy and Others, with regard to Peru.

This case refers to a series of human rights violations in the context of the evaluation and ratification process to which the National Council of Magistrates (CNM, by its Spanish acronym) subjected the victims in this case—public prosecutors and judges—in 2001–2002. The Commission found that the State had violated the victims’ right to prior, detailed knowledge of the allegations, and their right to have adequate time and means to prepare their defense. During evaluation and ratification proceedings, the CNM never pressed formal charges against the victims, and it did not let the victims know the allegations or complaints against them so they might submit evidence in their own defense. The CNM then decided not to ratify the victims in their positions.

The IACHR further considered that the State had violated the victims’ right to duly substantiated decisions, and the legality principle. The CNM’s resolutions when it decreed that the victims were not being ratified were completely unsubstantiated. The legal framework for the evaluation and ratification process did not provide for specific causes that enabled the victims to understand concrete behaviors assessed by the CNM and which of them might be considered serious faults, to the extent that they justified non-ratification and therefore removal from a position.

The Commission further found that the State had violated the victims’ right to appeal court decisions and their right to judicial protection, since the normative framework in place stated that CNM decisions concerning evaluations and ratifications of judges and public prosecutors were not amenable to review, and since the victims were also not allowed to file an appeal against the potential human rights violation that stemmed from those decisions. Finally, the Commission concluded that the State had violated the victims’ political rights, by removing them from their positions in arbitrary proceedings involving several violations of due process and the legality principle.

The Commission recommended that the State adopt the following reparation measures:

  1. Reinstating the victims in similar positions to the ones they held, with the same compensation, social benefits, and standing they would currently hold if they had not been dismissed. If the victims do not wish to be reinstated or if there are objective reasons that prevent their reinstatement, the State should pay them adequate compensation, regardless of any reparations due for material and moral damages included in recommendation 2.
  2. Providing comprehensive reparations for the consequences of the human rights violations mentioned in the Merits Report, including both material and immaterial damage.
  3. Adopting the necessary non-repetition measures to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. In particular, enforcing due process in the context of procedures to evaluate and ratify judges and public prosecutors, with any legislative and other measures required to ensure these procedures comply with the standards described in the Merits Report. In particular, the State will need to make any legislative and practical changes needed to: i) ensure that procedures to evaluate and ratify judges and public prosecutors are based on the need for legal control and do not amount to a vote of confidence; ii) duly regulate faults that lead to non-ratification of a judge or public prosecutor, based on objective, proportionate criteria; iii) allow judges and public prosecutors to defend themselves from concrete charges against them based on these objective criteria, and grant them the chance to appeal proceedings against them to higher administrative levels, so any punishment can be confirmed, independently of any legal appeal for potential violations of due process; and iv) ensure that judicial appeals for alleged violations of due process in this kind of proceedings are accessible and simple, and enable a statement on the merits of the case.

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. 280/19