Press Release

IACHR Adopts Resolution on Initial Review of Petitions

November 7, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - During its 173rd Period of Sessions, held in Washington, DC, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights adopted Resolution 1/19 and its Annex, with the aim of establishing regulations on the possibility of petitioners requesting a review of the decision not to open their petition for processing. This measure is part of the series of measures adopted by the IACHR to reduce procedural backlog in the petition and case system.

The procedure for the initial review of petitions is regulated in articles 26 through 29 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, and is a function that the IACHR delegates to its Executive Secretariat. The procedure entails a complete preliminary analysis of the admissibility and competence requirements of the petitions in the terms set out in the American Convention on Human Rights, the IACHR Rules of Procedure and Statues, and any other inter-American instruments that may apply. The decision following the initial review is final and may only be subject to a request for a new review in the manner set out in Resolution 1/19. All such requests will be review in chronological order.

In this regard, and in a way compatible with the reviewing of decisions not to open a petition for processing, the IACHR notes that one of the concrete measures established in the Strategic Plan 2017–2021 to address the procedural backlog that has built up since the 1990s is the strict observance of the requirements for opening a petition for processing, within the parameters of the IACHR Rules of Procedure.
“Resolution 1/19 reinforces this mandate by establishing clear parameters and setting a time limit for requesting a review of the decision not to open a petition for processing. These apply to exceptional cases in which there are grounds for arguing that an error may have been made. It also makes such decisions definitive,” said Paulo Abrão, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR.

Resolution 1/19 also reports on the process of reviewing 2,734 requests for a new initial review after petitioners were informed of the decision not to open their petition for processing. In the course of this process, it was decided that 2,386 requests would be permanently dismissed and 348 would be re-examined in the first half of 2020. In an important step towards addressing procedural backlog, the IACHR decided to notify petitioners of the definitive decision not to open these 2,386 petitions for processing through the Resolution 1/19 itself, and to publish an annex containing a list of all the petitions 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. 287/19