ZETA.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) over case 12.924, Julio César Ramón Del Valle Ambrosio and Carlos Eduardo Domínguez Linares, involving Argentina.
The case concerns the violation of the rights to appeal a ruling and to legal protection enshrined in articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to the detriment of Julio César Ramón del Valle Ambrosio and Carlos Eduardo Domínguez Linares, due to the fact in December 1997, Córdoba’s Ninth Chamber of Criminal Law ruled them to be accessories to the crime of fraud and sentenced each of them to three years and six months in prison. Their defense attorneys filed motions for cassation, which were declared inadmissible without being analyzed in depth.
Furthermore, the IACHR considers that the ruling on these motions was part of a restrictive interpretation of the law and, given that this was the only appeal against a trial court conviction, Julio César Ramón Del Valle Ambrosio and Carlos Eduardo Domínguez Linares were not granted a comprehensive review before the appropriate authority, one that included questions of fact and evidentiary value alleged by the defense.
In the Merits Report on the case, the IACHR recommended that Argentina provide full redress for the violations of rights that had been identified, including just compensation for the tangible and intangible harm caused. It also recommended that the necessary legislative measures be taken to bring its domestic legislation on cassation in line with the standards established in the report on the right to a fair trial that is enshrined in article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights. Independently of such potential changes to legislation, it also recommended that legal authorities review domestic laws to ensure that they comply with inter-American standards on rulings on appeals against convictions.
The IACHR filed the application to the court on September 4, 2018, as it judged that Argentina had not complied with the recommendations put forward in the Merits Report.
This case gives the Court an opportunity to expand its jurisprudence on criminal due process and, particularly, the right to appeal a conviction. The procedural law in several of Argentina’s provinces continues to be incompatible with international standards, since it establishes first instance appeals, specifically motions for cassation, as being the only possible recourse against a conviction, the grounds for which are limited to mistakes of law and mistakes of fact. The IACHR has requested that Argentina undertake a comprehensive review of its internal legislation, which it has yet to implement.
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.