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» AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS “P ACT OF SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA” (B-32)
The American states signator y to the present Convention,
their intention to consolidate in this hemisphere, within the framework of democratic institutions,
a system of personal liberty and social justice based on respect fo r the essential rights of man;
that the essential rights of man are not derived from one’s being a national of a certain state, but
are based upon attributes of the human personality, and th at they therefore justify international protection in
the form of a convention reinforcing or complementing the protec tion provided by the domestic law of the
that these principles have been set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States, in
the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and in the Univer sal Declaration of Human
Rights, and that they have been reaffirmed and refined in other international instruments, worldwide as well as
regional in scope;
that, in accordance with the Universal Declar ation of Human Rights, the ideal of free men
enjoying freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may
enjoy his economic, social, and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights; and
that the Third Special Inter-American C onference (Buenos Aires, 1967) approved the
incorporation into the Charter of the Organization itself of broader standards with respect to economic, social,
and educational rights and resolved that an inter-American convention on human rights should determine the
structure, competence, and procedure of the organs responsible for these matters,
Have agreed upon the following:
PART I – STATE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS PROTECTED CHAPTER I – GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
Article 1. Obligation to Respect Rights
1. The States Parties to this Convention undertake to re spect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to
ensure to all persons subject to th eir jurisdiction the free and full exerci se of those rights and freedoms,
without any discrimination for reasons of race, colo r, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,
national or social origin, economic stat us, birth, or any other social condition.
2. For the purposes of this Conventio n, “person” means every human being.
Article 2. Domestic Legal Effects
Where the exercise of any of the rights or freedom s referred to in Article 1 is not already ensured by
legislative or other provisions, the States Parties unde rtake to adopt, in accordance with their constitutional
processes and the provisions of this Convention, such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to
give effect to those rights or freedoms.
CHAPTER II – CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
Article 3. Right to Juridical Personality
Every person has the right to recognition as a person before the law.
Article 4. Right to Life
1. Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general,
from the moment of conception. No one shal l be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries that have not abolis hed the death penalty, it may be imposed only for the most serious crimes
and pursuant to a final judgment re ndered by a competent court and in accordance with a law establishing
such punishment, enacted prior to the commission of the crime. The application of such punishment shall not
be extended to crimes to which it does not presently apply.
3. The death penalty shall not be reestablis hed in states that have abolished it.
4. In no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political offenses or related common crimes.
5. Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were
under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age; nor shall it be applied to pregnant women.
6. Every person condemned to death shall have the righ t to apply for amnesty, pardon, or commutation of
sentence, which may be granted in all cases. Capital punishment shall not be imposed while such a petition is
pending decision by the competent authority.
Article 5. Right to Humane Treatment
1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected.
2. No one shall be subjected to tortur e or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons
deprived of their liberty shall be treated with re spect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
3. Punishment shall not be extended to any person other than the criminal.
4. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstan ces, be segregated from convicted persons, and shall
be subject to separate treatment appropria te to their status as unconvicted persons.
5. Minors while subject to criminal proceedings shall be separated from adults and brought before specialized
tribunals, as speedily as possible, so that they may be treated in accord ance with their status as minors.
6. Punishments consisting of deprivation of liberty sh all have as an essential aim the reform and social
readaptation of the prisoners.
Article 6. Freedom from Slavery
1. No one shall be subject to slavery or to involuntary servitude, which are prohibited in all their forms, as are
the slave trade and traffic in women.
2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compul sory labor. This provision shall not be interpreted to
mean that, in those countries in which the penalty estab lished for certain crimes is deprivation of liberty at
forced labor, the carrying out of such a sentence impos ed by a competent court is prohibited. Forced labor
shall not adversely affect the di gnity or the physical or intellectual capacity of the prisoner.
3. For the purposes of this article, the followi ng do not constitute forced or compulsory labor:
a. work or service normally required of a person impr isoned in execution of a sentence or formal decision
passed by the competent judicial authority. Such work or service shall be carried out under the supervision
and control of public authorities, and any persons performing such work or service shall not be placed at the
disposal of any private party, company, or juridical person;
b. military service and, in countries in which conscienti ous objectors are recognized, national service that the
law may provide for in lieu of military service;
c. service exacted in time of dange r or calamity that threatens the existence or the well-being of the
d. work or service that forms part of normal civic obligations.
Article 7. Right to Personal Liberty
1. Every person has the right to personal liberty and security.
he reasons and under the conditions established
his detention and shall be promptly notified of
ught promptly before a judge or other officer aut horized by law to exercise
ll not limit the orders of a competent judicial authority
2. No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty ex
cept for t
beforehand by the constitution of th e State Party concerned or by a law established pursuant thereto.
3. No one shall be subject to ar bitrary arrest or imprisonment.
4. Anyone who is detained shall be info rmed of the reasons for
the charge or charges against him.
5. Any person detained shall be bro
judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released without prejudice to the
continuation of the proceedings. His re lease may be subject to guarantees to assure his appearance for trial.
6. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty shall be entitled to recourse to a competent court, in order that the
court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his arre st or detention and order his release if the arrest
detention is unlawful. In States Par ties whose laws provide that anyone w ho believes himself to be threatened
with deprivation of his liberty is en titled to recourse to a competent court in order that it may decide on the
lawfulness of such threat, this remedy may not be rest ricted or abolished. The interested party or another
person in his behalf is entit led to seek these remedies.
7. No one shall be detained for debt. This principle sha
issued for nonfulfillment of duties of support.
Article 8. Right to a Fair Trial
1. Every person has the right to a hear ing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent,
sed of a criminal offense has the ri ght to be presumed innocent so long as his guilt has
sisted without charge by a translator or interprete r, if he does not understand
es against him;
assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing,
independent, and impartial tribunal, previously establis
hed by law, in the substantiation of any accusation of a
criminal nature made against him or for the determination of his rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal,
or any other nature.
2. Every person accu
not been proven according to law. During the proceedings , every person is entitled, with full equality, to the
following minimum guarantees:
a. the right of the accused to be as
or does not speak the language of the tribunal or court;
b. prior notification in detail to the accused of the charg
c. adequate time and means for the preparation of his defense;
d. the right of the accused to defend himself personally or to be
and to communicate freely and privately with his counsel;
e. the inalienable right to be assisted by counsel provided by the state, paid or not as the domestic law
ense to examine witnesses present in the court and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses,
or to plead guilty; and
on ly if it is made without coercion of any kind.
inal proceedings shall be public, except insofar as may be necessary to protect the interests of justice.
provides, if the accused does not defend himself personall
y or engage his own counsel within the time period
established by law;
f. the right of the def
of experts or other persons w ho may throw light on the facts;
g. the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself
h. the right to appeal the judgment to a higher court.
3. A confession of guilt by the accused shall be valid
4. An accused person acquitted by a nonappealable judgment sh all not be subjected to a new trial for t
Article 9. Freedom from Ex Post Facto Laws
No one shall be convicted of any act or omission that did not consti tute a criminal offense, under the
applicable law, at the time it was committed. A heavier penalty shall not be imposed than the one that
applicable at the time the criminal offense was committe
d. If subsequent to the commission of the offense t
law provides for the imposition of a lighter punishme nt, the guilty person shall benefit therefrom.
Article 10. Right to Compensation
Every person has the right to be compensated in accord ance with the law in the event he has been sentenced
by a final judgment through a miscarriage of justice.
Article 11. Right to Privacy
1. Everyone has the right to have his honor respected and his dignity recognized.
fe, his family, his home, or
2. No one may be the object of arbitr ary or abusive interference with his private li
his correspondence, or of unlawfu l attacks on his honor or reputation.
3. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such inte rference or attacks.
Article 12. Freedom of Conscience and Religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and of religion. This right includes freedom to maintain or
is freedom to ma intain or to change his religion or
to change one’s religion or beliefs, and freedom to pr
ofess or disseminate one’s religion or beliefs, either
individually or together with ot hers, in public or in private.
2. No one shall be subject to restrictio ns that might impair h
3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion and beliefs may be subject only to the limitations prescribed by law that
are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals, or the rights or freedoms of others.
4. Parents or guardians, as the case may be, have the righ
t to provide for the religious and moral ed
their children or wards that is in accord with their own convictions.
Article 13. Freedom of Thought and Expression
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive,
ragraph shall not be subjec t to prior censorship but
ts or reputations of others; or r public health or morals. such as the abuse of the of
he provisions of pa ragraph 2 above, public entertainments may be subject by law to prior
anda for war and any advocacy of national, ra cial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements
4. Right of Reply
and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally,
in writing, in print, in the
form of art, or through any other medium of one’s choice.
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing pa
shall be subject to subsequent imposition of liability, wh ich shall be expressly established by law to the extent
necessary to ensure:
a. respect for the righ
b. the protection of national security, public order, o
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means,
government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting freque ncies, or equipment used in
dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation
ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding t
censorship for the sole purpose of regulating acce ss to them for the moral protection of childhood and
5. Any propag
to lawless violence or to any other similar action against any person or group of persons on any grounds
including those of race, color, religion, language, or nati onal origin shall be considered as offenses punish
rate or offensive statements or ideas disseminated to the public in general by a
s that may have been incurred. ture,
1. Anyone injured by inaccu
legally regulated medium of communi
cation has the right to reply or to make a correction using the same
communications outlet, under such c onditions as the law may establish.
2. The correction or reply shall not in any case remit other legal liabilitie
3. For the effective protection of honor and reputation, every publisher, and every newspaper, motion pic
radio, and television company, shall have a person respons ible who is not protected by immunities or special
Article 15. Right of Assembly
ithout arms, is recognize d. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of
The right of peaceful assembly, w
this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the
interest of national security,
public safety or public order, or to protect public health or morals or the rights o
freedom of others.
Article 16. Freedom
freely for ideol ogical, religious, political , economic, labor, social,
subject only to such restri ctions established by law as may be necessary in
on of legal restrictio ns, including even deprivation of
1. Everyone has the right to associate
cultural, sports, or other purposes.
2. The exercise of this right shall be
a democratic society, in the interest
of national security, public safety or public order, or to protect public
health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.
3. The provisions of this article do no t bar the impositi
the exercise of the right of association, on members of the armed forces and the police.
Article 17. Rights of the Family
1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and
ht of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to raise a family shall be recognized, if they
e and full consent of the intending spouses. e balancing of
ognize equal rights for children born out of wedlock and those born in wedlock.
2. The rig
meet the conditions required by domestic laws, insofar
as such conditions do not affect the principle of
nondiscrimination establishe d in this Convention.
3. No marriage shall be entered into without th e fre
4. The States Parties shall take appropriate steps to ensu re the equality of rights and the adequat
responsibilities of the spouses as to marriage, during marriage, and in the event of its dissolution. In case of
dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children solely on the basis of their
own best interests.
5. The law shall rec
Article 18. Right to a Name
Every person has the right to a given name and to the su rnames of his parents or that of one of them. The law
Rights of the Child
shall regulate the manner in which this right shall be
ensured for all, by the use of assumed names if
Every minor child has the right to the measures of protection required by his condition as a minor on the part
of his family, society, and the state.
Article 20. Right to Nationality
1. Every person has the right to a nationality.
of the state in whose territory he was born if he does not have
ved of hi s nationality or of the right to change it.
2. Every person has the right to the nati
the right to any other nationality.
3. No one shall be arbitrarily depri
Article 21. Right to Property
1. Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his property. The law may subordinate such use and
perty except upon payment of just compensation, for reasons of public
enjoyment to the interest of society.
2. No one shall be deprived of his pro
utility or social interest, and in the cases
and according to the forms established by law.
3. Usury and any other form of exploitation of man by man shall be prohibited by law.
Article 22. Freedom of M ovement and Residence
1. Every person lawfully in the territory of a State Party has the right to move about in it, and to reside in it
any country freely, including his own.
w to the extent necessary in a ,
ph 1 may also be restricted by law in designated zones for
rom the territory of the state of which he is a national or be deprived of the right to
en lawfully in the territory of a State Party to this Convention may be expelled from it only pursuant
nted asylum in a foreign territory, in accordance with the
be deported or returned to a count ry, regardless of whether or not it is his country of
subject to the provisions of the law.
2. Every person has the right lo leave
3. The exercise of the foregoing rights may be restricted
only pursuant to a la
democratic society to prevent crime or to protect nati onal security, public safety, public order, public morals
public health, or the rights or freedoms of others.
4. The exercise of the rights recognized in paragra
reasons of public interest.
5. No one can be expelled f
6. An ali
to a decision reached in accordance with law.
7. Every person has the right to seek and be gra
legislation of the state and international conventions, in the event he is being pursued for political offense
related common crimes.
8. In no case may an alien
origin, if in that country his right to life or personal freedom is in danger of being violated because of his race,
nationality, religion, social st atus, or political opinions.
9. The collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.
Article 23. Right to Part icipate in Governmen
1. Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:
eely chosen representatives;
s country. ing paragraph g
a. to take part in the conduct of public affairs,
directly or through fr
b. to vote and to be elected in genui ne periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal s
by secret ballot that guarantees the free e xpression of the will of the voters; and
c. to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of hi
2. The law may regulate the exercise of the rights a nd opportunities referred to in the preced
only on the basis of age, na tionality, residence, language , education, civil and mental capacity, or sentencin
by a competent court in criminal proceedings.
Article 24. Right to Equal Protection
All persons are equal before the la w. Consequently, they are entitled, without discrimination, to equal
protection of the law.
Article 25. Right to J
mpt recourse, or any other effective reco urse, to a competent court
ing such remedy shall have his rights determined by the competent authority dy; and such remedies when granted.
Article 26. Progr 1. Everyone has the right to simple and pro
or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the constitution or laws
of the state concerned or by this Convention, even though such violation may have been committed by
persons acting in the course of their official duties.
2. The States Parties undertake:
a. to ensure that any person claim
provided for by the legal system of the state;
b. to develop the possibilitie s of judicial reme
c. to ensure that the competent authoritie s shall enforce
CHAPTER III – ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL RIG
The States Parties undertake to a dopt measures, both internally and through international cooperation,
especially those of an economic and technical nature, with a view to achieving progressively, by legisla
other appropriate means, the full realization of the rights implicit in the economic, social, educational,
scientific, and cultural standards set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States as ame
by the Protocol of Buenos Aires.
CHAPTER IV – SUSPENSION nded
INTERPRETATION, AND APPLICATION
Article 27. Suspension of Guarantees
1. In time of war, public danger, or other emergency th at threatens the independence or security of a State
nsi on of the following articles: Article 3 (Right to
Party, it may take measures derogating from its obliga
tions under the present Convention to the extent and
the period of time strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not
inconsistent with its other obliga tions under international law and do not involve discrimination on the gro
of race, color, sex, language, religion, or social origin.
2. The foregoing provision does not authorize any suspe
Juridical Personality), Article 4 (Right to Life), Artic le 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), Article 6 (Freedom
from Slavery), Article 9 (Freedom from Ex Post Facto
Laws), Article 12 (Freedom of Conscience and
Religion), Article 17 (Rights of the Fa mily), Article 18 (Right to a Name), Article 19 (Rights of the Ch
Article 20 (Right to Nationality), an d Article 23 (Right to Participate in Government), or of the judicial
guarantees essential for the protection of such rights.
3. Any State Party availing itself of the right of suspen ild),
si on shall immediately inform the other States Parties,
through the Secretary General of the Or
ganization of American States, of the provisions th e application of
which it has suspended, the reasons that gave rise to the suspension, and the date set for the termination of
Article 28. Feder
stituted as a federal stat e, the national government of such State Party shall
ct to the provisions ove r whose subject matter the constituen t units of the federal state have
tion or other type of association, they shall take
1. Where a State Party is con
implement all the provisions of the Convention over whose subject matter it
exercises legislative and jud
2. With respe
jurisdiction, the national government shall immediately take suitable measures, in accordance with its
constitution and its laws, to the e nd that the competent authorities of the constituent units may adopt
appropriate provisions for the fu lfillment of this Convention.
3. Whenever two or more States Parties agree to form a federa
care that the resulting federal or ot her compact contains the provisions necessary for continuing and rendering
effective the standards of this Conventi on in the new state that is organized.
Article 29. Restrictions Regarding Interpretation
No provision of this Convention shall be interpreted as:
s the enjoyment or exercise of the rights and in;
r derived from
a. permitting any State Party, group, or person to suppres
freedoms recognized in this Convention
or to restrict them to a greater extent than is provided for here
b. restricting the enjoyment or exercise of any right or freedom recognized by virtue of the laws of any Sta
Party or by virtue of another convention to which one of the said states is a party;
c. precluding other rights or guarantees that are i nherent in the human personality o
representative democracy as a form of government; or
d. excluding or limiting the effect that the American D eclaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and other
international acts of the same nature may have.
Article 30. Scope of Restrictions
The restrictions that, pursuant to this Convention, may be placed on the enjoyment or exercise of the rights or
freedoms recognized herein may not be applied except in accordance with laws enacted for reasons of general
interest and in accordance with the purpose for which such restrictions have been established.
Article 31. Recognition of Other Rights
Other rights and freedoms recognized in accordance with the procedures established in Articles 76 and 77
Article 32. Relationship be may be included in the system of protection of this Convention.
CHAPTER V – PERSONAL RESP tween Duties and Rights
1. Every person has responsibilities to his family, his community, and mankind.
all, and by the just demands
EANS OF PROTECTION
Article 33 2. The rights of each person are limited by the rights of ot hers, by the security of
of the general welfare, in a democratic society.
PART II – MHAPTER VI – COMPETENT ORGANS
ng organs shall have competence with respect to matters relating to the fulfillment of the
to as “The Commission;” and
N HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1. Organization The followi
commitments made by the States Parties to this Convention:
a. the Inter-American Commission on Human Right s, referred
b. the Inter-American Court of Human Ri ghts, referred to as “The Court.”
CHAPTER VII – INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION O
Article 34 ission on Human Rights shall be composed of seven members, who shall be
igh moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.
The Inter-American Comm
persons of h
The Commission shall represent all the member count ries of the Organization of American States.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected in a personal capacity by the General Assembly of the
n from a list of ca ndidates proposed by the governments of the member states.
a slate of three is
2. Each of those governments may pr
opose up to three candidates, who ma y be nationals of the states
proposing them or of any other member state of the Organization of American States. When
proposed, at least one of the candidate s shall be a national of a state other than the one proposing the slate.
1. The members of the Commission shall be elected for a term of four years and may be reelected only once,
s of three of the members chosen in the first election shall expire at the end of two years.
but the term
Immediately following that election th
e General Assembly shall determine the names of those three members
2. No two nationals of the same stat e may be members of the Commission.
mal expiration of a term shall be
anent Council of the Organization in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the
Vacancies that may occur on the Commission for reasons other than the nor
filled by the Perm
The Commission shall prepare its Statute, which it shall submit to the General Assembly for approval. It shall own Regulations.
Secretariat services for the Commission shall be furnis hed by the appropriate specialized unit of the General
f the Organization. This unit shall be provided with the resour ces required to accomplish the tasks
assigned to it by the Commission.
Section 2. Functions
The main function of the Commission shall be to promote respect for and defense of human rights. In the
its mandate, it shall have the following functions and powers:
en it considers such action with in the framework of their
uest the governments of the member states to supply it with information on the measures adopted by
o human rights and, within the limits of its possibilities, to provide those
a. to develop an awareness of human
rights among the peoples of America;
b. to make recommendations to the governments of the member states, wh
advisable, for the adoption of progressive measures in favor of human rights
domestic law and constitutional provisions as well as a ppropriate measures to further the observance of those
c. to prepare such studies or reports as it cons iders advisable in the performance of its duties;
d. to req
them in matters of human rights;
e. to respond, through the General Secretariat of the Orga nization of American States, to inquiries made by th
member states on matters related t
states with the advisory services they request;
f. to take action on petitions and other communications pursuant to its authority under the provisions of
Articles 44 through 51 of this Convention; and
g. to submit an annual report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States.
The States Parties shall transmit to the Commission a c opy of each of the reports and studies that they submit
the Executive Committees of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council and the Inter-
American Council for Education, Science, and Culture, in their respective fields, so that the Commission may
watch over the promotion of the rights implicit in the economic, social, educational, scientific, and cultural
standards set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States as amended by the Protocol of
The States Parties undertake to provide the Commission with such information as it may request of them as to
in which their domestic law ensures the effec tive application of any provisions of this Convention.
Section 3. Competence
Any person or group of persons, or any nongovernmental entity legally rec ognized in one or more member
Organization, may lodge petitions with the Commission containing denunciations or complaints
of violation of this Convention by a State Party. states of the
1. Any State Party may, when it deposits its instrument of ratification of or adherence to this Convention, or a
any later time, declare that it recognizes the co mp t
etence of the Commission to receive and examine
tions in which a State Party alleges that a nother State Party has committed a violation of a human
it any communication agains t a State Party that has not made
l be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Or ganization of American States, which
right set forth in this Convention.
2. Communications presented by virtue of this articl
e may be admitted and examined only if they are
presented by a State Party that has made a declara tion recognizing the aforementioned competence of the
Commission. The Commission sh all not adm
such a declaration.
3. A declaration concerning recognition of competence may be made to be valid for an indefinite time, for
specified period, or for a specific case.
4. Declarations shal
shall transmit copies thereof to the member states of that Organization.
1. Admission by the Commission of a petition or communication lodged in accordance with Articles 44 or 45
shall be subject to the following requirements:
a. that the remedies under domestic law have been pursued and exhausted in accordance with generally
within a period of six months from the date on which the party
ication is not pending in another international proceeding for
io nality, profession, domicile, and
s of paragraphs 1.a and 1.b of this article shall not be applicable when:
domestic law or has
a final judgment under the aforementioned remedies.
recognized principles of international law;
b. that the petition or comm
unication is lodged
alleging violation of his rights was notified of the final judgment;
c. that the subject of the petiti on or commun
d. that, in the case of Article 44, th e petition contains the name, nat
signature of the person or persons or of the lega l representative of the entity lodging the petition.
2. The provision
a. the domestic legislation of the st ate concerned does not afford due proc ess of law for the protection
right or rights that have allegedly been violated;
b. the party alleging violation of his rights has been denied access to the remedies under
been prevented from exhausting them; or
c. there has been unwarranted delay in rendering
The Commission shall consider inadmissible any petition or communication submitted under Articles 44 or 45
requirements indicate d in Article 46 has not been met;
this Convention; tion or communication is manifestly
munication is substantially the same as one previo usly studied by the Commission or by
a. any of the
b. the petition or communication does not state facts that
tend to establish a violation of the rights guaranteed
c. the statements of the petitioner or of the state indicate that the peti
groundless or obviously out of order; or
d. the petition or com
another international organization.
Section 4. Procedure
1. When the Commission receives a petition or communication alleging vi olation of any of the rights
ntion, it shall proceed as follows:
ders the petition or co mmunication admissible, it shall requ est information from the government
unication. This information shall be submitted
within a reasonable period to be determined by the Commission in accordance with the circumstances of each
If they do not, the Commission sh all order the record to be closed.
ledge of the parties, examine the
effective conduct of wh ich it shall request, and the states
concerned shall furnish to it, all necessary facilities.
f the parties concerned with a view to reaching a friendly
protected by this Conve
a. If it consi
of the state indicated as being resp
onsible for the alleged violations and shall furnish that government
transcript of the pertinent portions of the petition or comm
b. After the information has been received, or after the period established has elapsed and the information
not been received, the Commission shall ascertain whether the grounds for the peti tion or communication still
c. The Commission may also declare the petition or communication inadmissible or out of order on the basis
of information or evidence subsequently received.
d. If the record has not been closed, the Commission shall, with the know
matter set forth in the petition or comm unication in order to verify the facts. If necessary and advisable, the
Commission shall carry out an investig ation, for the
e. The Commission may request the stat es concerned to furnish any pertinent information and, if so requeste
shall hear oral statements or receive written statements from the parties concerned.
f. The Commission shall place itself at the disposal o
settlement of the matter on the basis of respect fo r the human rights recognized in this Convention.
2. However, in serious and urgent cases, only the presentation of a petition or communication that fulfills all
the formal requirements of admissibility shall be n
ecessary in order for the Commission to conduct an
investigation with the prior consent of the state in whose territory a violation has allegedly been com
If a friendly settlement has been r eached in accordance with paragraph 1.f of Article 48, the Commissio
draw up a report, which shall be tran smitted to the petitioner and to the St ates Parties to this Convention, andn shall
e communicated to the Se cretary General of the Organization of American States for publication.
shall then b
This report shall contain a brief statem ent of the facts and of the solution reached. If any party in the case so
requests, the fullest possible info rmation shall be provided to it.
1. If a settlement is not reached, the Commission shall, within the time limit established by its Statute, draw u
a report setting forth the facts and stating its conclusions. If the re p
port, in whole or in part, does not represent
ent of the members of the Commissi on, any member may attach to it a separate opinion.
the unanimous agreem
The written and oral statements made by the parties in accordance with paragraph 1.e of Article 48 shall also
be attached to the report.
2. The report shall be transmitted to the states con cerned, which shall not be at liberty to publish it.
3. In transmitting the report, the Commission may make su ch proposals and recommendations as it sees fit.
1. If, within a period of three months from the date of the transmittal of the report of the Commission to the
o the Court and its jurisdiction accepted, th e Commission may, by the vote of an absolute majority
states concerned, the matter has not either been se
ttled or submitted by the Commission or by the state
of its members, set forth its opinion and conclusions concerning the question submitted for its consideration.
2. Where appropriate, the Commission shall make pert inent recommendations and shall prescribe a peri
within which the state is to take the measures that are incumbent upon it to remedy the situation examined.
3. When the prescribed period has expi red, the Commission shall decide by the vote of an absolute majority o
its members whether the state has taken adequate measures and whether to publish its report.
CHAPTER VIII – INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1. Organization
1. The Court sha lected in an
mong jurists of the highes t moral authority and of recognized competence in the
ll consist of seven ju
dges, nationals of the member states of the Organization, e
individual capacity from a
field of human rights, who possess the qualifications required for the exercise of the highest judicial functions
in conformity with the law of the st ate of which they are nationals or of the state that proposes them as
2. No two judges may be nationals of the same state.
1. The judges of the Court sha ll be elected by secret ballot by an absolute majority vote of the States Parties to
ization, from a pa nel of candidates proposed by those
andidates shall be a national of a st ate other than the one proposing the slate.
the Convention, in the General Assemb
ly of the Organ
2. Each of the States Parties may propose up to three candida tes, nationals of the state that proposes them or of
any other member state of the Organizat ion of American States. When a slate of three is proposed, at least on
of the c
1. The judges of the Court sha ll be elected for a term of six years and may be reelected only once. The term of
three of the judges chosen in the firs t election shall expire at the end of three years. Immediately after the
names of the three judges shall be determined by lot in the General Assembly.
es they shall not
2. A judge elected to replace a judge whose term has not
expired shall complete the term of the latter.
3. The judges shall continue in office until the expiration of their term. Howe ver, they shall continue to ser
with regard to cases that they have begun to hear and that are still pend ing, for which purpos
be replaced by the newly elected judges.
1. If a judge is a nationa l of any of the States Parties to a case subm itted to the Court, he shall retain his right
to hear that case.
2. If one of the judges called upon to hear a case should be a national of one of the States Parties to the case,
any other State Party in the case may appoint a pe rson of its choice to serve on the Court as an ad
3. If among the judges called upon to hear a case none is a national of any of the Stat es Parties to the case,
each of the latter may appoint an ad
4. An ad
hoc judge shall possess the qualifica tions indicated in Article 52.
5. If several States Part ies to the Convention should have the same in terest in a case, they shall be considered
as a single party for purposes of the above pr ovisions. In case of doubt, the Court shall decide.
Five judges shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business by the Court.
The Commission shall appear in all cases before the Court.
1. The Court shall have its seat at the place determined by the States Parties to the Convention in the General
he territory of any member state of the
n of American States when a majority of the Court considers it desirable, and with the prior
consent of the state concerned. The seat of the Court may be changed by the States Parties to the Convention
Assembly of the Organization; however, it may conve
ne in t
in the General Assembly by a two-thirds vote.
2. The Court shall appoint its own Secretary.
3. The Secretary shall have his office at the place wher e the Court has its seat and shall attend the meetings
that the Court may hold away from its seat.
The Court shall establish its Secretariat, which shall function under the direct ion of the Secretary of the Cou
in accordance with the administrative standa rt,
rds of the General Secretariat of the Organi zation in all respects
of the Court. The staff of the Court’ s Secretariat shall be appointed by
the Secretary General of the Organization, in co nsultation with the Secretary of the Court.
not incompatible with the independence
The Court shall draw up its Statute wh ich it shall submit to the General Assembly for approval. It shall adopt
its own Rules of Procedure.
Section 2. Jurisdiction and Functions
1. Only the States Parties and th e Commission shall have the right to submit a case to the Court.
is necessary that the procedures set forth in Articles 48 and 50 shall
2. In order for the Court to hear a cas
have been c
1. A State Party may, upon depositing its instrument of rati fication or adherence to this Convention, or at any
subsequent time, declare that it recognizes as binding, ipso
facto, and not requiring special agreement, the
of the C ourt on all matters relating to the interpretation or application of this Convention.
thereof to the other member states of the Or ganization and to the Secretary of the Court.
2. Such declaration may be made unconditionally, on the c
ondition of reciprocity, for a specified period, or for
specific cases. It shall be presente d to the Secretary General of the Or ganization, who shall transmit copies
3. The jurisdiction of the Court shall comprise all cases concerning th e interpretation and application of the
provisions of this Convention that are submitted to it, provi
ded that the States Parties to the case recognize or
have recognized such jurisdiction, wh ether by special declaration pursuant to the prec eding paragraphs, or b
a special agreement.
1. If the Court finds that there has been a violation of a right or freedom protected by this Convention, the
Court shall rule that the injured part y be ensured the enjoyment of his righ t or freedom that was violated. It
shall also rule, if appropriate, that the consequences of the measure or s ituation that constituted the breach of
r freedom be remedied and that fa ir compensation be paid to the injured party.
such right o
2. In cases of extreme gravity and urgency, and when necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons, the
Court shall adopt such provisi
onal measures as it deems pertinent in matters it has under consideration. With
respect to a case not yet submitted to the Court, it may act at the request of the Commission.
1. The member states of the Organization may consult the Court regarding the interpretation of this
Convention or of other treaties concerning the protection of human rights in the American states. Within their
spheres of competence, the organs listed in Chapter X of the Charter of the Organi zation of A
by the Protocol of Buenos Aires, may in like manner consult the Court.
2. The Court, at the request of a member state of the Organization, may
provide that state with opinio
regarding the compatibility of any of its domestic laws with the aforesaid international instruments.
To each regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States the Court shall
submit, for the Assembly’s consideration, a report on its work during the previous
year. It shall specify, i
particular, the cases in which a state has not complied with its judgments, making any pertinent
Section 3. Procedure
1. Reasons shall be given for the judgment of the Court.
2. If the judgment does not represent in whole or in part the unanimous opinion of the judges, any judge shall
issenting or se parate opinion attached to the judgment.
be entitled to have his d
The judgment of the Court shall be fina l and not subject to appeal. In case of disagreement as to the meaning
or scope of the judgment, the Court shall interpret it at the request of any of the part ies, provided the request is
made within ninety days from the da te of notification of the judgment.
1. The States Parties to the Convention undertake to comp ly with the judgment of the Court in any case to
which they are parties.
2. That part of a judgment that stipulates compensatory damages may be executed in the country concerned in
with domestic procedure governing the execution of judgments against the state.
The parties to the case shall be notified of the judgment of the Court and it shall be transmitted to the States
Parties to the Convention.
CHAPTER IX – COMMON PROVISIONS
1. The judges of the Court and the members of the Comm ission shall enjoy, from the moment of their electio
and throughout their term o n
f office, the immunities ex tended to diplomatic agents in accordance with
international law. During the ex ition, enjoy the diplomatic
ecessary for the performance of their duties. ercise of their official
function they shall, in add
2. At no time shall the judges of the Court or the members of the Comm ission be held liable for any decisions
or opinions issued in the ex ercise of their functions.
The position of judge of the Court or member of the Co mmission is incompatible with any other activity that
might affect the independence or impa rtiality of such judge or member, as determined in the respective
The judges of the Court and the members of the Commi ssion shall receive emoluments and travel allowances
in the form and under the conditions set forth in thei r statutes, with due regard for the importance and
independence of their office. Such emoluments and travel allowances shall be determined in the budget of the
n of American States, whic h shall also include the expenses of the Court and its Secretariat. To
this end, the Court shall draw up its own budget and submit it for approval to the General Assembly through
the General Secretariat. The latter
may not introduce any changes in it.
The General Assembly may, only at the request of the Commission or the Court, as the case may be,
determine sanctions to be applied against members of the Commission or judges of the Court when there are
justifiable grounds for such action as set forth in the resp ective statutes. A vote of a two-thirds majority of the
tes of the Organization shall be required for a decision in the case of members of the Commission
and, in the case of judges of the Cour t, a two-thirds majority vote of the States Parties to the Convention shall
also be required.
PART III – GENERAL AND TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
CHAPTER X – SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, RESERVATIONS, AMENDMENTS, PROTOCOLS, AND DENUNCIATION
1. This Convention sha mber state of the
2. Ratification of or adherence to this Convention shall be made by the depos it of an instrument of ratification
e with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States. As soon as eleven states
heres thereafter, the Convention shall enter into force on the date of the
ll be open for signature and rati
fication by or adherence of any me
Organization of American States.
have deposited their instruments of ra tification or adherence, the Convention shall enter into force. With
respect to any state that ratifies or ad
deposit of its instrument of ratification or adherence.
3. The Secretary General shall inform all member states of the Organization of the entry into force of the
This Convention shall be subject to reservations only in conformity with the provisions of the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties signed on May 23, 1969.
1. Proposals to amend this Convention may be submitted to the General Assembly for the action it deems
hem on the date when two-thirds of the States
is Convention have depos ited their respective instru ments of ratification. With respect to the other
appropriate by any State Pa
rty directly, and by the Commission or th e Court through the Secretary Gen
2. Amendments shall enter into force for the States ratif ying t
Parties to th
States Parties, the amendments shall enter into fo rce on the dates on which they deposit their respective
instruments of ratification.
1. In accordance with Article 31, any State Party and the Commission may submit proposed protocols to this
Convention for consideration by the Stat es Parties at the General Assembly with a view to gradually including
other rights and freedoms within its system of protection.
tocol shall determine the manner of its entry into force and sh all be applied only among the States
2. Each pro
Parties to it.
1. The States Parties may denounce this Convention at the expiration of a five-year period from the date of its
the Secretary General of the Organiza tion, who shall inform the other States Parties.
nunciation shall not have the effect of rel easing the State Party concerned from the obligations
entry into force and by means of notice given one y
ear in advance. Notice of the denunciation shall be
2. Such a de
contained in this Convention with resp ect to any act that may constitute a violation of those obligations and
that has been taken by that state prio r to the effective date of denunciation.
CHAPTER XI – TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
Section 1. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Upon the entry into force of this C onvention, the Secretary General shall, in writing, request each member
state of the Organizatio n to pr ship on the Inter-American
epare a list in alphabetical order of the
resented, and transmit it to the member states of the Organization at least thirty days prior to the
esent, within ninety days, its ca
ndidates for member
Commission on Human Rights. The Secretary General shall pr
next session of the General Assembly.
The members of the Commission shall be elected by secret ballot of the General Assembly from the lis
candidates referred to in Article 79. The candidates who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute
majority of the votes of the representati t of
ves of the me mber states shall be declar ed elected. Should it become
have several ballots in order to elect all the members of the Commission, the candidates who
receive the smallest number of votes shall be eliminated successivel y, in the manner determined by the
Section 2. Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Upon the entry into force of this C onvention, the Secretary General shall, in writing, request each State P
to present, within nin arty
ety days, its candidates for membership on the In ter-American Court of Human Rights.
al order of the ca ndidates presented and transmit it to
arties at least thirty days prior to the next session of the General Assembly.
The Secretary General shall prepare a
list in alphabetic
the States P
The judges of the Court shall be elected from the list of candidates referred to in Article 81, by secret ballot of
the States Parties to the Conventi on in the General Assembly. The candi dates who obtain the largest number
of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of the States Parties
shall be declared
uld it become necessary to have several ballot s in order to elect all the judges of the Court, the
candidates who receive the smallest
number of votes shall be eliminated successively, in the manner
determined by the States Parties.