111. In this respect, the right to apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence under Article 4(6) of the Convention may be regarded as similar to the right under Article XXVII of the American Declaration of every person "to seek and receive asylum in foreign territory, in accordance with the laws of each country and with international agreements," and the corresponding Article 22(7) of the Convention, which provides for the right to "seek and be granted asylum in a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation of the state and international conventions, in the event he is being pursued for political offenses or related common crimes." The Commission has interpreted the former provision, in conjunction with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, as giving rise to a right under international law of a person seeking refuge to a hearing in order to determine whether that person qualifies for refugee status. Other internationally articulated requirements governing the right to seek asylum reflect similar minimum standards, namely the right of an individual to apply to appropriate authorities for asylum, to make representations in support of their application, and to receive a decision.
112. Consistent with the interpretation of the right to seek asylum by the Commission and other international authorities, the Commission finds that Article 4(6) of the Convention must be interpreted to encompass certain minimum procedural guarantees for condemned prisoners, in order for the right to be effectively respected and enjoyed. The Commission notes in this regard that some common law jurisdictions retaining the death penalty have prescribed procedures through which condemned prisoners can engage and participate in the amnesty, pardon or commutation process.
113. The information before the Commission indicates that the process in Grenada for granting amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence does not guarantee Mr. Knights, any procedural protections. By its terms, Section 74 of Grenada’s Constitution does not provide condemned prisoners with any role in the mercy process.
114. The Petitioners have claimed that Mr. Knights has no right to make submissions to the Advisory Committee. Whether and to what extent prisoners may apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence remains entirely at the discretion of the Advisory Committee, and no procedure or mechanism is provided for that specifies the manner in which prisoners may file an application for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence, submit representations in support of his or her application, or receive a decision. Consequently, the Commission finds that the State has failed to respect the right of Mr. Knights under Article 4(6) of the American Convention to apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence.
115. Based upon the foregoing facts and the interpretive principles outlined above, the Commission finds that by imposing a mandatory death sentence on Mr. Knights, the State violated his rights pursuant to Articles 4(1), 5(1), 5(2), and 8(1) of the Convention.
116. More particularly, the Commission concludes that the trial judge imposed the mandatory death penalty on Mr. Knights, in the absence of any guided discretion to consider his personal characteristics and the particular circumstances of his offense to determine whether death was an appropriate punishment which violated his rights as established by Articles 4(1), 5(1), 5(2), and 8(1) of the American Convention. Mr. Knights was also not provided with an opportunity to present representations and evidence as to whether the death penalty was an appropriate punishment in the circumstances of his case. Rather, the death penalty was imposed upon him based upon the category of crime for which he was convicted and without any principled distinction or rationalization based upon the particular circumstances of his personality or his crime. Moreover, the propriety of the sentence imposed was not susceptible to any effective form of judicial review, and his execution is now imminent, his conviction for murder having been upheld on appeal by the Appellate Court in Grenada. The Commission therefore concludes that the State has violated Mr. Knights’ rights under Article 4(1) of the Convention not to be arbitrarily deprived of his life, and therefore, his mandatory death sentence is unlawful.
117. The Commission further concludes that the State, by sentencing Mr. Knights to a mandatory penalty of death absent consideration of his individual circumstances, has failed to respect his right to physical, mental and moral integrity contrary to Article 5(1) of the American Convention, and has subjected him to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment in violation of Article 5(2). The State sentenced Mr. Knights to death solely because he was convicted of a predetermined category of crime. Accordingly, the process to which he has been subjected, would deprive him of his most fundamental right, his right to life, without consideration of his personal circumstances and his offense. Treating Mr. Knights in this manner abrogates the fundamental respect for humanity that underlies the rights protected under the Convention, and Articles 5(1) and 5(2) in particular.
118. The Commission also concludes that the State has violated Mr. Knights’ right pursuant to Article 4(6) of the American Convention by failing to guarantee him an effective right to apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence, to make representations, in person or by counsel, to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, and to receive a decision from the Advisory Committee within a reasonable time prior to his execution.
119. Finally, the Commission concludes that the State has violated Mr. Knights’ right to a hearing with due guarantees by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal. as established under Article 8 of the American Convention. Mr. Knights was not provided with an opportunity to make representations and present evidence to the trial judge as to whether his crime warranted the ultimate penalty of death, and was therefore denied the right to fully answer and defend the criminal accusation against him.
120. It follows from the Commission’s findings that, should the State execute Mr. Knights pursuant to his mandatory death sentence, this would constitute further egregious and irreparable violations of Articles 4 and 5 of the Convention.
121. Given its foregoing conclusions as to the legality of Mr. Knights’ death sentence under Articles 4, 5 and 8 of the Convention, the Commission does not consider it necessary to determine whether sentencing Mr. Knights to a mandatory death penalty violated his rights to equal protection of the law contrary to Article 24 of the Convention.
c. Articles 4 and
5 – Conditions of Detention
122. The Petitioners allege that the State has violated Mr. Knights’ right to have his physical, mental and moral integrity respected, as well as his right not to be subjected to cruel, unusual or degrading punishment or treatment pursuant to Article 5(1) and 5(2) of the American Convention, because of the conditions of detention to which he has been subjected. They argue further that these conditions render his execution unlawful under Article 4 of the Convention.
123. In support of their allegations, the Petitioners have provided the Commission with an affidavit sworn by Mr. Knights on June 9th 1998, in which he describes his conditions of detention since his arrest and subsequent to his conviction for murder on August 2nd , 1995, as follows:
I am presently incarcerated on death row which consists of a number of cells each containing one inmate. The cells on death row are situated underneath the main prison building in an area called “Jonestown” (named after the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana in South America some years ago.)
cell is approximately 9 feet by 6 feet
(9ft. x 6ft.) and I spend approximately 23 hours a day in my cell
alone. I am provided with a bed and mattress to sleep on, but there
is no other furniture in my cell. I
am provided with a bucket which I use as a toilet. I am permitted to slop out the contents of the bucket once a
day. Once it has been used, I am forced to endure the smell and unhygienic
conditions until I am able to empty it.
lighting in my cell is insufficient.
The cell has no windows and no natural lighting, and accordingly
has no ventilation. The only lighting in my cell is provided by a single
bulb situated in the corridor in front of my cell.
am provided with three meals a day. Sometimes
food is brought to me in my cell where I am made to eat alone.
The food is generally of a poor quality. I am provided with drinking water.
am allowed one hour of exercise per day. There are no exercise facilities
and my hour is usually spent standing in the yard.
am allowed one visitor per month for a period of 15 minutes.
I am allowed to write and receive one letter a month.
a prisoner on death row, I am not permitted access to the prison services. I am not allowed to use the prison library, nor am I allowed
access to the chaplain and religious services.
receive inadequate medical care. Visits
by the doctor are not regular and it is not always clear whether I will be
able to see a doctor when necessary.
There are no adequate complaints mechanism or procedure for dealing with any complaints I may have concerning my treatment and condition of confinement.
124. As described in Part III of this Report, the Petitioners also rely upon general sources of information regarding prison conditions in Grenada and other Caribbean countries. These include reports prepared in 1990 and 1991 by the non-governmental organization “Caribbean Rights.” While somewhat outdated, the Reports tend to support Mr. Knights’ allegations in respect of the conditions in which he has been incarcerated since his arrest.
125. In the Commission’s view, these conditions of detention, fail to satisfy the standard of humane treatment prescribed under Article 5(1) and 5(2) of the Convention. In this regard, the Inter-American Court considered similar conditions of detention in the Suarez-Rosero Case. In that case, the victim alleged, inter alia, that he was held incommunicado for over one month in a damp and poorly ventilated cell measuring five meters by three, together with sixteen other persons. In finding that the victim had been subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment contrary to Article 5(2) of the Convention, the Court stated as follows:
mere fact that the victim was for 36 days deprived of any communication
with the outside world, in particular with his family, allows the Court to
conclude that Mr. Suarez-Rosero was subjected to cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment, all the more so since it has been proven that his incommunicado
detention was arbitrary and carried out in violation of Ecuador’s
domestic laws. The victim told the Court of his suffering at being unable
to seek legal counsel or communicate with his family. He also testified
that during his isolation he was held in a damp underground cell measuring
approximately 15 square meters with 16 other prisoners, without the
necessary hygiene facilities, and that he was obliged to sleep on
newspapers; he also described the beatings and threats he received during
his detention. For all those reasons, the treatment to which Mr. Suarez-Rosero
was subjected may be described as cruel, inhuman and degrading.
126. While Mr. Knight does not claim to have been held incommunicado, he is being held in solitary confinement on death row, and the prison conditions under which he has been detained are strikingly similar to those to which the victim in the Suarez-Rosero case was subjected. Mr. Knights has been held in confined conditions, with inadequate hygiene, ventilation and natural light, and is infrequently allowed out of his cell. Nor has Mr. Knights been provided with adequate medical care. These observations, suggest that Mr. Knights’ treatment whilst in detention has failed to meet the minimum standards established under Articles 5(1) and 5(2) of the Convention, which apply irrespective of the nature of the conduct for which the person in question has been imprisoned and regardless of the level of development of a particular State Party to the Convention.
127. The Commission considers that the Petitioners' allegations should be evaluated in light of minimum standards articulated by international authorities for the treatment of prisoners, including those prescribed by the United Nations. More particularly, Rules 10, 11, 12, 15, 21, 24, 26, 40, 41, and of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (UN Minimum Rules) provide for minimum basic standards in respect of accommodation, hygiene, exercise, medical treatment, religious services and library facilities for prisoners, as follows:
10. All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular
all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due
regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content
of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
11. In all places where prisoners are required to live or work,
(a) the windows shall be large enough to enable prisoners to read or work
by natural light, and shall be so constructed that they can allow the
entrance of fresh air whether or not there is artificial ventilation;
(b) Artificial light shall be provided sufficient for the prisoners to
read or work without injury to eyesight.
12. The sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner
to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and
15. Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this
end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are
necessary for health and cleanliness.
21. (1) Every prisoner who is not
employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise
in the open air daily if the weather permits.
(2) Young prisoners, and others of suitable age and physique, shall
receive physical and recreational training during the period of exercise.
To this end space, installations and equipment should be provided.
24. The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as
possible after his admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view
particularly to the discovery of physical and mental illness and the
taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected
of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental
defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and the determination of the
physical capacity of every prisoner for work.
25. (1) The medical officer shall
have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and
should see daily all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness, and any
prisoner to whom his attention is specially directed.
(2) The medical officer shall report to the director whenever he
considers that a prisoner’s physical or mental health has been or will
be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of
Every institution shall have a library for the use of all
categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with both recreational and
instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of
If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the
same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be
appointed or approved. If the
number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement
should be on a full-time basis.
A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph
(1) shall be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits
in private to prisoners of his religion at proper times.
Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be
refused to any prisoner. On
the other hand, if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious
representative, his attitude shall be fully respected.
So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy
the needs of his religious life by attending the services provided in the
institution and having in his possession the books of religious observance
and instruction of his denomination.
It is evident based upon the information provided by the
Petitioners that the conditions of detention to which Mr. Knights has been
subjected to, fail to meet several of these minimum standards of treatment
of prisoners, in such areas as hygiene, exercise and medical care.
The State has failed to provide any information in respect of
prison conditions in Grenada, generally or as they pertain to Mr. Knights.
Based upon the information on the record before it, the Commission finds
that the State has failed to treat Mr. Knights with respect for his
physical, mental or moral integrity, and has therefore violated Article
5(1) of the Convention, and in all of the circumstances, constitute cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment contrary to Article 5(2) of
the Convention. The Commission therefore concludes that the State is
responsible for violations of these provisions of the Convention in
respect of Mr. Knights in conjunction with the State‘s obligations under
Article 1(1) of the Convention.
d. Articles 8 and
25, – Unavailability of Legal Aid for Constitutional Motions
130. The Petitioners argue that legal aid is not effectively available for Constitutional Motions before the courts in Grenada, and that this constitutes a violation of the right to a fair trial under Article 8 of the Convention. Although the Petitioners have not specifically referred to Article 25 of the American Convention, the right to an effective remedy, the Commission considers that their allegations relating to the denial of an effective remedy at law also encompass Article 25 of the Convention. Therefore, the Commission has also analyzed their claims relating to the unavailability of legal aid for Constitutional Motions under Article 25 of the Convention, in conformity with Article 32(c) of the Commission’s Regulations.
131. The Petitioners contend that the failure of the State to provide legal aid denies Mr. Knights access to the Court in fact as well as in law. The Petitioners argue that to bring a Constitutional Motion before the domestic courts often involve sophisticated and complex questions of law that require the assistance of Counsel. In addition, the Petitioners claim that Mr. Knights is indigent, and that legal aid is effectively not available to him to pursue a Constitutional Motion in the courts of Grenada. They also contend that there is a dearth of Grenadian lawyers who are prepared to represent Mr. Knights pro bono.
132. Based upon the material before it, the Commission is satisfied that Constitutional Motions dealing with legal issues of the nature raised by Mr. Knights in his petition, such as the right to due process and the adequacy of his prison conditions, are procedurally and substantively complex and cannot be effectively raised or presented by a prisoner in the absence of legal representation. The Commission also finds that the State does not provide legal aid to individuals in Grenada to bring Constitutional Motions, and that Mr. Knights is indigent and is therefore not otherwise able to secure legal representation to bring a Constitutional Motion.
133. The Commission considers that in the circumstances of Mr. Knights’ case, the State’s obligations regarding legal assistance for Constitutional Motions flow from both Article 8 and Article 25 of the Convention. In particular, the determination of rights through a Constitutional Motion in the High Court must conform with the requirements of a fair hearing in accordance with Article 8(1) of the Convention. In the circumstances of Mr. Knights’ case, the High Court of Grenada would be called upon to determine whether the victim’s conviction in a criminal trial violated rights under the Grenada’s Constitution. In such cases, the application of a requirement of a fair hearing in the High Court should be consistent with the principles in Article 8(2) of the Convention. Accordingly, when a convicted person seeking Constitutional review of the irregularities in a criminal trial lacks the means to retain legal assistance to pursue a Constitutional Motion and where the interests of justice so require, legal assistance should be provided by the State.
134. Due to the unavailability of legal aid, Mr. Knights’ has effectively been denied the opportunity to challenge the circumstances of his conviction under Grenada’s Constitution in a fair hearing. This in turn constitutes a violation of his right under Article 8(1) of the American Convention.
135. Moreover, Article 25 of the Convention provides individuals with the right to simple and prompt recourse to a competent court or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights recognized by the Constitution or laws of the state concerned or by the Convention. The Commission has stated that the right to recourse under section 25 when read together with the obligation in Article 1(1) and the provisions of Article 8(1), “must be understood as the right of every individual to go to a tribunal when any of his rights have been violated (whether a right protected by the Convention, the Constitution, or the domestic laws of the State concerned), to obtain a judicial investigation conducted by a competent, impartial and independent tribunal that will establish whether or not a violation has taken place and will set, when appropriate, adequate compensation.” In addition, the Inter-American Court has held that if legal services are required either as a matter of law or fact in order for a right guaranteed by the Convention to be recognized and a person is unable to obtain such services because of his indigence, then that person is exempted from the requirement under the Convention to exhaust domestic remedies. While the Court rendered this finding in the context of the admissibility provisions of the Convention, the Commission considers that the Court's comments are also illuminating in the context of Article 25 of the Convention in the circumstances of the present case.
136. By failing to make legal aid available to Mr. Knights to pursue a Constitutional Motion in relation to his criminal proceedings, the State has effectively barred recourse for Mr. Knights to a competent court or tribunal in Grenada for protection against acts that potentially violate his fundamental rights under Grenada’s Constitution and under the American Convention. Moreover, in capital cases, where Constitutional Motions relate to the procedures and conditions through which the death penalty has been imposed and therefore relate directly to the right to life and to humane treatment of a defendant, it is the Commission's view that the effective protection of those rights cannot properly be left to the random prospect as to whether an attorney may be willing or available to represent the defendant without charge. The right to judicial protection of these most fundamental rights must be guaranteed through the effective provision of legal aid for Constitutional Motions. The State cannot be said to have afforded such protection to Mr. Knights. As a consequence, the State has failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 25 of the American Convention in respect of Mr. Knights.
Accordingly, the Commission concludes that the State has failed to
respect Mr. Knights’ rights under Article 8(1) of the Convention by
denying him an opportunity to challenge the circumstances of his
conviction under the Constitution of Grenada in a fair hearing. The
Commission also concludes that the State has failed to provide Mr.
Knights’ with simple and prompt recourse to a competent court or
tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights
recognized by the Constitution or laws of Grenada or by the Convention,
and has therefore violated the rights of Mr. Knights to judicial
protection under Article 25 of the American Convention.
SUBSEQUENT TO REPORT Nº 88/00
138. On October 5 2000, the IACHR, at its 108th Regular Session, approved Report Nº 88/00 in this case on the basis of Article 50 of the Convention, and forwarded it to the State with its Conclusions and Recommendations, on October 20, 2000. In its Recommendations to the State, the Commission requested that the state inform it within two months of the measures that it had taken to comply with the Commission’s Recommendations. So that the Commission could have all the necessary information to decide whether the measures taken are adequate and whether to publish its Report pursuant to Article 51 of the American Convention. The period of two months has elapsed and the Commission has not received a response from the State of Grenada in respect of its Recommendations in this case.
The Commission, on the basis of the information presented, and the
due analysis under the American Convention, reiterates its conclusions as
140. The State is responsible for violating Mr. Knights’ rights under Articles 4(1), 5(1), 5(2) and 8(1), in conjunction with a violation of Article 1(1) of the American Convention, by sentencing Mr. Knights to a mandatory death penalty.
141. The State is responsible for violating Mr. Knights’ rights under Article 4(6) of the Convention, in conjunction with a violation of Article 1(1) of the American Convention, by failing to provide Mr. Knights’ with an effective right to apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence.
The State is responsible for violating Mr. Knights' rights under
Article 5(1) and 5(2) of the American Convention, in conjunction with a
violation of Article 1(1) of the American Convention, because of Mr.
Knights’ conditions of detention.
143. The State is responsible for violating Mr. Knights’ rights under Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention, in conjunction with a violation of Article 1(1) of the Convention, by failing to make legal aid available to him to pursue a Constitutional Motion.
144. Based on the analysis and the conclusions in this Report,
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS RECOMMENDS THAT THE STATE OF GRENADA:
1. Grant Mr. Knights an effective remedy which includes commutation of sentence and compensation.
2. Adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to ensure that the death penalty is not imposed in violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention, including Articles 4, 5, and 8, and in particular, to ensure that no person is sentenced to death pursuant to a mandatory sentencing law.
Adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to
ensure that the right under Article 4(6) of the American Convention to
apply for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence is given effect in
4. Adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to ensure that the right to a fair hearing under Article 8(1) of the American Convention and the right to judicial protection under Article 25 of the American Convention are given effect in Grenada in relation to recourse to Constitutional Motions.
Adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to
ensure that the right to humane treatment under Article 5(1) and Article
5(2) of the American Convention in respect of the victim’s conditions of
detention is given effect in Grenada.
145. On February 21,
2001, in conformity with Article 51(1) and 51 (2) of the American
Convention, the Commission sent Report Nº 13/01 which was adopted in this
case on February 20, 2001 to the State of Grenada,
and granted the State a period of one month for it to adopt the
necessary measures to comply with the foregoing recommendations and to
resolve the situation under analysis.
146. The period of one month has elapsed and the Commission has not received a response from the State of Grenada in respect of its Recommendations in this case.
FINAL ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS
For these reasons, the Commission decides that the State has
not taken all of the appropriate measures to comply with the
recommendations set forth in this report.
148. Based on the
foregoing and pursuant to Article 51(3) of the American Convention and
Article 48 of the Commission’s Regulations, the Commission decides to
reiterate the conclusions and recommendations contained in Report Nº
13/01. The Commission further decides to make public this report and
include it in the Commission’s Annual Report to the General Assembly of
Done and signed in Santiago,
Chile, on the 4th day of the month of April, 2001 (Signed):
Claudio Grossman, Chairman; Juan Mendez, First Vice-Chairman; Marta
Altolaguirre, Second Vice-Chair; Commissioners: Hélio
Bicudo, Robert K.
Goldman, Peter Laurie and Julio Prado Vallejo.
See similarly Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Article 14
(providing for the right of every individual to "seek and to
enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.").
Comm. H.R., Haitian Center for Human Rights and others (United
States), Case Nº 10.675 (March 13 1997),
Annual Report 1996, para. 155.
See e.g. Office of
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook on
Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951
Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees,
paras. 189-219 (prescribing basic requirements for the procedures for
determining refugee status, including the right
of an applicant to be given the necessary facilities for
submitting his case to the authorities concerned, and that the
applicant be permitted to remain in the country pending a decision on
his initial request for refugee status); Council of Europe, Resolution
on minimum guarantees for asylum procedures, Brussels, 21 June 1995,
Articles 10, 12, 14, 15, 23 (prescribing
common procedural guarantees to be provided by Member States of the
European Union in processing asylum application, including the right
of an asylum-seeker, at the border or otherwise, to have an
opportunity to lodge his asylum application as early as possible, to
remain in the territory of the state in which his application has been
lodged or is being examined as long as the application has not been
decided upon, to be given the opportunity of a personal interview with
an official qualified under national law before a final decision is
taken on the asylum application, and to have the decision on the
asylum application communicated to the asylum-seeker in writing.).
In the State of Ohio, for example, clemency review has been delegated
in large part to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (OAPA). In the case
of an inmate under sentence of death, the OAPA must conduct a clemency
hearing within 45 days of the scheduled date of execution. Prior to
the hearing, the inmate may request an interview with one or more
parole board members. The OAPA holds a hearing, completes its clemency
review, and makes a recommendation to the Governor. If additional
information later becomes available, the OAPA may in its discretion
hold another hearing or alter its recommendation. See Ohio
Constitution, Art. III, s. 2, Ohio Revised Code Ann., s. 2967.07
(1993). See also Ohio Adult Parole Authority v. Woodward,
Court File Nº 96-1769 (25 March 1998)(U.S.S.C.) (finding that Ohio's
clemency procedures do not violate the U.S. Constitution's Due Process
Court H.R., Suarez Rosero Case, Judgment, 12 November 1997, Annual Report 1997, at p. 283.
Id., at pp. 302-3, para. 98.
See e.g. Eur. Court H.R., Ahmed
v. Austria, Judgment of 17 December 1996, Reports
of Judgments and Decisions 1996-VI, p. 220, para. 38.
See similarly U.N.H.R.C., Mukong
v. Cameroon, Communication Nº 458/1991, U.N. Doc. Nº CCPR/C/51/D/458/1991
(1994), para. 9.3 (observing that certain minimum standards governing
conditions of detention for prisoners, as prescribed by the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and reflected in
the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, must
be observed regardless of a state party's level of development).
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted
August 30, 1955 by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention
of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, U.N. Doc. A/CONF/611, annex
I, E.S.C. res. 663C, 24 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (Nº 1) at 11, U.N. Doc.
E/3048 (1957), amended E.S.C. res. 2076, 62 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (Nº 1)
at 35, U.N. Doc E/5988 (1977).
Article 32 of the Commission’s Regulations provides that:
“Petitions addressed to the Commission shall include (c) an
indication of the state in question which the petitioner considers
responsible, by commission or omission, for the violation of a human
right recognized in the American Convention on Human Rights in the
case of States Parties thereto, even if no specific reference is made
to the article alleged to have been violated.
I/A Court H.R., Exceptions to the Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies
(Arts. 46(1), 46(2)(a) and 46(2)(b) of the American Convention on
Human Rights), Advisory Opinion OC-11/90 of August 10, 1990, Annual
Report 1991, para. 28 (interpreting Article 8(1) of the
Convention as follows:
cases which concern the determination of a person's rights and
obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal or any other nature, Article 8
does not specify any minimum guarantees similar to those provided in
Article 8(2) for criminal proceedings. It does, however, provide for
due guarantees; consequently, the individual here also has the right
to the fair hearing provided for in criminal cases.
I/A Comm. H.R., Loren Laroye Riebe Star and others v. Mexico, Report Nº 49/99 (13 April 1999), Annual
Report 1998, para. 70 (interpreting Article 8(1) in the context
of administrative proceedings leading to the expulsion of foreigners
as requiring certain minimal procedural guarantees, including the
opportunity to be assisted by counsel or other representative,
sufficient time to consider and refute the charges against them and to
seek and adduce corresponding evidence.).
similarly Currie v. Jamaica , Communication Nº 377/1989,
U.N.Doc. Nº CCPR/C/50/D/377/1989 (1994),
para. 13.4 (concluding that where a convicted person seeking Constitutional
review of irregularities in a criminal trial has not sufficient means
to meet the costs of legal assistance in order to pursue his
Constitutional remedy and where the interests of justice so require,
Article 14(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights required the State to provide legal assistance).
See Peru Case,
supra, pp. 190-191.
Court H.R., Exceptions to the Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies, supra,
similarly U.N.H.R.C., William Collins v. Jamaica,
Communication Nº 240/1987, U.N. Doc. Nº
CCPR/C/43/D/240/1987 (1991), para. 7.6 (finding that in capital
punishment cases, legal aid should not only be made available, it
should enable counsel to prepare his client's defense in circumstances
that can ensure justice.).