REPORT N° 69/01
PROCESSING BY THE IACHR
1. The petition,
filed by Juan Pablo Olmedo Bustos and Ciro Colombara ("the
petitioners"), was received on February 22, 2001.
On March 30, 2001, the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights ("the IACHR" or "the
Inter-American Commission") requested information from the
petitioners regarding compliance with the admissibility requirements set
forth in the American Convention on Human Rights and the Rules of
Procedure of the IACHR. The
petitioners responded with additional arguments on the exhaustion of
domestic remedies on April 19, 2001, and on May 18, 2001, they requested a
"hearing by telephone" with the Executive Secretary.
On May 21, 2001, they were notified that their petition would be
submitted to the Working Group on Admissibility of the Inter-American
Commission. On June 13, 2001,
the petitioners submitted a communication containing additional arguments
2. Articles 1, 2,
8, 21, 24, and 25 of the American Convention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FACTS AND ARGUMENTS OF THE PETITIONER
The petitioners state that their client, Cristián Scheib Campos,
is a businessman who used to import used Japanese motorcycles into Chile,
in accordance with the interpretation of a law in effect since 1985.
As a result of a new administrative interpretation by the Customs
Administration, the importation of used motorcycles into Chile was banned,
effective March 1999. Mr.
Scheib filed an appeal for protection against this measure on April 10,
1999. He further sought and obtained from the court an order
maintaining the status quo ante,
which allowed him to continue the aforementioned commercial activity.
On October 21, 1999, the Valparaíso Court of Appeal approved the
order for protection. An
appeal was filed against this decision by the Customs Office with the
Supreme Court, and the latter denied the appeal for protection on December
27, 1999. As a result, on
January 14, 2000, the order maintaining the status
quo ante became null and void. In
the December 1999 ruling, the Supreme Court indicated that regular
judicial channels could be used to challenge the decision of the Director
of Customs prohibiting the importation of motorcycles.
Mr. Scheib took this course of action on July 21, 2000, by means of
a request for nullification of this decision in the public law sphere.
A first instance decision is pending with respect to these
Before this legal decision was handed down, Mr. Scheib Campos had
started and concluded the process to import 68 used motorcycles, which
arrived in Chile on January 10, 2000, after a delay that was not
attributable to the importer. On
January 13, 2000, the Customs Office instituted administrative
proceedings, called a preliminary hearing [antejuicio]
for contraband, notification of which was never provided to Mr. Scheib,
according to the petitioner. The
final decision of the Customs Tribunal was that contraband activity could
not be proven; however it decided to reexport the merchandise, based on a
decision of July 21, 2000. Mr.
Scheib filed a complaint appeal with the Supreme Court against this
administrative decision. The
Supreme Court rejected this appeal on October 31, 2000, based on legal
precedents established in Chilean case law.
ANALYSIS BY THE IACHR
In essence, the petitioners are challenging the procedure applied
in Chile to Mr. Scheib Campos and the unfavorable ruling that resulted in
the reexportation of the used motorcycles, with the attendant financial
loss. However, based on the
information available in the file, the alleged victim had access to the
Chilean courts, which permitted him to challenge, on several occasions,
unfavorable administrative and judicial decisions that were handed down
against him. The IACHR notes
that the events described by the petitioners, if accurate, would not
constitute violations of due process or of other rights guaranteed under
the American Convention.
The issue raised by the petitioner would therefore require a review
by the IACHR of the interpretation of the rules governing the preliminary
for contraband activity trial [antejuicio
de contrabando] that was held by the administrative and judicial
authorities of Chile. As
noted earlier, this matter was submitted to the Chilean Supreme Court,
which rejected the claim on the basis of the legal provisions and case law
of that country.
The Inter-American Commission does not have jurisdiction to act as
a fourth instance with respect to decisions made by legal entities that
have adopted procedures that do not reveal violations of due process or
other human rights guaranteed by the American Convention.
The mere disagreement on the part of the petitioners with the
interpretations of the Chilean authorities is not sufficient to serve as
proof of the alleged violation of the aforementioned international
CONCLUSION AND DECISION
In accordance with the foregoing, the IACHR does not have
jurisdiction, because of the nature of the matter, to process this
petition. Consequently, the
Inter-American Commission declares the petition of Mr. Cristián Scheib
Campos inadmissible. The IACHR also approves the initial review of the
requirements of the petition by the Executive Secretariat, in accordance
with its Rules of Procedure.
and signed at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, in Washington, D.C, June 14, 2001. (Signed): Juan E. Méndez,
First Vice-President; Marta Altolaguirre, Second Vice-President; Robert K.
Goldman, Peter Laurie, Hélio Bicudo, Commissioners.
Commissioner Julio Prado Vallejo abstained.
Commissioner Claudio Grossman, a Chilean national, did not participate
in the review and voting related to this petition, pursuant to Article
17(2)(a) of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR.