contain confidential information. Despite this, in February 1993 Mr. Palamara Iribarne
delivered four copies of the book to the commander-in-chief of the Third Naval Zone of Chile.1
6. On March 1, 1993, the aforementioned naval commander notified Mr. Palamara Iribarne by
phone that the publication of his book had been prohibited by the Navy, out of consideration
that its contents constituted an attack on national security and national defense, and that
accordingly all the existing copies had to be collected. Mr. Palamara Iribarne agreed to meet
with Navy officers that same day at 3:00 p.m. at the printing press where the book was to be
published; nonetheless, he later changed his mind and did not show up.
7. In response to his failure to show, also on March 1, 1993, the naval authority filed charges
before the Naval Court of Magallanes, giving rise to criminal proceeding No. 464 for
disobedience of military duties.2 In the context of that proceeding, the Naval Tribunal
convened in the offices of the “Ateli Limitada” press, and seized the copies of the book, as well
as the originals, a diskette containing the full text, and the galleys of the publication. The
Tribunal also went to Mr. Palamara Iribarne’s home, where it proceeded to seize the copies of
the book found there, and to erase the complete text of the book in question from the hard
disk of his personal computer.
8. The petitioners also state that the naval authorities ordered the author of the book to refrain
from making any “critical comments, public or private, written or spoken, that might be to the
detriment of or that might harm the image of the Institution, any naval authority, or those
carrying out the judicial case and administrative investigations against him.” The Chilean Navy
performed two expert examinations to determine whether the contents of the book constituted
an attack on national security. The result in both cases was that neither the confidentiality nor
security of the Navy was violated.
9. Humberto Palamara Iribarne called a press conference at his residence, during which he
criticized the action of the Office of the Naval Prosecutor in the proceedings against him. In
response, criminal charges were instituted for contempt of authority (desacato); a guilty
verdict was returned, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Chile.
10. The petitioners note that even though Mr. Palamara Iribarne was a civilian, the criminal
proceeding against him took place in the military courts. They note that the courts were not
impartial, as they are presided over not by civilian judges, but by judges who are themselves
members of the military. The petitioners also allege that the hierarchical structure of the
Chilean military institutions, as well as the fact that the judges who sit on those courts are
active-duty members of the armed forces, make it impossible to have a trial with respect for
due process. To the extent that the trial was not public, they argue that Mr. Palamara Iribarne
was not given adequate time and means to prepare his defense. Accordingly, the petitioners
argue that Mr. Palamara Iribarne’s right to be heard by an independent and impartial judge or
court for the determination of his rights was violated.
11. The petitioners argue that the domestic remedies relating to the facts described as
violative of his rights were exhausted by the Supreme Court of Chile’s judgment of July 20,
1995, which denied the complaint appeal (recurso de queja) of the Military Court’s verdict
against Mr. Palamara Iribarne finding him guilty of desacato.
A.

The State

1

The Ordinance of the Chilean Navy establishes at Article 89 that in order for a member of the Navy or a person
providing services to the Navy to be able to publish an article that affects the interests of the institution, or that
contains secret or classified information, one must have the prior authorization of the competent naval authority.
2
The petitioners stated: In this criminal proceeding, Palamara was accused of the crimes of disobedience of military
duties, provided for at Article 299(3) of the Code of Military Justice, and the crime of disobedience, provided for at
Article 337(3) of the Code of Military Justice. The first of these crimes was for the fact of not having requested the
authorization required for publication of the book, and the second for having refused to deliver the book once so
ordered by his superior. Communication from the petitioners, January 12, 1996, p. 2.
2

Select target paragraph3