REPORT N° 5/04 PETITION 720/00 ADMISSIBILITY EDUARDO KIMEL ARGENTINA February 24, 2004 I. SUMMARY 1. On December 6, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the "Inter-American Commission", the "Commission" or "the IACHR") received a petition lodged by the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) (hereinafter "the petitioners") against the Republic of Argentina (hereinafter "the State", "the Government", or "Argentina"). The petition concerns the suspended sentence of one year in prison and damages of 20,000 pesos imposed on the journalist and writer Eduardo Kimel (hereinafter "the victim"), author of the book La Masacre de San Patricio (The San Patricio Massacre). The sentence was imposed in a criminal action for libel brought by a former judge criticized in the book for his part in the investigation of a massacre committed at the time of the military dictatorship. 2. The petitioners claim that the State is responsible for having violated the rights to judicial guarantees and freedom of expression, in conjunction with the general obligations to respect and ensure rights, as well as to bring domestic law into conformity, enshrined in Articles 8, 13, 1(1) and 2, respectively, of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the "Convention" or the "American Convention"). 3. At the time of the preparation of the present report, the State had presented no argument regarding the admissibility of this petition. 4. In the instant report, the Commission concludes, without prejudging the merits of the matter, that the petition is admissible in accordance with Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, and that it will continue with its analysis of the alleged violations of Articles 8, 13, 1(1) and 2 of that instrument. The Commission also decides to notify the parties of its decision, and publish it and include it in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the OAS. II. PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION 5. Having conducted the appropriate review of the petition, the IACHR decided to join it with petition 12.128 ("Verbitsky et al. "), which it was already processing, owing to the similarity of the alleged facts. In a communication of February 2, 2001, the Commission informed the petitioners that processing had commenced, and it sent the pertinent portions of the petition to the State as additional information related to petition 12.128, which was the subject of a friendly settlement procedure. In that communication, the Government was given 30 days to submit such observations as it deemed appropriate regarding the new information (petition on behalf of Mr. Kimel) and to provide an account of progress in the friendly settlement procedure underway in connection with petition 12.128.