REPORT N° 5/04
February 24, 2004


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
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.


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.

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