REPORT Nº 24/05 1
ANA MARIA RUGGERI COVA, PERKINS ROCHA CONTRERAS and JUAN CARLOS APITZ
March 8, 2005
1. On April 6, 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission” or “IACHR”) received a complaint lodged by Ana Maria Ruggeri Cova, Perkins
Rocha Contreras and Juan Carlos Apitz Barbera (hereinafter the petitioners) with the
assistance of Dr. Héctor Faúndez Ledesma (hereinafter “the petitioners’ representative”),
claiming that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter the “Venezuelan State” or the
“State”) is responsible for removing the petitioners from their positions as magistrates in the
First Court of Administrative Disputes (hereinafter the “First Court”). The petitioners claim that
the reported acts constitute violations of several provisions of the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter the “American Convention”): the right to judicial guarantees (Article
8), political rights (Article 23), equality under the law (Article 24), judicial protection (Article
25), and the rights derived from representative democracy as a form of government (Article
29(c)), consistent with the general obligations envisaged in Article 1(1) and the duty established
in Article 2 of that convention.
2. The petitioners contended that the petition met the requirements for admissibility
established in the American Convention. The petitioners asserted that in the case at hand
there were grounds for exemption from the exhaustion requirement given the unwarranted
delay by the judicial system, which reached a decision on their remedies after the deadlines
established by Venezuelan law had lapsed. In addition, they claim that their removal was
decided by an agency with no jurisdiction in such matters and no autonomy and that they were
not allowed the right to a defense.
3. In its response, the State requested that the petition be declared inadmissible. It argued
that the petitioners were removed from their positions as magistrates of the First Court on
grounds that they had “committed serious and inexcusable errors, as stated in the judgment
handed down by the Political-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, dated
June 3, 2003. It indicated that, according to Article 40(4) of the Law on Careers in the
Judiciary, the Inspectorate General of Courts (hereinafter the “Inspectorate General” or
“Inspectorate”) concluded that the aforementioned magistrates should be removed. The State
noted that the process of removal was conducted in accordance with the rules of due process
and the right to defense.
4. After reviewing the positions of the parties, the Commission concluded that it
jurisdiction to judge the claim submitted by the alleged victims and that the case
admissible under Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention. Consequently,
Commission decided to notify the parties and to publicize this report on admissibility
include it in its Annual Report.
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
5. On April 6, 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a petition
lodged by Drs. Ana Maria Ruggeri Cova, Perkins Rocha Contreras and Juan Carlos Apitz
Barbera against the Venezuelan State. The Commission filed the petition as No. P-282/04 and
transmitted the relevant parts to the State pursuant to Article 30(2) of the Rules of Procedure
of the IACHR on May 18, 2004, giving it two months to submit its comments.
1 Commissioner Freddy Gutiérrez, a Venezuelan national, did not participate in the debates or the voting on this
report, pursuant to Article 17(2)(a) of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission.