REPORT Nº 25/04
ANA VICTORIA SANCHEZ VILLALOBOS AND OTHERS
March 11, 2004
1. On January 19, 2001, Mr. Gerardo Trejos Salas (hereafter "the petitioner") submitted a
complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereafter "the
Commission", "the Inter-American Commission" or "IACHR") against the Republic of Costa Rica
(hereafter "the State", "Costa Rica", or "the Costa Rican State"), invoking the international
responsibility of the Costa Rican State because of judgment number 2000-02306 of March 15,
2000, issued by the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica, declaring unconstitutional
Presidential Decree 24029-S of February 3, 1995, regulating the practice of in vitro fertilization
in Costa Rica.
2. The petitioner argues that the judgment in question violates Articles 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 11.2, 17,
24, 25, 26 and 32 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereafter "the Convention" or
"the American Convention"), as well as Articles 3, 10 and 15 of the Additional Protocol to the
American Commission on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(hereafter referred to as the "Protocol of San Salvador") and Articles 1 and 7(h) of the InterAmerican Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against
Women (hereafter referred to as the "Convention of Belém do Pará") with respect to Ana
Victoria Sanchez Villalobos, Fernando Salazar Portilla; Gretel Artavia Murillo, Miguel Mejía
Carballo, Andrea Bianchi Bruno, German Alberto Moreno Valencia, Ana Cristina Castillo León,
Enrique Acuña Cartín, Ileana Henchos Bolaños, Miguel Antonio Yamuni Zeledón, Claudia María
Carro Maklouf, Victor Hugo Sanabria León, Karen Espinoza Vindas, Hector Jimenez Acuña,
Maria del Socorro Calderán P., Joaquina Arroyo Fonseca, Geovanni Antonio Vega, Carlos E.
Vargas Solorzano, Julieta González Ledezma and Oriester Rojas Carranza (hereafter "the
presumed victims"), all patients of Dr. Gerardo Escalante López and Dr. Della Ribas and
against the Costa Rican companies Ultrasonografia S.A. and Instituto Costarricense de
3. With respect to admissibility, the State maintained that the complaint was groundless and
out of order and that it should be considered inadmissible. It also insisted that the tardiness
with which the victims were individually identified, and the lack of standing in the case of those
victims that were initially identified, should render the petition inadmissible. The State also
argued failure to exhaust domestic remedies, and claimed that the petition was submitted too
late, in relation to the victims who were subsequently identified.
4. The petitioner, on the contrary, declared that the presumed victims had requested
confidentiality for fear of disruption of their private lives. On a future date the Commission
received a communication sign by all patients of doctors Gerardo Escalante López and Delia
Ribas in which they waived the confidentiality.
5. The petitioner also alleges that because of the binding nature of decisions of the
Constitutional Chamber they had no further recourse to exhaust.
6. On the basis of its analysis of the arguments presented by the two parties, pursuant to
Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, the Commission has decided to declare the petition
admissible, with respect to the alleged violations of Articles 1, 2, 11, 17 and 24 of the
American Convention, and to proceed with an analysis of its merits.
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
7. On February 6, 2001 the Commission acknowledged receipt of the petitioner's
communication and announced the opening of the case under number 12.361, in accordance
with its rules of procedure at that time. On the same date, the relevant portions of the
communication were transmitted to the State, which was asked to provide information within