REPORT Nº 51/05
October 12, 2005


1. On November 15, 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition filed by Jorge Fontevecchia, Héctor D’Amico and
the Asociación Periodistas [the Association of Journalists] (hereinafter “the petitioners”) alleging
that the Argentine Republic (hereinafter “the Argentine State,” “Argentina” or “the State”) had
incurred international responsibility for violation of Articles 8 (right to a fair trial) and 13 (freedom
of thought and expression), in relation to Articles 1(1) (the obligation to respect rights) and 2 (the
obligation to adopt domestic legislative or other measures) of the American Convention on Human
Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”) to the detriment of Jorge
Fontevecchia and Héctor D’Amico.
2. The petition concerned a ruling of Argentina’s Supreme Court in the Carlos Saúl Menem v.
Editorial Perfil S.A. et al. Case, in which Editorial Perfil S.A., Jorge Fontevecchia and Héctor
D’Amico were ordered to pay damages to Mr. Carlos Saúl Menem, then-President of Argentina,
following a series of articles published in three issues of the magazine Noticias.
3. The petitioners contend that the information reported about Mr. Menem was a matter of public
interest. They further maintain that the court ruling ordering them to pay civil damages has a
“dissuasive” effect, becoming a “means of intimidation and censure” that is contrary to the
provisions of Article 13 of the American Convention.
4. The State, for its part, argues that the information concerned Mr. Menem’s private life and that
the Supreme Court’s ruling was in no way dissuasive. The State further contends that the
Supreme Court’s ruling was on a judgment handed down in a civil action, brought with regard to
publication of information and photographs relating to the plaintiff’s private life.” The ruling
ordered “subsequent imposition of liabilities” based on Argentine law and the article of the
American Convention requiring such liability in order to ensure respect for “the reputations of
5. Under Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention and Articles 30 and 37 of its Rules of
Procedure, the Commission decided that the portion of the petition alleging violations of Article 13
of the American Convention, in relation to Articles 1(1) and 2 thereof, was admissible, but decided
that the section alleging violation of Article 8 of the Convention was inadmissible. The Commission
also decided to notify the parties of its decision, to make it public and to include it in its Annual
Report to the OAS General Assembly.


6. The petitioners filed the petition with the Commission’s Executive Secretariat on November 15,
2001. At the same time, the petitioners also requested a precautionary measure in the form of
suspension of execution of the judgment delivered by Argentina’s Supreme Court on September
25, 2001. The Commission decided not to grant the request for precautionary measures.
7. On October 2, 2002, the petition was assigned case number 775/01. Then, on October 9, 2002,
the Commission informed the State that Mr. Eduardo Bertoni had had been named Special
Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR and had disqualified himself from participating


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