REPORT N° 88/01
CASE 12.147
WINSTON CAESAR
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
October 10, 2001
I.

SUMMARY

1. On May 6, 1999, the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission”)
received a petition from Lovell, White, Durrant, a firm of Solicitors in London, United Kingdom
(“the Petitioners”) against the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (“Trinidad and Tobago” or
“the State”). The petition was presented on behalf of Mr. Winston Caesar, who is incarcerated
at Carrera Convict Prison, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The petition states that on
January 10, 1992, Mr. Caesar was convicted of attempted rape at the Port of Spain Assizes,
Trinidad and Tobago. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and fifteen strokes of the cat
o’nine tails, with a recommendation that he serve at least 20 years including hard labour.
2. The petition alleged that the State is responsible for violations of Mr.Caesar’s rights under
Articles 2, 5, 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (the “American
Convention” or the “Convention”). It stated in particular that the sentence of 15 strokes of the
cat o’nine tails to which the victim was subjected and the conditions of his incarceration both
represent breaches of Article 5 of the Convention, that Mr. Caesar’s inadequate representation
at trial and the delay in bringing him to trial and in determining his appeal are violations of
Article 8 of the Convention, and that the lack of effective recourse to a court or tribunal for
protection of Mr. Caesar’s right to be tried without undue delay represents a breach of Articles
2 and 25 of the Convention.
3. As of the date of this report, the Commission had not received a response from the State to
Mr. Caesar’s petition.
4. As set forth in this Report, having examined the contentions of the parties on the question
of admissibility, and without prejudging the merits of the matter, the Commission has decided
to admit the claims in the present petition pertaining to Articles 2, 5, 8 and 25 of the
Convention and continue with the analysis of the merits of the case.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5. Following receipt of the Petitioner’s petition, on May 13, 1999 the Commission transmitted
the pertinent parts of the petition to the State. The Commission requested the State’s
observations on the petition within 90 days as established by the Commission’s prior
Regulations.1 Also by note of the same date, the Commission informed the Petitioners that the
pertinent parts of their petition had been transmitted to the State and that they would be
advised of any reply that the State might make.
6. In a communication dated November 22, 1999, the Petitioners submitted additional
information regarding Mr. Caesar’s conditions of detention. The Commission transmitted the
pertinent parts of that communication to the State in a communication dated November 29,
1999, requesting that information relevant to the case be provided within 30 days.
7. By communication of December 6, 1999, the Government acknowledged receipt of the
Commission’s communication dated November 29, 1999. In a note dated July 11, 2000, the
Commission reiterated to the State its previous request for information relevant to the case
within 30 days of the Commission’s communication. As of the date of the present report, the
Commission has not received any information or observations from the State concerning Mr.
Caesar’s petition.
1

During its 109th special session in December 2000, the Commission approved the Rules of Procedure of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, which replaced the Commission’s prior Regulations of April 8, 1980. Pursuant
to Article 78 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, the Rules entered into force on May 1, 2001
1

Select target paragraph3