REPORT No. 46/15 PETITION 315-01 REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY CRISTINA BRITEZ ARCE ARGENTINA JULY 28, 2015 I. SUMMARY 1. On April 20, 2001, Ezequiel Martín Avaro and Vanina Verónica Avaro (hereinafter, “the petitioners”) lodged a petition at the Office of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (hereinafter “OAS”) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was received by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter also the “Commission” or “IACHR”) on May 10, 2001. The petitioners claimed that the Republic of Argentina (hereinafter “the State”) bore responsibility for alleged violations of the rights enshrined in articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter also the “Convention” or “American Convention”) said to have occurred in the context of judicial proceedings conducted in the domestic courts as a result of the death of their mother, Cristina Britez Arce (hereinafter also “the alleged victim”), who was then pregnant at the “Ramón Sarda” Public Maternity Hospital in the city of Buenos Aires. 2. The State argues that the petition should be declared inadmissible as it did not present a colorable claim of violation under the American Convention. It also argued that domestic remedies had not been exhausted and that the petitioners sought to use the IACHR as a “court of appeal”. The basis for the foregoing was that the judgments in the domestic proceedings were issued by tribunals that acted within their authority and in observance of fair-trial guarantees. 3. Having examined the positions of the parties and the petition’s compliance with the requirements set forth in articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission has decided to declare this petition admissible for the purposes of an examination of alleged violations of articles 4, 8, and 25 of the American Convention in connection with article 1.1 of said treaty. It has further decided to notify the parties of this decision, and to publish it and include it in its Annual Report to the OAS General Assembly. II. PROCESSING BY THE IACHR 4. On April 20, 2001, the petitioners lodged a petition at the Office of the Secretary General of the OAS in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was received by the IACHR on May 10, 2001, and registered as number 315-01. On August 11, 2003, the petitioners submitted additional information to the IACHR. On January 3, 2005, the pertinent portions of the petition were relayed to the State for its comments. 5. The State presented its reply on July 19, 2005, and it was transmitted to the petitioners for comment. Those comments were, in turn, sent to the IACHR on March 30, 2009. On September 22, 2009, the State presented additional observations and requested that processing of the petition be taken as concluded and that it be set aside. That communication was forwarded to the petitioners for their information on December 3, 2009. III. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES A. The petitioners 6. The petitioners state that on June 1, 1992, medical malpractice on the part of medical staff at Ramón Sarda Public Maternity Hospital in Buenos Aires caused the death of Cristina Britez Arce, who was pregnant at the time. The alleged victim reportedly died from preeclampsia-eclampsia which also led to the loss of the fetus due to intrauterine hypoxia. The petitioners explained that as a result of that incident a series of interrelated criminal proceedings were instituted in which they claim not to have had access to an independent and impartial tribunal or to a duly reasoned decision, as detailed below.