REPORT No. 33/14
CASE 12.820
MERITS
MANFRED AMRHEIN ET AL
COSTA RICA
April 4, 2014

I.

SUMMARY

1.
From March 2004 to November 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission” or the “IACHR”) received eight petitions regarding 171 individuals,2
alleging international responsibility of the State of Costa Rica (hereinafter “the State” or “Costa Rica”)
for failing to provide for an ordinary procedure of right to appeal the criminal convictions of seventeen
individuals to an intermediate court of review. In some of these petitions, violations were also alleged
with regard to due process rights, excessive duration of preventive detention and poor conditions of
detention at the prison facility called the Centro de Atención Institucional La Reforma or ‘Institutional
Care Center’ (hereinafter “CAI La Reforma,” for its Spanish acronym).
2.
The State disputed the claims made in the petitions. With regard to the alleged failure
to provide for an ordinary procedure of appeal for the comprehensive examination of criminal
convictions, it claimed that this had been remedied with enactment of Law No. 8503, titled “Law for the
Opening of Criminal Cassation (casación penal)” in 2006 and, subsequently, Law No. 8837, titled “Law
creating a conviction appeal procedure, other reforms to the appeals system and Implementing new
rules on oral proceedings in criminal matters” in 2010. As to the other allegations, Costa Rica contended
that every one of the criminal proceedings was conducted with respect for due process, the preventive
detentions were not arbitrary and that conditions of detention at CAI La Reforma are adequate.
3.
After examining the positions of the parties, the Inter-American Commission concluded
that Costa Rica is responsible for the violation of the rights to a fair trial, judicial protection, humane
treatment, and personal liberty, as established in Articles 8, 25, 5 and 7 of the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention”) in connection with the
obligations set forth in Articles 1.1 and 2 thereof, to the detriment of the individuals listed in each
section of the instant report. Accordingly, the Commission made the respective recommendations.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IACHR

4.
From March 2004 to November 2006, eight petitions were lodged with the InterAmerican Commission, of which the processing up to the admissibility decision is explained in detail in
admissibility report 105/11, issued on July 22, 2011.3 In said report, the IACHR found the petition
1

Manfred Amrhein, Ronald Fernández, Carlos Osborne, Carlos González, Arturo Fallas, Rafael Rojas Madrigal, Carlos
Eduardo Yepez Cruz, Luis Archbold Jay, Enrique Floyd Archbold Jay, Fernando Saldarriaga, Miguel Antonio Valverde, Guillermo
Rodríguez Silva, Martín Rojas Hernández, Manuel Hernández Quesada, Damas Vega Atencio, Miguel Mora Calvo and Jorge
Martínez Meléndez.
2

These petitions are part of a larger group of matters dealing with the same issues, which are currently being
examined by the Commission at other procedural stages.
3

IACHR, Report No. 105/11, Petitions 663/06 et al, Manfred Amrhein et al, Costa Rica, July 22, 2011, paras. 5-13.

Select target paragraph3