November 28, 2014
Case No. 12.820
Manfred Amhrein et al.
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am pleased to write to you on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to
submit to the jurisdiction of the Honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case 12.820,
Manfred Amhrein et al. in respect of the State of Costa Rica (hereinafter “the State,” “the Costa Rican
State,” or “Costa Rica”).
The case involves Costa Rica’s international responsibility for the absence of a remedy to
allow a broad review of the criminal convictions of 17 persons. According to the criminal procedure
framework in place at the time of the aforementioned convictions, the remedy available was the
appeals procedure, which was limited to matters of law, thus excluding the possibility of a review of
matters of fact and evidence. Nor does the Commission consider that the two legislative amendments
adopted by the State following those verdicts guaranteed the victims’ right to appeal the decisions,
since the mechanisms available to persons convicted by final judgment before the adoption of said
amendments were subject to the same limitations. The IACHR also considered that, as concerned
some victims, the State violated the right to a fair trial in the criminal proceedings against them, the
right to personal liberty in view of the unreasonable period of pre-trial detention, and the right to
humane treatment because of the poor detention conditions in the prison in which they were held.
The State of Costa Rica ratified the American Convention on Human Rights on April 8, 1970,
and accepted the contentious jurisdiction of the Court on July 2, 1980.
The Commission has designated Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez and Executive
Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza L. as its delegates. Likewise, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Deputy Executive
Secretary, and Silvia Serrano Guzmán and Erick Acuña Pereda, attorneys of the Executive Secretariat
of the IACHR, will serve as legal advisors.
Mr. Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, Secretary
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
P.O. Box 6906-1000
San José, Costa Rica