REPORT No. 82/11 PETITION 616-98 ADMISSIBILITY JOSÉ LUIS HERNÁNDEZ ARGENTINA July 21, 2011 I. SUMMARY 1. On June 30, 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Inter-American Commission”, “Commission,” or “IACHR”) received a petition from attorneys Ciro V. Annicchiarico, Tomás Ojea Quintana, and Rodolfo Ojea Quintana (hereinafter “the petitioners”), filed on behalf of Mr. José Luis Hernández against the Argentine Republic (hereinafter “Argentina” or “the State”). The petitioners allege that the State has incurred in responsibility under the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention”), specifically for the alleged violation of the rights of Mr. José Luis Hernández to personal security, physical integrity, judicial guarantees, the protection of his honor and dignity, equality before the law, and judicial protection contained in articles I, II, V, XVIII, XXV, and XXVI of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, as well as Articles 5, 7, 8, 11, 17, 24, and 25 in relation to Article 1.1 of the American Convention. They also allege violation of Article 7 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. 2. The petition states that on February 7, 1989, Mr. José Luis Hernández was arrested in Buenos Aires Province, accused of committing a crime. It argues that Mr. Hernández was held in a local jail for 1 year and 6 months under unacceptable conditions and contracted meningitis, for which he never received proper care, causing his health to deteriorate and resulting in permanent damage. The petitioners state that upon his release, Mr. Hernández sued the State for compensation, but the suit was dismissed because the statute of limitations for filing the suit had expired. The petitioners allege that Mr. Hernández was denied the right to judicial protection. 3. The State, in turn, maintains that once his illness was diagnosed, Mr. Hernández was hospitalized on several occasions and received medical care. It alleges that both the lower court and subsequent higher courts dismissed the claim for damages lodged by Mr. Hernández against the State because the two-year statute of limitations for filing the suit established under domestic law had expired. Thus, the State asserts that Mr. Hernández enjoyed all the procedural rights to which he was entitled and that the petitioners’ intent is for the Commission to review domestic rulings that were unfavorable to the alleged victim. Accordingly, the State argues that the case should be declared inadmissible. 4. After examining the positions of the parties, the Inter-American Commission concludes that it is competent to decide on the claim lodged by the petitioners, which is admissible in light of the provisions of Article 46 of the American Convention, under its articles 5, 7, 8, and 25, as well as Article 7 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, but not Articles 11, 17, and 24 of the American Convention. The Commission therefore decides to notify the parties, continue with the in-depth analysis of the alleged violations, publish this Report on Admissibility, and include it in its Annual Report to the OAS General Assembly. II. PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION 5. The petitioners filed suit on June 30, submitting supplementary information on August 19 of that same year, as well as on August 23, 2000 and August 30, 2001. The IACHR transmitted the pertinent parts of the petition to the Argentine State on April 16, 2003 and requested that it respond within two months. The State submitted its comments through notes dated June 6 and July 21, 2003. The Commission transmitted these responses to the petitioners through a communication dated January 21, 2004. The petitioners, in turn, sent their comments through a communication received on April 28, 2004, which was transmitted to the State on June 23 of that same year.