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.

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