REPORT Nº 26/08 1
March 14, 2008
1. This report addresses the admissibility of petition 270-02. The Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the “Inter-American Commission,”
“Commission,” or “IACHR”) opened this petition after receiving a series of complaints
lodged between April 9, 2002 and December 30, 2003, on behalf of six individuals:
Guillermo Antonio Álvarez 2, César Alberto Mendoza, Claudio David Núñez, Lucas
Matías Mendoza, Saúl Cristián Roldán Cajal, and Ricardo David Videla Fernández. Given
the great similarity in the allegations of facts and law submitted, it was decided to join
the cases into a single file assigned the number 270-02 (hereinafter “the petition”). Mr.
Fernando Peñaloza has served as petitioner in the case of Ricardo David Videla
Fernández, and Ms. Stella Maris Martínez, currently head of the Office of the National
Public Defender of Argentina, has served as petitioner for the rest of the complaints
2. The petitioners allege that the Republic of Argentina (hereinafter “the State,” the
Argentine State,” or “Argentina”) has incurred in liability under the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the
Convention”) by allegedly violating Articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 7 (right to
personal liberty), 8 (right to a fair trial), and 19 (rights of the child), pursuant to
Articles 1(1) (obligation to respect rights) and 2 (duty to adopt domestic legal
measures) for having imposed life sentences on the alleged victims for crimes
committed before they had reached 18 years of age;3 for not allowing a complete
review of the convictions by higher courts; and for confining them to maximum
security prisons which, according to the petitioners, has violated their right to humane
treatment and limited their personal development.
3. The petition indicates that the alleged victims were between 16 and 17 years of age
when they committed the crimes for which they were given life sentences. 4 It also
indicates that in the domestic jurisdiction, the defense attorneys of the now young men
filed the respective motions for cassation against the convictions, which were denied
for procedural reasons. Therefore, the petitioners argue that the alleged victims did
not benefit from a higher court’s review of the judgments that condemned them to life
in prison. The petition also indicates that the defense attorneys of the youths also filed
various appeals questioning the Constitutionality of the sentences imposed, since they
were under age 18 at the time the crimes were committed. These remedies were
1 Commission member Víctor E. Abramovich, an Argentine national, participated in neither the deliberations
nor the decision in this case, pursuant to Article 17(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission.
2 The petition of Guillermo Antonio Álvarez was subsequently separated from the petition, as detailed in
paragraph 11 infra.
3 The American Convention on Human Rights does not define who is a child. Therefore, according to the
terms of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the inter-American system of human
rights applies the concept established in international law by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child, which states: “a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the
law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”
4 At the time that this report is being drafted, the alleged victims are between 27 and 29 years of age.

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