The Commission filed the Application pursuant to Article 61 of the American
Convention, for the Court to decide whether the State violated “Mr. [Winston]
Caesar’s right to humane treatment under Articles 5(1) and 5(2) of the Convention,
his right to be tried within a reasonable time under Article 8(1) of the Convention,
and his right to judicial protection under Article 25 of the Convention, all in
conjunction with violations of Article 1(1) of the Convention. In addition, the
Commission argue[d] that the State, by failing to provide for the right to be tried
within a reasonable time under its domestic law and by authorizing a form of
punishment that is incompatible with the right to humane treatment, is responsible
for violating its obligation[…] under Article 2 of the Convention to give domestic
legal effect[…] to the rights guaranteed under Articles 5(1), 5(2), 7(5) and 8(1) of
the Convention”. The Commission also requested that the Court order the State to
adopt various pecuniary and non-pecuniary measures of reparation.
According to the Application of the Commission, the current legislation of
Trinidad and Tobago allows for the imposition of corporal punishment. Under the
Corporal Punishment Act (Offenders Over Sixteen) of 1953 (hereinafter “Corporal
Punishment Act”), a court may order any male offender above the age of sixteen
years to be struck, or flogged, with an object called a “cat-o-nine tails”, in addition to
any other punishment to which he is liable, when convicted of certain crimes2. That
same law provides that a sentence of flogging shall be carried out as soon as may be
practicable and in no case after the expiration of six months from the passing of the
decision. The alleged victim in this case, Mr. Winston Caesar (hereinafter "Mr.
Caesar" or "the alleged victim"), was convicted before the High Court of Trinidad and
Tobago of the offense of attempted rape and was sentenced to serve 20 years in a
penitentiary with hard labour and to receive 15 strokes of the “cat-o-nine tails”. The
Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago confirmed his conviction and sentence and,
23 months after the final confirmation of his sentence, Mr. Caesar´s punishment of
flogging was carried out.
Moreover, the Commission contends that, given the nature of the violations
for which the State should be held responsible, Trinidad and Tobago must provide
Mr. Caesar with an effective remedy, which includes compensation for the moral
damage suffered by him. In addition, the Commission seeks an order requiring the
State to adopt legislative and other measures as necessary to give effect to the
right to a trial within a reasonable time, to abrogate the punishment of flogging as
provided under its Corporal Punishment Act, and to ensure that conditions of
detention in the State’s prisons satisfy the minimum standards of humane
treatment provided for under the Convention.

Trinidad and Tobago deposited its instrument of ratification of the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Convention" or "the American


The 2000 amendment of the Corporal Punishment Act (Offenders Over Sixteen) provides that this
law may be administered only to male offenders over the age of 18, so it changed its name to “Corporal
Punishment Act (Offenders Over Eighteen)” (infra para. 49(9)).

Select target paragraph3