2 II. PROCESSING BY THE IACHR 5. The initial petition was received on December 30, 2004. Developments taking place between the presentation of the petition and the adoption of the admissibility decision are set out in the admissibility report adopted on February 27, 2007. 3 6. On March 15, 2007, the Commission notified the parties of that report, informed them that the petition had been registered as Case No. 12.600, and, under Article 38.1 of the Rules of Procedure then in force, set a two-month deadline for the petitioners to submit additional comments on the merits. Similarly, in compliance with Article 48.1.f of the American Convention, the Commission made itself available to the parties with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter. 7. On May 24, 2007, the petitioners submitted their additional comments on the merits of the case and requested a hearing. Their submission was forwarded to the State on that same date, along with a one-month deadline for it to return its comments. On June 21, 2007, the IACHR informed the petitioners that the hearing had not been granted on that occasion, on account of the large number of hearing requests received. 8. On March 10, 2008, the IACHR held a hearing on the merits of the case. On that same date, the Ecuadorian State lodged a submission containing its additional comments on the merits. On May 28, 2008, the petitioners submitted their comments, which were duly forwarded to the State. III. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES A. Petitioners 9. The petitioners submit that they were appointed in October 1997, in strict compliance with the will of the people expressed in the 1997 referendum, the Constitution then in force, and the legally established procedures for the assessment, selection, and election of justices. They explain that in accordance with the applicable regulations, justices of the Supreme Court were elected for an indefinite period and that vacancies were to be filled by means of the cooptation system – in other words, by the Court itself. 10. They claim that by means of decision that was in breach of the legal and constitutional provisions in force at the time, on December 8, 2004, the National Congress, in summary proceedings and without being competent to do so, terminated them in their positions and arbitrarily appointed other individuals as justices of the Supreme Court. According to the petitioners’ narrative, that occurred after President of the Republic Lucio Gutiérrez convened, on December 5, 2004, a special session of Congress in order to “analyze and resolve the legal and constitutional situation of the judicial branch.” 11. The petitioners submit that there were no proceedings of a judicial or other nature and that “the course of action taken by Congress was not provided for in law. Thus, the justices were not notified by means of any suit or petition, they were not accused of having broken any law, and they were not given the opportunity to be heard or the possibility of offering a defense.” 3 and 6. IACHR, Report No. 8/07 (Admissibility), Petition 1425-04, Hugo Quintana Coello and others, Ecuador, February 27, 2007, paras. 5

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