3 12. They add that on account of the legal invalidity of the Congressional Resolution, the justices of the Supreme Court refused to leave their offices and, as a result, on December 9, 2004, the National Police removed the Chief Justice from the Supreme Court’s premises, along with a number of other justices, and also forcibly prevented several other justices and employees from entering. 13. They contend that seeking legal relief would have been futile in light of the context of the events and, given the denial of justice suffered by the judges of the Constitutional Court, they decided to take their case to an international venue. 14. The petitioners hold that these facts constituted violations of the rights enshrined in Articles 8, 9, 23, 24, and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction with Articles 1.1 and 2 thereof. The following sections summarize the petitioners’ claims with respect to those articles. 15. Regarding the right to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 8 of the Convention, the petitioners contend that this right applies to “procedural agencies” in general, including the determination of rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any other nature. In the petitioners’ view, the wording “competent tribunal” and “for the determination of rights” refer to any public authority –administrative, legislative, or judicial – that in its resolutions determines an individual’s rights and obligations. Specifically, the petitioners contend that: - - - - The State violated the guarantee of a “competent tribunal” in that the Ecuadorian Constitution specifically lists the functions of the National Congress, which do not include terminating justices of the Supreme Court or electing new justices. The State violated the guarantee of an “independent tribunal” in that their dismissal took place by means of a procedure that was not previously established and the executive branch pressured Congress to dismiss the Supreme Court justices. In particular, it created a majority in line with its political interests and, once that majority was established, it convened a special session on a matter in which it did not have competence. Moreover, in the petitioners’ view, the absence of guarantees of due process in their termination is also an indication of the lack of independence of the National Congress, which did not impeach the justices. The State violated the guarantee of an “impartial tribunal” in that it simultaneously was a judge and a party in the proceedings. They add that prior to voting, Congress had already decided on the punishment. They also claim that the congressional record of the special session indicates that the majority had a direct interest in the decision. The State violated the right to be heard with due guarantees and the right of defense in that in the President of the Republic’s call for a special session, and at the session itself, held on December 8, 2004, the parties were denied the possibility of being heard, the decision was adopted in summary fashion after 45 minutes, it was not duly grounded, and, as a result, the justices were unable to defend themselves either personally or through representatives of their own choosing. They add that the unreasonably short time in which the decision was made denied them any possibility of defense. They also contend that since the procedure whereby they were terminated was not regulated, neither were they able to file appeals against their dismissals. Consequently, they hold, the State violated the rights enshrined in Articles 8.1, 8.2 (b), (c), (d), (h), and 8.4 of the American Convention. 16. Regarding the freedom from ex post facto laws enshrined in Article 9 of the American Convention, the petitioners submit that in accordance with the precedents set by the

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