2 Trial), 13 (Freedom of Thought and Expression), 22 (Right of Movement and Residence), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), all these in relation to Article 1(1) of the Convention, for the alleged abduction and murder of Mr. Nicholas Chapman Blake (hereinafter "Nicholas Blake") by agents of the Guatemalan State on March 28, 1985, and his disappearance, which lasted over seven years until June 14, 1992. The Commission also asked the Court to find that the State had violated Article 51(2) of the Convention by its refusal to "implement the recommendations made by the Commission." It further requested that the Court declare that Guatemala must: make full reparation to Nicholas Chapman Blake's next of kin for the grave material and moral damage suffered as a result of the multiple violations of rights protected by the Convention and the enormous expenses incurred by the victim's relatives to establish his whereabouts and identify those responsible for his disappearance and its subsequent concealment. Lastly, it asked the Court to order the State to pay the costs "of this case, including the fees of the professionals who served as the victim's representatives before the State authorities and in the processing of the case before the Commission and the Honorable Court." II COMPETENCE OF THE COURT 2. Guatemala has been a State Party to the American Convention since May 25, 1978, and recognized the contentious jurisdiction of the Court on March 9, 1987. 3. The Court is competent to hear the instant case, in accordance with its judgment on preliminary objections of July 2, 1996, in which it decided that in this case its competence extended only to "the effects and acts that occurred after the date on which Guatemala accepted the competence of the Court" (operative paragraph 2). In any event, in its prior consideration of the merits, the Court will reconsider the question of its competence ratione temporis in the instant case (infra para. 53). III PROCEEDING BEFORE THE COMMISSION 4. The petition against Guatemala, lodged by the International Human Rights Law Group, was received by the Commission on November 18, 1993, and on December 6, 1993, it was transmitted to the State, which was asked to submit information relevant to the case within 90 days. On March 7, 1994, the State requested an extension of the deadline to enable it to collect the information, which was granted by the Commission for a period of thirty days. 5. On April 14, 1994, the State submitted to the Commission its comments on the case, in which, according to the Commission, "it neither challenged nor refuted the acts denounced", but rather merely pointed out that the case was being investigated. On July 27, 1994, the petitioner requested the Commission to issue a decision on the case, in accordance with Article 50 of the American Convention. 6. The Commission placed itself at the disposal of the parties in order to facilitate a friendly settlement, and invited the parties to a public hearing at its headquarters on September 16, 1994. At that hearing, Guatemala raised the

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