Thursday, August 4, 2011

IACHR Announces Two New Cases in One Week

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has had a busy week. 

Last week, the IACHR filed an application against Columbia with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case N. 12.573, Marino López et al. (Operation Genesis).  The case concerns a counterinsurgency military operation, called "Operation Genesis," and paramilitary raids carried out between February 24 and 27, 2007, in the Afro-descendant communities of the Cacarica river basin, in the department of Chocó, Colombia. The Operation Genesis bombardments and the human rights violations committed in the paramilitary incursions—such as the torture and extrajudicial execution of Marino López, death threats, looting, robbery, and destruction of property, among other things—led to the forced displacement of hundreds of members of these communities, most of them women and children.  The victims were displaced for more than four years and were subjected to acts of harassment and threats during their displacement.  The IACHR handed down precautionary measures for their protection.  Although the Columbian authorities opened investigations and brought suits against a military general and five paramilitary members; the IACHR concluded that the investigations were not carried out quickly, comprehensively or effectively and that the courts had failed to act with diligence in pursuing criminal proceedings that would clarify the acts of violence and punish those responsible. Accordingly, the IACHR sent the case to the Inter-American Court on July 25, 2011, because the Commission deemed that the State has not complied with the recommendations contained in its report on the merits.  More information and relevant documents may be found here.

The second case the IACHR announced it is referring to the Court on Monday involves Costa Rica's ban on in vitro fertilizaiton (IVF), contrary to a 2010 IACHR report and recommendation that access to IVF is a human right that must be allowed by the government.  The suit will be filed on behalf of 50 Costa Rican couples who have had to travel to other countries to access the procedure. The case is N.12.361 "Artavia Gretel Murillo and others "(IVF).  The Costa Rican government bans IVF because it is a process in which unused embryos are destroyed, contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  A press release regarding the case may be found on the Costa Rican Ministry of Foreign Relations website (in Spanish).


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