Not only these procedural defects, but also the IGH’s systematic persecution of political dissidents, prevent effective participation by government opponents. Many top dissidents, including Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and several former members of Parliament and local officials, remain in jail illegally. Imprisonment prevents these activists from running as candidates or organizing for the elections. The IGH’s repeated deadly attacks against demonstrations and other public events deter voters and citizens from meeting and organizing to discuss political matters. Finally, the attacks against the press prevent the media coverage that is necessary for voters to make informed decisions.
Petitioners plead that elections in Haiti, even if superficially fair, cannot be a remedy, unless there is a guarantee that the IGH, the U.S. government, and the government of the Dominican Republic will respect the election outcomes. Petitioners turn to the Commission to seek relief and the rule of law.
- Due process of law is not available for Petitioners in Haiti.
Petitioners are exempt from the exhaustion requirement where evidence demonstrates that the domestic legal system does not afford due process of law. This due process exception to the exhaustion requirement is embedded in Article 46(2)(a) of the Convention: “[The domestic exhaustion requirement] shall not be applicable when the domestic legislation of the state concerned does not afford due process of law for the protection of the right or rights that have allegedly been violated.” In an advisory opinion, the Court has declared, “Article 46(2)(a) applies to situations in which the domestic law of a State Party does not provide appropriate remedies to protect rights that have been violated.” The Court has held that, “as a norm of international law and the logical correlative of the obligation to exhaust internal remedies, the rule is not applicable when there are no remedies.”
The Court has applied the due process exception in cases where government practice or policy impedes petitioners from invoking domestic remedies. In Velásquez Rodríguez, for example, the Court admitted a petition, filed on behalf of an individual presumed to have been “disappeared” by the Honduran government. The Court found the petition admissible, although Honduran authorities had not issued a final decision and although the petitioners had failed to pursue all formally available domestic remedies. Given the Honduran government’s policy and practice of intimidation and obstruction in cases involving the military, the Court found that domestic remedies were neither adequate nor effective. The Court reasoned:
[I]f there is proof of the existence of a practice or policy ordered or tolerated by the government, the effect of which is to impede certain persons from invoking internal remedies . . . resort to those remedies becomes a senseless formality. The exceptions of Article 46(2) would be fully applicable in those situations and would discharge the obligation to exhaust internal remedies since they cannot fulfill their objective in that case.
Petitioners ask the Commission to apply the Velásquez Rodríguez rule for due process exceptions to their case.
Haitian Petitioners’ situation in this case presents a more blatant denial of due process than that of the petitioners in Velásquez Rodríguez. While the Velásquez Rodríguez petitioners could approach a court with a habeas petition, Haitian Petitioners have no effective means for challenging the deprivation of their rights to participate in representative government and no effective means of holding the IGH accountable for other violations. The climate of violence and impunity in Haiti has paralyzed the justice system. The judiciary—largely lacking independence from the IGH —is unable to offer any meaningful remedy to Petitioners. The national judges’ association in Haiti, named ANAMAH, issued a statement on July 1, 2004, in which it
deplor[ed] the increase in the politicization of justice and illegal arrests over the last four months. The refusal to obey the judge’s release order for Jacques Mathelier illustrates this trend. According to Mathelier’s lawyers,,Pierre Reynold Charles, the judge in his case, was about to prepare a liberation order when the prosecutor called him up and told him not to. Lawyers representing political prisoners complain that this interference has become standard operating procedure.
The IGH’s political interference in the pursuit of justice renders the pursuit of any domestic remedies meaningless.
Most recently, on December 9, 2005, the Interim Prime Minister fired five justices of the Cour de Cassation, or Supreme Court. Although the dismissal decree did not cite a reason, it came a day after the Cour de Cassation issued a decision mandating that Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council reinstate the candidacy of a Haitian-born U.S. citizen and resident for the upcoming Presidential elections. This dispute reflects the decline of the rule of law in Haiti, as both sides’ conduct flagrantly violates the Constitution.
The Constitution clearly prohibits foreign citizens from running for President and imposes a five-year residency requirement. Article 135 decrees that in order to be elected President of the Republic of Haiti, it is necessary to “be a native-born Haitian and never have renounced Haitian nationality” and to “have resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years before the date of the elections.” The candidate in question, Dumarsais Simeus, a resident of Southlake, Texas, has admitted in press interviews that he is a U.S. citizen and does not claim to have resided in Haiti for the last five years. The Cour de Cassation did not deny the plain meaning of the Constitutional prohibition. Instead, it claimed that the Electoral Council had not proven that Mr. Simeus was a U.S. citizen, despite Mr. Simeus’ public acknowledgement.
Haiti’s Constitution just as clearly prohibits the removal of justices by the Prime Minister. Justices can be suspended if they are formally charged with a crime, or removed pursuant to a trial in Parliament. Neither of those avenues was pursued.
The IGH has deprived the Haitian populace of the right to counsel in some cases. Moreover, it would be absurd to require Petitioners to pursue domestic legal redress against the IGH for its own illegitimacy. Clearly, domestic remedies in Haiti are neither adequate nor effective, and any exhaustion attempts would be a “senseless formality.” This set of circumstances makes it impossible for Petitioners to be “afford[ed] due process of law for the protection of the . . . rights that have . . . been violated.” Petitioners respectfully plead a due process exception to the requirement of exhausting domestic remedies under Convention Article 46(2)(a).
- The political violence and fear that pervade Haiti and its legal system hinder Petitioners’ ability to bring domestic claims.
Fear in the domestic legal community also constitutes a basis for an exception to the exhaustion requirement. “[I]f . . . a general fear in the legal community to represent [a petitioner] prevents a complainant before the Commission from invoking the domestic remedies necessary to protect a right guaranteed by the Convention, he is not required to exhaust such remedies.” If petitioners “require legal representation and a generalized fear in the legal community prevents [them] from obtaining such representation, the exception set out in Article 46(2)(b) is fully applicable and [they are] exempted from the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies.”
In Haiti, fear in the domestic legal community hinders Petitioners’ ability to bring a claim. Members of the Lavalas Party fear for their safety, and many remain in hiding. Police conduct summary executions, and “even well-meaning officers treat poor neighborhoods seeking a democratic voice as enemy territory where they must kill or be killed.” The “voices for non-violent change are silenced by arrest, assassination, or fear.” In this atmosphere, it is not reasonable to expect Petitioners to pursue domestic remedies.
Non-governmental organizations working on justice in Haiti have advised Petitioners that there is no likelihood of an effective domestic remedy and that pursuing it could lead to retaliation against Petitioners. Mario Joseph, an attorney at the BAI, explains the difficulties of defending and assisting political prisoners and other victims of human rights abuses in Haiti:
5. The IGH has systematically intimidated judges, especially in high profile political cases. In July 2004, the Haitian Judges’ Association, ANAMAH, issued a press release deploring the increase in the politicization of justice and illegal arrests over the previous four months. Later that month, the IGH transferred Jacques Mathelier away from the judge who began the process to free him. On November 24, 2004, Judge Jean Sénat Fleury, one of Haiti’s most respected judges, ordered the liberation of Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste, a Catholic Priest and political dissident, who had spent a month in jail without seeing a judge. The IGH eventually gave in to international pressure and released Fr. Jean-Juste. Just before Christmas 2004, Judge Brédy Fabien ordered the release of six more dissidents, including Harold Sévère and Anthony Nazaire, for lack of evidence. On December 30, Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse instructed the chief judge of the Port-au-Prince Trial Court to immediately take all cases from Judges Fleury and Fabien. This was a clear violation of the principle of judicial independence, enshrined in Haiti’s Constitution. Judge Fleury, unwilling to serve in such a corrupt system, resigned.
On December 9, 2005, the IGH illegally forced five Justices of the Cour de Cassation or Supreme Court, off the court, because they issued a decision that the Executive Branch disagreed with. Since then, the entire justice system has been closed down for a strike.
6. Although lawyers are permitted to represent people in political cases, they are subject to intimidation by both the IGH and armed groups. On October 2, 2004, attorney Axène Joseph went to Radio Caraibes to represent three current and former members of Parliament that the police were trying to arrest without a warrant, following a radio debate. The police arrested attorney Joseph and held him until the next day, even though there were never any accusations made against him in the police file. Human rights defenders, including me, have been subject to intimidation through telephone calls and other means. Amnesty International issued an urgent action alert on October 11, 2004 for my safety and that of lawyer Renan Hédouville. When American human rights lawyer Ira Kurzban traveled to Haiti on March 7 to visit Petitioner and document his health and the conditions of his detention, he was not allowed to enter the country. All these attacks do not make finding a lawyer impossible, but they do greatly decrease lawyers’ ability and willingness to zealously represent parties in political cases.
The general fear throughout Haiti and its legal community makes it unreasonable for Petitioners to pursue any remedy within the domestic legal system. Thus, Petitioners respectfully submit that the fear in the Haitian legal community fulfills the criteria for exception to the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies, as provided under Article 46(2)(a).
C. Exhausting domestic remedies is impossible in the United States.
(1) Due process of law is not available for Petitioners in the United States.
The Inter-American Commission has admitted claims against the United States in cases comparable to that of the Petitioners in the present case, where it has been impossible for petitioners located outside the United States to exhaust claims in the United States. No U.S. law would provide Haitian Petitioners with standing to sue the U.S. government for helping to overthrow the elected government in Haiti. Neither the Federal Tort Claims Act, nor the U.S. Foreign Claims Act, nor the Military Claims Act, nor the Alien Tort Claims Act could assist Petitioners in pursuing remedies in the United States.
The Federal Tort Claims Act is inapplicable to Petitioners, because it does not waive sovereign immunity for “[a]ny claim arising in a foreign country.” The U.S. Foreign Claims Act only provides compensation to inhabitants of foreign countries for personal injury, death, or property damage caused by, or incident to, noncombat activities of military personnel overseas. The Military Claims Act compensates for injury, death, or property damage caused by either military personnel or civilian employees within the scope of their employment or caused by noncombatant activities of a peculiarly military nature. Both the U.S. Foreign Claims Act and the Military Claims Act preclude claims arising out of military action. Neither of these Acts nor the Federal Tort Claims Act gives Petitioners standing to pursue remedies within the United States.
Pursuing a remedy under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) also would be futile for Petitioners. It would be impossible for a U.S. district court to assert jurisdiction over the IGH for ATCA claims. Moreover, none of the ATCA cases alleging violations by the U.S. government has survived a preliminary motion for dismissal. Further, the ATCA fails to provide adequate and effective remedies. It has provided only monetary damages, which the Petitioners in this case do not seek. Petitioners seek the restoration of their right to participate in government and redress for violations committed by the IGH and the United States, neither of which can be pursued in the United States.
(2) In similar circumstances, the Commission has waived the domestic exhaustion requirement.
In at least three comparable cases, the Inter-American Commission has declared petitions admissible, finding that pursuing domestic claims in the United States was impossible. In Coard v. United States, the Commission declared admissible a petition that challenged arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention by the U.S. armed forces in Grenada. The Commission declared that:
the American Declaration is a source of international obligation for member states not party to the American Convention, and [the Commission’s] Statute authorizes it to examine complaints under the Declaration and requires it to pay special attention to certain core rights. As the Petitioners had submitted claims alleging the violation of rights protected under the Declaration, the Commission declared that those that met the applicable requirements would be examined.
Haitian Petitioners likewise seek redress for violations of rights protected under the Declaration for which no domestic remedies are available, and request the Commission to review this case.
In Report 31/93, Case 10.573 (Oct. 14, 1993), the Commission declared admissible a petition that challenged the U.S. military overthrow of General Manuel Noriega. The Commission determined that “[g]iven the lack of adequate and effective remedies capable of repairing the violations alleged, the requirement that domestic remedies [in the United States] be exhausted is inapplicable.” The Commission held that the Foreign Claims Act “does not provide the Petitioners with the possibility of redress appropriate to the remedies they request.” Petitioners submit that a similar exception to the domestic exhaustion requirement applies in this case.
Petitioners also draw the Commission’s attention to its admissibility decision in Disabled Peoples’ International et al. against the United States. In that case, petitioners, on behalf of Grenadian residents, sought remedies for the U.S. military aircraft bombing of the Richmond Hill Insane Asylum in Grenada. The Commission declared the petition admissible, finding:
Domestic remedies were not provided by the legislation of Grenada or the United States; . . . the ad hoc nature of the U.S. compensation program, the evident failure of the U.S. Government to contact these incapacitated victims, and the unwillingness of the U.S. Government to compensate these victims subsequent to the expiration of the ad hoc compensation program, lead the Commission to conclude that the domestic remedies could not be invoked and exhausted so as to render the provision of Article 37(2)(a) applicable.
A similar lack of appropriate domestic legal remedies characterizes Petitioners’ situation in this case. Domestic remedies are not provided by legislation in the United States or in Haiti. Accordingly, Petitioners respectfully request that the Commission waive the requirement for exhausting remedies in this case, because meeting such a requirement would be impossible.
D. Exhausting domestic remedies is impossible in the Dominican Republic.
Petitioners submit that it is impossible for them to exhaust domestic remedies in the
Dominican Republic. Petitioners seek a declaration that the IGH, the U.S. government, and the Dominican Republic have violated their obligations to respect and ensure democracy under international law and that the conduct of these governments has violated the rights of Petitioners to participate in the government of Haiti. This remedy cannot be achieved by petitioning the government or the justice system in the Dominican Republic. Even if it were possible, Petitioners do not have counsel in the Dominican Republic to bring a claim there.
Petitioners claim an exception to the domestic exhaustion requirement under Article 46(2)(a) of the American Convention, which allows for an exception when “the domestic legislation of the state concerned does not afford due process of law for the protection of the right or rights that have allegedly been violated.” Petitioners allege that the domestic legislation in the Dominican Republic does not provide the due process of law for protecting the rights at issue. Petitioners respectfully request the Commission to waive the exhaustion requirement, because meeting it would be impossible in this case.
E. This petition is being submitted to the Commission within a reasonable time.
This petition is being submitted to the Commission within a reasonable time, in accordance with the Commission’s rules of procedure. The petition is filed in February 2006, less than two years after the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government. From February 2004 through March 2005, Petitioners relied in good faith on three hopes: first, that the IGH would take steps to redress the violations of their rights; second, that the United States and the Dominican Republic would take appropriate diplomatic and other measures to encourage and support such redress; and, third, that there would be democratic elections held in Haiti. The passage of time has proven these hopes to be hollow. No attempt at redress has been made, although adequate time has been afforded to the named governments. Petitioners now appeal to the Commission.
IV. Human Rights Violations
A. Legal Standards
The IGH has deprived Petitioners of their rights to participate in government, to vote, to access public service, and to equal protection under the law, in violation of the American Convention, which Haiti ratified in 1977. The United States and the Dominican Republic have violated the principles of the OAS and Inter-American Democratic Charters and Petitioners’ rights under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (“American Declaration”) by supporting and participating in the overthrow of the democratically elected Haitian government.
The Commission recognizes that violations of the right to participate in representative government contravene the American Convention, the American Declaration, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The Commission has declared that “only through the effective exercise of representative democracy can human rights be fully guaranteed.” The Commission seeks to protect this right: “There is a conception in the inter-American system of the fundamental importance of representative democracy as a legitimate mechanism for achieving the realization of and respect for human rights; and as a human right itself, whose observance and defense was entrusted to the Commission.” Because Petitioners have been deprived of the ability to meaningfully participate in representative democracy, they plead that the Commission recognize the violations they suffer.
The Commission has addressed deprivations of rights to political participation in past cases. To determine that a violation of the right has occurred, “the Commission has held that its role in evaluating the right to participate in government is to ensure that any differential treatment in providing for this right lacks any objective and reasonable justification.” In at least one case, the Commission has shifted “the burden of proving the legitimate aim” to the defendant state. Petitioners contend that the IGH, the United States, and the Dominican Republic bear the burden of proving a legitimate aim in this case, since Petitioners plead that the Commission find that there is no objective or reasonable justification for depriving them of their right to participate in representative government.
B. The IGH has deprived Petitioners of their rights in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights.
(1) Article 23 Violations: The IGH has violated Petitioners’ rights to participate in government, to vote, and to have access to public service.
Article 23 of the Convention protects Petitioners’ rights to participate in government, to vote, and to have access to public service. The Article provides:
Every citizen shall enjoy the following rights and opportunities:
- to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
- to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot that guarantees the free expression of the will of the voters; and
- to have access, under general conditions of equality, to the public service of his country.
The IGH has violated Petitioners’ rights under Article 23 by ousting a democratically elected government and sustaining conditions that repress legitimate political activity. The IGH rendered meaningless Petitioners’ rights to take part in public affairs, to vote, and to have access to public service. The climate of violence and impunity in Haiti paralyzes Petitioners’ ability to protest the regime, to organize for elections, and to have access to public services. The IGH has undermined completely the protections that Article 23 guarantees to Petitioners.
In situations with less glaring Article 23 violations, the Commission has ruled against defendant states. For example, in Susana Higuchi Miyagawa (against Peru), the Peruvian National Elections Board denied the applicant’s standing as a political candidate. In response, the Commission held that Peru violated the applicant’s right to political participation as guaranteed in Article 23. In that case, a single political candidate was denied the right of political participation. In Haiti, by comparison, a coup ousted an entire democratically elected government, and prevented its members and ordinary citizens from participating in public affairs and from having access to public service. The votes of millions of Haitian citizens were nullified. The IGH continues to tolerate a climate that represses political participation, by illegally imprisoning opposition politicians and firing on pro-democracy demonstrations. The situation in Haiti involves more severe and far-reaching Article 23 violations than those in Susana Higuchi Miyagawa. Petitioners urge the Commission to recognize these violations.
Petitioners also draw the Commission’s attention to its decision in Azócar. There, the Commission held that a Chilean constitutional provision, which allowed a life term for designated senators, violated citizens’ right to political participation as guaranteed by Article 23 of the American Convention. The Commission reasoned that:
representative democracy—one of whose key elements is the popular election of those who hold political power—is the form of organization of the state explicitly adopted by the member states of the Organization of American States. In contrast to the United Nations, the inter-American system has incorporated an express provision in its Charter, Article 3(d), according to which the solidarity of the American states and the high aims of the Charter require a form of political organization based on the effective exercise of representative democracy.
In Azócar, the Commission found Article 23 violations when citizens were prevented from electing a handful of seats in the national legislature. In Haiti, the democratically elected government itself has been ousted and replaced by a transitional government with no legislative body. In the ongoing climate of violence and impunity, which the transitional government tolerates and encourages, Petitioners would risk their physical safety if they were to express their political viewpoints. The situation in Haiti deprives Petitioners of their right to political participation in a more severe manner than that involved in Azócar. Petitioners plead that the Commission acknowledge these deprivations.
(2) Article 24 Violation: The IGH has deprived Petitioners of equal protection of the law.
Article 24 of the Convention protects the right to equal protection of the law: “All persons are equal before the law. Consequently, they are entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection of the law.” The IGH denies Petitioners equal protection of the law by depriving them of the right to participate in government. Specifically, the IGH has deprived President Aristide and Haiti’s other democratically elected and appointed officials of their right to participate without discrimination in the public affairs of Haiti. Moreover, the IGH continues to single out and target Lavalas supporters for violence and other forms of repression.
The IGH’s denial of equal protection to Petitioners is comparable with at least two cases in which the Commission has recognized Article 24 violations. In Susana Higuchi Miyagawa, the Commission found that Peru deprived the applicant of her equal protection right when she was denied standing as a political candidate. In Azócar, the Commission found that a Chilean constitutional provision, which allowed a life term for designated senators, violated citizens’ right to political participation without discrimination. Petitioners plead that their equal protection violations are at least as severe as those in Miyagawa and Azócar.
(3) Article 1 Violation: The IGH has failed to respect and ensure human rights.
The IGH has failed to comply with Article 1 of the Convention, which obligates States Parties to “respect” and “ensure” the full and free exercise of all of the rights and freedoms recognized in the Convention. The Court has recognized that Article 1 “specifies the obligation assumed by the States Parties in relation to each of the rights protected [in the Convention]. Each claim alleging that one of those rights has been infringed necessarily implies that Article 1(1) of the Convention has also been violated.”
The IGH has violated its Article 1(1) obligation with respect to the rights articulated in Articles 23 and 24 of the Convention by failing to “ensure” the full and free exercise of those rights by Petitioners. The IGH has utterly failed “to organize the governmental apparatus and, in general, all the structures through which public power is exercised, so that they are
See, e.g., Press Release, Amnesty International, Haiti: Amnesty International calls on the transitional government to set up an independent commission of enquiry into summary executions attributed to members of the Haitian National Police (Nov. 11, 2004); Democracy Now!, Kangaroo Courts in the New Haiti?: Death Squad Leader Jodel Chamblain Acquitted of Murder Charge (Aug. 19, 2004); Brian Concannon Jr., Boston Haitian Reporter: Justice Dodged, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Sept. 2004, available at http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_boston-hatian-reporter-justice-dodged_september-04.htm; Brian Concannon Jr., Haiti Assassination Trial An Affront to All Those Who Have Worked and Died for Justice, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Aug. 2004, available at http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_alert_august-17.html (“In the early hours of August 17, a sham trial in Port-au-Prince acquitted notorious Haitian rights abusers Jackson Joanis and Jodel Chamblaim of the 1993 murder of businessman Antoine Izmery. Neither the judiciary nor the prosecution made even the minimum effort required by law to pursue this important case. The absence of effort combined with top Haitian officials’ public support for Chamblain and his colleagues compels the conclusion that Haiti’s interim government staged the trial to deflect criticism of its human rights record without alienating its military and paramilitary allies.”).
Brian Concannon Jr., Human Rights Update, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, July 26, 2004, available at http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_ijdh-human-rights_update-july-26-04_outline.html (summarizing the statement issued by ANAMAH on July 1, 2004).
See Press Release, National Lawyers Guild, The National Lawyers Guild Protests Interim Government of Haiti’s Exclusion of Human Rights Lawyer Ira J. Kurzban (Mar. 18, 2004); Joe Mozingo, Citing Aristide Ties, Haiti Bars U.S. attorney from entering country, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Mar. 7, 2005. Indeed, the transitional government in Haiti has been unable or unwilling to provide adequate protections to human rights lawyers within its territory. See Press Release, Amnesty International, Urgent Action for IJDH Lawyer Mario Joseph (Oct. 20, 2004) (describing the death threats received by lawyers Rénan Hédouville and Mario Joseph, both of whom work on behalf of Haitians suffering human rights abuses at the hands of the army while Haiti was under military rule).
See Inter-Am. C.H.R., Coard et al. v. United States, Admissibility Report 14/94, Case 10.951 (Feb. 7, 1994) (granting admissibility for claims of arbitrary arrest and detention by the U.S. armed forces in Grenada); Inter-Am. C.H.R., Disabled Peoples’ International against the United States, Application 9213 (Sept. 22, 1987) (granting admissibility for claims against U.S. military for aircraft bombing of an asylum in Grenada); Inter-Am. C.H.R., Admissibility Report 31/93, Case 10.573 (Oct. 14, 1983) (granting admissibility for claims against the United States for the overthrow of General Noriega).
The Inter-American Court and Commission have held that the American Declaration is a source of international obligations for all the member states of the Organization of American States, including the U.S. government. See Inter-Am. Ct. H.R., Interpretation of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man Within the Framework of Article 64 of the American Convention on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-10/89 (ser. A.) No. 10 ¶ 35-45 (1989); Inter-Am. C.H.R., James Terry Roach and Jay Pinkerton v. United States, Case 9647, Res. 3/87 (1987); Inter-Am. C.H.R., Annual Report 1986-1987, ¶ 46-49; Inter-Am. C.H.R., Rafael Ferrer-Mazorra et al. v. United States, Report N° 51/01, Case 9903 (2001); see also Statute of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, art. 20.
Statehood Solidarity Comm. v. United States, Case 11.204, Inter-Am. C.H.R., Report No. 98/03 ¶ 90 (2003); see also Inter-Am. C.H.R., Azócar Case, ¶¶99, 101; UNHRC, General Comment 25(57), General Comments under Article 40, paragraph 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the Committee at its 1510th mtg., U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/Rev.1/Add.7 (1996), ¶4.