On Tuesday, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Costa Rica in the Amrhein case, raised in 2014 by 17 convicted people, who claimed a violation of their rights.
Among them, there were five people sentenced for the Anglo Costa Rican Bank case: former directors Manfred Amrhein, Rónald Fernández Pinto, Carlos Osborne Escalante, Carlos González Lizano, and Arturo Fallas. All of them sued Costa Rica before the Inter-American Court, claiming that the State had violated procedural guarantees.
If the country was found responsible for the case, they should review about 100 thousand criminal sentences, according to a figure estimated by Judge Doris Arias.
The case Amrhein and others versus Costa Rica grouped the presumed victims of violations of the Costa Rican judicial system for alleged breach of Article 8.2 h of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, regarding the appeal to review subsequent to judicial decisions.
The ruling was announced by the international organization through a press release issued on its website.
In the Costa Rican legislation, there were remedies that allowed obtaining a comprehensive review of the criminal convictions imposed and consequently declared that the State was not responsible for the violation of the right to appeal the conviction,”
said the Court.
The Court determined that
the judicial authorities in charge of examining the appeals had responded to all the factual and legal questions raised by the appellants. In the same sense and regarding other allegations made, the Inter-American Court found that the guarantees of having an impartial judge, the presumption of innocence, a trial within a reasonable period of time, the defense, the right to appeal the legality of the arrest and personal integrity, were present, for which the State is not responsible for the alleged violations.”
Only in one of the 17 cases exposed there was a violation of the right to personal liberty. It was the result of a sentence handed down against Jorge Martínez Meléndez, who was in custody for more than 13 months without any statutory deadlines and without a reasonable pretrial arrest.
In addition, the Inter-American Court partially accepted four of the seven preliminary objections proposed by the State. This led the Court to hear in depth the allegations related to the violations of the Convention of only six of the 17 alleged victims.
Gioconda Ubeda, Ambassador of Costa Rica in Argentina and coordinator of the case, described it as complex and with a transcendental value for the Costa Rican State.
This would have been catastrophic for Costa Rica, and for any other country, not only because of the high cost it would represent for the public treasury to reinitiate those criminal proceedings, but also because of the implications this would entail for victims who claimed justice in criminal proceedings many decades ago,”
said Ubeda, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship (MREC).