Articles to the American Convention on Human Rights that were Violated by Perú in Lori Berenson's Case
The role of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is to guarantee that the rights of individuals or groups of people are respected under the American Convention on Human Rights. The Final Arguments on the Merits and Reparations in the Lori Berenson Case that were submitted to the Inter-American Court by Lori's lawyers clearly demonstrate violations to the following articles enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights:
Article 5 - Right to humane treatment.
- 1 -- Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected.
- 2 -- No one shall be submitted to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human being.
- 6 -- Punishment consisting of deprivation of liberty shall have as an essential aim the reform and social readaptation of the prisoners.
Article 7 - Right to personal liberty.
- 2 -- No one shall be deprived of his physical liberty except for the reasons and under the conditions established beforehand by the constitution of the State concerned or by a law established pursuant thereto.
- 3 -- No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment.
- 4 -- Anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him.
- 5-- Any person detained shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable period of time. ...
Article 8 - Right to a fair trial.
- 1 -- Every person has the right to a hearing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal. ...
- 2 -- Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to be presumed innocent so long as his guilt has not been proven according to law.
During the proceedings, every person is entitled, with full equality, to the following minimum guarantees:
- b -- prior notification in detail to the accused of the charges against him;
- c -- adequate time and means for the preparation of his defense;
- d -- the right of the accused to defend himself personally or to be assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing, and to communicate freely and privately with his counsel;
- f -- the right of the defense to examine witnesses present in the court and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses, of experts or other persons who may throw light on the facts;
- g -- the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself or to plead guilty.
- 3 -- A confession of guilt by the accused shall be valid only if it is made without coercion of any kind.
- 4 -- An accused person acquitted by a nonappealable judgment shall not be subjected to a new trial for the same cause.
Article 9 - Freedom from ex post facto laws.
- No one shall be convicted of any act or omission that did not constitute a criminal offense, under the applicable law, at the time it was committed.
Article 11 - Right to privacy.
- 1 -- Everyone has the right to have his honor respected and his dignity recognized.
- 2 -- No one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence, or of unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation.
- 3 -- Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Moreover, Lori's lawyers argued that the government of Perú's failure to protect Lori's rights as shown above caused further violations to the following articles enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights:
Article 1 - Obligation of the State to respect rights.
- The States undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons ... the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.
Article 2 - Domestic legal effects.
- Where the exercise of any of the rights or freedoms referred to in Article 1 is not already ensured by legislative or other provisions, the States undertake to adopt, in accordance with their constitutional processes and the provisions of this Convention, such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to give effect to those rights or freedoms.
In addition, Lori Berenson has always asserted she was imprisoned for her opinions and beliefs, due in part to her national origin, and all this has been used against her by the Fujimori-Montesinos propaganda campaign that twisted her words and defamed her through a corrupted media that influenced and contaminated public opinion. Having been imprisoned with little opportunity to read or hear these comments, Lori Berenson was unable to defend herself against these politically instigated slanderous and defamatory remarks. During her civilian trial she was repeatedly asked to denounce the MRTA and she was repeatedly urged to "confess and repent." Thus, Lori Berenson would also argue that Perú has violated the following articles enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights in her case:
Article 12 - Freedom of conscience and religion.
- 1 -- Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and of religion. This right includes freedom to maintain or to change one's religion or beliefs, and freedom to profess or disseminate one's religion or beliefs, either individually or together with others, in public or in private.
- 2 -- No one shall be subject to restrictions that might impair his freedom to maintain or to change his religion or beliefs.
Article 13 - Freedom of thought and expression.
- 1 -- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing, ... or through any other medium of one's choice.
- 3 -- The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or means, ... to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.
- 5 -- Any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other similar action against any person or group ... on any grounds including those of race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall be considered as offenses punishable by law.
Article 14 - Right of reply.
- 1 -- Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive statements or ideas disseminated to the public in general by a legally regulated medium of communication has the right to reply or to make a correction using the same communications outlet, under such conditions as the law may establish.
Article 16 - Freedom of association.
- 1 -- Everyone has the right to associate freely for ideological, religious, political, economic, labor, social, cultural, sports, or other purposes.