News from Lori's Parents

4 May 2004

In this update:

International Court to hold hearings on Lori's case May 7 - 8

On Thursday morning Rhoda and Mark will be leaving for San Jose, Costa Rica to attend the hearings of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Lori's case. Lori will be represented by her legal team led by the former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark, criminal and international lawyer Thomas H. Nooter, and Peruvian lawyer Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada. The Inter-American Court is the highest legal authority in the western hemisphere and part of the Organization of American States (OAS). As a member state, Perú is bound by the findings of this legal body and the administration of President Toledo has publicly stated it will abide by the Court's rulings. In April 2002, when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS unanimously ruled on Lori's behalf following four years of study and hearings, Perú refused to abide because Commission decisions are not binding. In July 2002, the Commission took the case to the Court and in September 2002 the Court agreed to hear the case. Owing to a backlog of other cases, finally, after 20 months, Lori's case will now be heard in a public forum in San Jose.

On Friday, May 7, Rhoda will be a witness and provide testimony on behalf of Lori. Former Peruvian Justice Minister Fausto Alvarado Dodero will be giving testimony on behalf of the government of Perú. Each of the seven international judges can ask questions of the witnesses, as can the opposing parties. Closing arguments will take place on Saturday, May 8. Lori provided a written affidavit to the Court, answering 120 questions as witness for the Inter-American Commission. Her oral responses were filmed and the videotape was given to the Court.

Final written arguments to the Court must be submitted by June 7. The Court can then issue its decision at any time, although this is typically done during its quarterly meetings in San Jose and most decisions take between six months and a year.

We expect the Inter-American Court to rule as it did in several other cases regarding Perú and as the Inter-American Commission has urged. Perú has wronged Lori through two illegal trials, the first in a military court and the second in a civilian court - both of which failed to meet international standards of fairness and due process as specified by the American Convention on Human Rights. For over a decade, Perú has been told this time and again by the Inter-American Court and by many other human rights organizations and yet it has continued to avoid making the necessary changes that will bring it into compliance with international law.

We are hoping for complete vindication. We seek justice from this highest international legal authority in the western hemisphere and we hope for a quick decision and for Lori's release.

Article on Lori's case appears in "Village Voice"

Today the Village Voice ran article "Last Best Chance" written by Nicole Karsin. To view this article, click on

Peter Yarrow and Terre Roche perform in fundraising event

Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) and Terre Roche (of the Roche Sisters) donated their time and talent to an extraordinary fundraising event in Upper Montclair, New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, April 24. Over 250 people attended the event held at St. James Episcopal Church. We are very grateful to Peter and Terre for their love and support for Lori and for us. They are extraordinary human beings and their compassion will be remembered by us for the rest of our lives.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson