Marcelino Hanríquez et al. v. Argentina
On January 4, 1996, attorneys Octavio Carsen and Myriam Carsen, members of the Social Research and People’s Legal Advisory Services Center [Centro de Investigaciones Sociales y Asesorías Legales Populares] (CISALP), and Abdón Zenón Hanríquez, represented by attorney Rafael Amadeo Gentilli, also a member of CISALP (hereinafter “the petitioners”), filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) against the Argentine Republic (hereinafter “the State” or “Argentina”) wherein they basically assert violation of the right to equal protection of the law (Article 24) protected under the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention”) and the right to equality before the law (Article II) under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (hereinafter “the Declaration”). The alleged victims are Sofía Ester, Abdón Zenón, Ramón Arcángel and Marcelino Hanríquez (hereinafter “the Hanríquez” or “the Hanríquez siblings”).
The petitioners allege that during the last de facto government in Argentina, the Hanríquez were incarcerated by order of a federal judge who was neither independent nor impartial and who charged them with an offense criminalized in a law whose legal qualification made the law itself a violation of the right to freedom of expression. With restoration of democratic government, law 24.043, enacted on December 23, 1991, provided for reparations for persons detained on orders of the executive branch of government during the de facto government. The petitioners exercised the remedy provided for in that law, seeking compensation for the days they were held in custody on orders from the aforementioned federal judge. Government authorities denied them any compensation for the court-ordered incarceration. However, their right to compensation for an eight-day period during which they were in executive custody was recognized. They went to court to appeal the government’s decision and to have Law 24.043 declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it discriminated against them by making no provision for their predicament. The courts that heard the appeal upheld the government authorities’ decision.
When it examined the admissibility of the present case, the Commission concluded that it met the requirements stipulated in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention. After examining the merits of the case, however, the Commission concluded that the facts alleged by the petitioners did not constitute violations of Article 24 of the Convention.