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Commissioners: José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez; Dinah Shelton; Rosa María Ortiz; Emilio Álvarez Icaza; Elizabeth Abi-Mershed Petitioners: Coordinadora Nacional de DDHH: Nataly Herrera Rodríguez from COMISEDH, Gloria Cano from APRODEH, and David Velasco from FEDEPAZ. State: Peru In the late 1990s, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR, Commission) presented cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR, Court) regarding issues of due process for persons tried by “faceless” judges. The cases that were brought before the Court had no relation to whether the individuals tried by these judges were affiliated with terrorist organizations. On Thursday, November 1, 2012 the Commission held a thematic hearing on the Peruvian judicial system’s compliance with international standards and precedence set forth by the Court. The petitioners were represented by Nataly Herrera Rodríguez from the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH), an umbrella organization that encompasses roughly 79 Peruvian human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs); Gloria Cano from the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH); and David Velasco from the Fundación Ecuménica para el Desarrollo y la Paz (FEDEPAZ). The Petitioners argued that the State has not been compliant in remedying its due process infractions. They stated that the government has continued to place obstacles before access to justice and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations. They cited as their main example the burden of proof that victims of forced disappearance, sexual violence, or torture face. According to the petitioners, the State requires victims of these crimes to provide direct evidence before a judicial entity, without considering the impossible challenge that victims face in producing such evidence. Additionally, the petitioners claimed that the State frequently treats cases involving crimes against humanity as mere criminal infractions. The petitioners made three requests: 1) that the State function solely as it is required to under Article 1(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights; 2) that the State adhere to human rights norms in its administration of justice; and 3) that the State judiciary operate using precedents set by the Inter-American System. The State negated its failure to comply with the Court’s precedents. The representatives stipulated that currently in Peru, the public and private sector of the judicial system is being trained in compliance with Inter-American standards and discrepancies are not the norm. The State declared that it has largely complied with the standards, and claimed that the Constitutional Court is a prime example. Peru’s Constitutional Court has declared null and void several cases where human rights violations have not been duly sentenced in lower instances. However, the State stressed that the Commission cannot infringe on the discretion of judges and falter into a situation of “Fourth Instance,” which prohibits the revision of sentences emitted by domestic tribunals that act within their capacity and exercise of judicial guarantees by the Commission, unless it is possible that there has been a violation of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. Following each party’s testimony, Commission President Orozco Henríquez asked both parties the following: Are there any procedures to combat these Constitutional sentences while safeguarding the value of [judicial] independence? Furthermore, what is the legal value that is given to international human rights law and can it be invoked if no legal value exists? The Petitioners replied that in Peru, they can appeal to the Supreme Court, but that there is no recourse after that. Regarding international treaties and case law, there is a reluctance to use precedence of the Inter-American System and due value is attributed to statements of military and police officers and outweigh the lay-person’s statements. The State replied that the procedure to combat the Constitutional Court’s sentences is a process known as amparo. However, the State recognized that the amparo process is rarely utilized and is reserved for extraordinary situations but proclaims that it has enabled human rights treaties to have Constitutional ranks because of its rare use. In closing, the Commission invited both parties to submit further information in writing, noting that by no means should the case enter into a situation of Fourth Instance, which would be a cause for inadmissibility. The Commission promised to continue to monitor the situation.