ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/132/D/2833/2016

Communication

2833/2016

Submission: 2016.03.30

View Adopted: 2021.07.14

José Luis P. Salazar v. Venezuela

Substantive Issues
  • Fair trial
  • Right to defence
  • Right to legal assistance
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.2
  • Article 14.3 (a)
  • Article 14.3 (b)
  • Article 14.3 (c)
  • Article 14.3 (d)
  • Article 2
  • Article 9
Full Text

Facts

The author is a national of Venezuela. Within a context of various fraud accusations, the author went to the U.S. fearing his assets would be frozen. A case was later brought against him, but for him to be properly represented and for the trial to proceed the law provided that he must have appeared in person. While he was absent, an extradition process was initiated and the Bolivian National Intelligence Service went to the author’s home and searched his property without a warrant. he author maintains that when he left the State party’s territory from an International Airport, he passed through immigration without difficulty, denying he was  evading justice. Further, INTERPOL’s Files unanimously stated that he had been subjected to political persecution by the State party.

The author claims to be a victim of violations of his rights to an effective remedy, liberty and security of person, and right to a fair trial under articles 2, 9 and 14 (1), (2) and (3) (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Covenant. 

Admissibility

The Committee considered that the exhaustion of domestic remedies are unimportant as the issue in question is intimately linked to the substantive issues. The author’s claim of a violation of article 14 (1) and his generic invocation of articles 2, 9 and 14 (2) and (3) (b) and (c) were not sufficiently substantiated and hence were inadmissible. Nonetheless, the author’s claim concerning his rights to be informed of the charges brought against him and to be tried in his presence and be defended under article 14(3) (a) and (d) were found admissible.

Merits

The Committee found that the author was not informed in a clear, precise and detailed manner of the charges against him, that he was not summoned before the decision was taken to issue a warrant for his arrest, and that he was not permitted to appoint counsel. 

The Committee noted that the author was not requesting that he be tried in absentia but that the courts accept the appointment of his counsel so that he could access the case file containing the evidence against him that gave rise to both the arrest warrant and the extradition request addressed to the United States. The Committee concluded that the State party violated the author’s right to a defence under article 14 (3) (d) of the Covenant. In light of this conclusion, the Committee decided not to examine separately the author’s remaining claims under article 14 (3) (a) of the Covenant.

Recommendations

The State is required to make full reparation to the author for the violation of his Covenant rights, including by allowing him to: 

  • appoint counsel and consequently access his case file;
  • put forward, through counsel, the available defences during the preliminary investigation prior to the preliminary hearing. 

The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.

Implementation

Deadline to provide follow-up information: 14.01.2022

 

Author: Laura Cestaro

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