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Ortega defies IACHR Court by not releasing 21 political prisoners, court declares

Nicaragua’s Non-Compliance with Inter-American Court Rulings will be discussed at the OAS General Assembly

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) declared the State of Nicaragua in “contempt” for refusing to comply with the provisional measures of that court in favor of 21 political prisoners and warned that it will submit Nicaragua’s decision to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).

In the opinion of the Court, “the position assumed by Nicaragua, according to which there is no willingness to comply with the Court’s order, constitutes an act of obvious contempt for the decisions of this Court, contrary to the international principle that requires the State to abide by its contractual obligations in good faith, as well as a breach of the duty to inform this court,” the ruling reads.

In the court’s rulings of June 24, September 9 and November 4, 2021, the court granted provisional measures and ordered the release of the political prisoners: Juan Sebastián Chamorro, José Adán Aguerri, Félix Maradiaga, Lesther Alemán, Freddy Navas, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, Walter Gómez, Marcos Fletes, Pedro Vásquez, Arturo Cruz, Luis Rivas, Miguel Mora, Hugo Torres, Víctor Hugo Tinoco, José Pallais, Violeta Granera, Tamara Dávila, Cristiana Chamorro, Dora María Téllez, Ana Margarita Vijil and Suyen Barahona. But the State of Nicaragua has ignored them.

The notion of collective guarantee

In its resolution, the Inter-American Court indicates that in accordance with the provisions of Article 65 of the American Convention, which provides for a system of collective guarantee to ensure compliance with the decisions issued by the Inter-American Court, “this Court shall submit to the OAS General Assembly Nicaragua’s contempt for its decisions.”

Similarly, the regional body cites Article 30 of the Statute of the Inter-American Court, which prescribes in the above-mentioned report, “it shall indicate the cases in which a State has not complied with its rulings.”

According to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH), Nicaragua’s non-compliance is an unprecedented act and “means that in the face of the failure of the State of Nicaragua to comply with the resolution of the Inter-American Court, the OAS General Assembly itself will have to intervene and force them to comply.”

“For CENIDH, this Resolution shows the commitment of the agencies of the Inter-American System to protect the human rights of Nicaraguans, victims of the Ortega-Murillo regime,” the organization highlighted.

On November 19, Daniel Ortega’s regime denounced the Charter of the OAS, thus initiating its departure from the organization in a process that can take up to two years.

The beneficiaries of the measures

Among the 21 political prisoners that the Ortega regime refuses to release are presidential hopefuls, union leaders, journalists, and businesspeople, who were captured in a repressive wave in the context of Nicaragua’s electoral process that began in late May and continues.

The Court was informed that the beneficiaries of the provisional measures remain in detention and have been formally charged. The accusation against all of them is based on the alleged commission of the crime of “conspiracy to commit impairment of national integrity,” to the detriment of Nicaraguan society and the State of Nicaragua, established in articles 410 and 412 of the Criminal Code.

The conditions of detention of the beneficiaries are extreme and violate their rights. “All of them have suffered serious physical deterioration, marked by a significant weight loss and by the manifestation of other health problems,” the report details.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times

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