7. floor (Map)
Kristian Augusts gate 17
Done at: San Jose
Date enacted: 1981-09-01
In force: -
The Government of the Republic of Costa Rica signed the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, Costa Rica) on November 22, 1969 at the Specialized Inter-American Conference on Human Rights,
The Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica ratified the American Convention on Human Rights by means of the Law No. 4534 of February 23, 1970,
Costa Rica deposited its instrument of ratification of the Pact of San José on April 8, 1970 with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States,
The American Convention on Human Rights, which provides for the creation of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, entered into force on July 18, 1978 and, as a consequence, the States Parties to the Convention, during the Seventh Special Session of the General Assembly of the OAS, elected on May 22, 1979 the first seven judges, who were sworn in by the Secretary General of the Organization at the seat of the regional body in Washington, D.C. on June 29, 1979, the Court being later installed in its own seat in a ceremony which took place on September 3, 1979 in the National Theater in San Jose, Costa Rica,
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States, at its Eighth Regular Session, held in June 1978, in adopting Resolution AG/RES. 372 (VIII-0/78) recommended that San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, be the seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,
The representatives of the States Parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, at the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, in a meeting held on November 20, 1978 in accordance with Article 58 of the Convention, chose San Jose, Costa Rica as the seat of the Court,
The Statute of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, adopted by means of Resolution AG/RES.448 (IX-0/79) of the Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly of the OAS, held in La Paz, Bolivia in October 1979, provides in its Article 27.1 that the relations of the Court with the host country shall be governed through a headquarters agreement and also provides in its Article 15.5 that the immunities and privileges of the judges of the Court and its staff may be regulated or supplemented by multilateral or bilateral agreements between the Court, the OAS and its Member States,
The Government of Costa Rica, hereinafter Government, represented by its Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Dr. Bernd Niehaus Quesada, and its Acting Minister of Justice, Lic. Mercedes Valverde Kopper, on the one hand, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, hereinafter Court, represented by its President, Dr. Carlos Roberto Reina Idiáquez, on the other hand,
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is an autonomous judicial body of the inter-American system established by virtue of the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court possesses international juridical personality and enjoys all the rights, attributes and powers due it in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, its Statute and its regulations.
The Court has its seat, which shall be international in nature, in San José, Costa Rica. The Secretariat of the Court shall be established there.
To facilitate and strengthen the development of the activities that it will carry out in the Republic of Costa Rica, the Court may enter into agreements of cooperation with such institutions as law schools, bar associations, courts, academies and educational or research institutions dealing with disciplines related to human rights in order to obtain their cooperation and to strengthen and promote the juridical and institutional principles of the Convention, in general, and of the Court, in particular.
In accordance with its nature as a juridical person, the Court is able to:
enter into contracts,
acquire immovable and movable property in fulfillment of the goals of the institution and to dispose freely of these assets, and
institute legal and administrative proceedings, when it is in its interest, with capacity to waive the jurisdictional immunity which it shall enjoy in Costa Rica as an international body.
The Court shall enjoy the immunities and privileges set forth in the Agreement on Privileges and immunities of the Organization of American States of May 15, 1949 (ratified by Costa Rica by means of Decree-Law No. 753 of October 6, 1949), mutatis mutandis, as well as any other provided for in the present Agreement, taking into account the importance and independence of the Court.
The premises and archives of the Court shall be inviolable, these, its property and assets, wherever located, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action.
The Court, its assets, income and other property shall be exempt from:
all direct taxes, present or future, except when such taxes are charges for public utility service,
customs duties or charges of a like nature, and from any other taxes, contributions or restrictions, present or future, with respect to articles and vehicles which it imports or exports for its official use. It is understood, however, that articles imported under such exemptions shall not be sold in the country, except under conditions agreed to by the Government, which may not be less favorable than those established for resident diplomatic missions,
customs duties, prohibitions and restrictions, present or future, on imports and exports of its publications.
Without being restricted by financial controls, regulations or moratoria of any kind, the Court:
may hold funds in a foreign currency and operate accounts in any currency,
shall be free to transfer its funds within the country or to another country and to convert any currency held by it into any other currency.
In exercising these rights, due regard shall be paid to any recommendations of the Government insofar as it is considered that effect can be given to such recommendations without detriment to the interests of the Court.
The Court, its assets, income and other property shall enjoy immunity from every form of juridical or administrative process and shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of national courts except insofar as it has expressly waived its immunity in a particular case. It is understood that such waiver of immunity shall not have the effect of subjecting such assets and property to any measure of execution.
The Court shall enjoy in the Republic of Costa Rica a total franking privilege and a favorable treatment of its official communications equal to that accorded to diplomatic missions in the matter of priorities, rates and taxes on cables, teletypes, telegrams, radiograms, telephones and other means of communication as well as in press rates for information to be made public by any means of communication.
No censorship shall be applied to the correspondence and other official communications of the Court.
The Court shall have the right to use codes and to send and receive its correspondence by courier or sealed pouches, enjoying for the purpose the same privileges and immunities as the mail, couriers and diplomatic pouches.
In accordance with Article 70 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the judges shall enjoy, from the moment of their election and throughout their terms of office, all of the immunities and privileges, exemptions, including customs exemptions, granted to the heads of diplomatic missions accredited to the Government of Costa Rica, which shall not be less than those granted by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, ratified by the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica by means of Law No. 3394 of September 24, 1964, and by the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Organization of American States of May 15, 1949, ratified by the Republic of Costa Rica by means of Decree-Law No. 753 of October 6, 1949, and other treaties in force in the matter, without conditions of reciprocity.
However, the Government of Costa Rica shall not grant tax or patrimonial exemptions for those judges who are nationals of the country, except with respect to their official acts or in relation to their service with the Court but, in any case, they shall not be subject to measures of administrative or judicial restriction, execution or compulsion, unless their immunity has been waived by the Court.
The application of the immunities and privileges set forth in this Article regarding the private or economic professional activities of the judges shall be in line with provisions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Ad hoc and interim judges shall enjoy the same immunities, privileges and exemptions during their term, with the aforementioned exception referring to nationals of the country.
The judges of the Court shall have the right to hold, from the moment of their election and throughout their term of office, a Costa Rican diplomatic document.
If the country of origin does not issue a diplomatic passport to a judge, the Court shall request the Government of Costa Rica to issue him a Costa Rican diplomatic passport, if it is considered necessary to discharge his functions.
Judges on official visits to countries in which the Republic of Costa Rica has diplomatic missions or consuls shall have the right to be received and aided by those missions and consuls and to receive the courtesies in keeping with their high position.
The spouses, minor children and dependents of the judges shall enjoy the same immunities and privileges as family members of diplomatic agents, with the same conditions and exceptions established in Article 11 of this Agreement.
In order that they may carry out their duties, the Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of the Court and their family members specified in Article 13, shall be granted the same immunities and privileges, exemptions, including customs exemptions that are granted to the judges in Article 11, with the same exceptions set forth in that Article and the exception that they shall not be granted the category of chief of missions.
The technical and administrative staff of the Court shall enjoy the same privileges and immunities, with the same conditions and exceptions, provided for in the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Organization of American States of May 15, 1949, ratified by Costa Rica by means of Decree-Law No. 753 of October 6, 1979, mutatis mutandis as well as in any other treaties in force.
The Court, through its Secretary or Deputy Secretary, shall inform the Government of the names of the staff members entitled to the prerogatives and immunities mentioned in this Chapter.
The Executive Branch and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights shall regulate by common accord this Agreement and shall establish the equivalencies and prerogatives of diplomatic courtesy of the judges, secretaries and staff members of the Court, in accordance with the American Convention on Human Rights, the Statute of the Court and the other instruments cited in this Agreement.
The precedence of the Court and of its judges as well as other ceremonial aspects shall be determined by an exchange of notes between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship and the President of the court, taking into count the standards applicable to other international courts of justice.
The judges and all professional staff members of the Court, be they permanent or temporary, and their relatives who live with them, shall be immune from immigration restrictions and alien registration and shall be aided in entering, residing and leaving the country in fulfillment of their missions. This provision shall also cover those persons, although not professional staff members of the Court, who visit the country at the request of the institution in order to carry out duties related to the fulfillment of official missions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship shall issue to the professional staff members of the court and their relatives who live with them, whose position has been officially communicated to the Ministry and with respect to whom the necessary information has been furnished, an identification document which shall vouch for their condition to the national authorities.
The provisions of the previous articles shall not free the Court from submitting, when so requested, proof showing that the persons requesting the prerogatives have a right to them.
None of these provisions shall be thought to exclude the application of the rules of health and quarantine.
The immunities and privileges are granted to the professional staff members of the Court exclusively in the interest of the institution. Therefore, the President of the Court shall waive the immunity of any professional or other staff member in any case where, in his opinion, the immunity would impede the course of justice and can be waived without prejudice to the interests of the Court.
The immunities and privileges of the judges may only be waived by the Court.
The Court, when so requested by the Government, shall cooperate with the appropriate authorities of the country to facilitate the proper administration of justice, to ensure the observance of police regulations and to prevent the occurrence of any abuse in connection with the immunities and privileges mentioned in this Agreement.
The Court shall take the necessary measures for the appropriate settlement of disputes:
arising out of contracts or other matters of a private law character in which the Court is a party;
involving any professional staff member of the Court in which he enjoys immunity, if immunity has not been waived by the President in accordance with Article 23.
The Government of the Republic of Costa Rica shall recognize for the representatives of the parties, their advisers and attorneys, for the representatives of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and for those persons who are asked to attend as well as for witnesses, experts and other persons whom the Court decides to hear, the following immunities and privileges:
the immediate granting of a visa which will permit them to enter Costa Rican territory and remain there. To this end, the Government shall order the appropriate measures.
the immediate granting of a travel document that will enable them to appear before the Court, when this is necessary because of the lack of the same and the impossibility to obtain one in their country of origin or residence.
immunity from all administrative or judicial proceedings during their stay in the country. However, this immunity may be waived by the Court, when it considers it necessary.
The same immunities and privileges shall be granted to those persons who appear as victims or claimants in the cases.
The Immunities and privileges referred to in this Article shall exist for the aforementioned persons from the moment that the Court has informed the Government of Costa Rica of their summons until the end of the case.
In addition, the aforementioned persons shall not be held responsible with regard to words spoken or written or acts done by them in the course of a case or proceedings before the Court.
The resolutions of the Court and, in the event, of its President, shall have the same force as those handed down by the courts of Costa Rica, once the resolutions have been communicated to the pertinent administrative and judicial authorities of the country.
As a contribution of the host country to the functioning of the Court, the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica shall:
continue to make an annual grant of an amount not less than that allotted to the Court during its first year in operation, and which was included in Law of the General Budget of the Republic of Costa Rica for the year 1980.
make available to the Court an appropriate locale for its operations.
This Agreement shall enter into force when it has been approved by the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica and ratified in accordance with the pertinent constitutional proceedings.
Each of the contracting parties, by mutual agreement, may introduce amendments to this Agreement as well as sign protocols or agreements based on the present Agreement. They shall enter into force in accordance with the constitutional provisions in effect.
This Agreement shall be in effect as long as Costa Rica is a State Party to the American Convention on Human Rights and seat of the Court. However, the immunities and privileges included here in shall continue in force during the period necessary for its transfer.
In faith whereof, the undersigned, duly authorized to do so, sign two original copies of this Agreement in the City of San José, Costa Rica, this tenth day of September one thousand nine hundred and eighty-one.