Press Release

IACHR Takes Case involving Costa Rica to the Inter-American Court

February 16, 2016

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case 12.798, Gómez Murillo and others, with regard to Costa Rica.

The case has to do with the violations of the rights to humane treatment, personal liberty, private and family life, to raise a family and to equal protection of the law, detriment of Daniel Gerardo Gómez Murillo, Aída Marcela Garita Sánchez, Roberto Pérez Gutiérrez, Silvia María Sosa Ulate, Luis Miguel Cruz Comparaz, Raquel Sanvicente Rojas, Randall Alberto Torres Quirós, Geanina Isela Marín Rankin, Carlos Edgardo López Vega, Albania Elizondo Rodríguez, Miguel Acuña Cartín and Patricia Núñez Marín. These violations took place as a consequence of the general prohibition to practice the in vitro fertilization technique of assisted reproduction. This prohibition has been in place in Costa Rica since the year 2000, resulting from a judgment delivered by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

In application of the principle of procedural economy and taking into consideration that both organs of the inter-American human rights system have already decided on the general problem, the Inter-American Commission establishes the international responsibility of the Costa Rican State by reference to the analysis of the law and articles invoked both in its Merits Report 85/10 regarding case 12,361 - Artavia Murillo et al.,  and in the the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Judgment on Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs on the same case.

In its Merits Report, the Commission recommended the State of Costa Rica to lift the prohibition of in vitro fertilization in the country through the corresponding legal procedures; and to ensure that, once the prohibition is lifted, the regulations adopted for the practice of in vitro fertilization are compatible with the States’ obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights. In particular, that the individuals and/or couples that so need and desire can have access to the techniques of in vitro fertilization so that the treatment effectively serves its intended purpose. Finally, the IACHR recommended the State to make full reparations to the victims in the present case, in the form of material and moral damages, including measures of satisfaction for the harm done.

The Inter-American Commission submitted the case to the Court’s jurisdiction on January 18, 2016, because it found that the State of Costa Rica had failed to comply with the recommendations contained in the Report on the Merits. The Commission submitted the entirety of the facts in that report to the Court.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 013/16