The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C. last month notified Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights based in San Jose (Costa Rica) will hear an appeal brought by five directors of the now defunct Banco Anglo-Costarricense and a dozen others found guilty of a variety of unconnected charges.
The IACHR, in the three other official languages – Spanish, French, and Portuguese – is known as the CIDH, Comisión Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos, Commission Interaméricaine des Droits de l’Homme, Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The bank was forced into bankruptcy in 1994 by order of then-President Jose Maria Figueres after having been stripped of its resources by the steady pillaging by its top officers, including the five directors.
They were found guilty corruption, rape, drug trafficking, one count of attempted murder and embezzlement of the Fondo de Desarrollo Social y Asignaciones Familiares (Fodesaf).
The 17 accused accuse local courts of having violated the Human Right Convention article 8.2 regarding guarantees of review of sentences for errors.
The case opens the possibility tha the Court set aside the 2001 conviction and even order the state to compensate the convicted or their families, as some has since passed away, such as the case of Edwin Salazar Arroyo.
Salazar was part of the group of convicted to appeal to the Commission, together with Manfred Amrhein Ronald Pinto Fernandez, Carlos Osborne Escalante, Carlos Gonzalez and Arturo Lizano Fallas Zúñiga, all directors of the Banco Anglo in the time of bank’s financial meltdown in September 1994.
“This is a complex case by the different victims in various crimes, with 17 different legal cases. It can take up to two and a half years in court,” said legal director of the Foreign Ministry, Gioconda Ubeda.