Extradición (Parte I) Las actuaciones policiales

Recientemente la atención pública se ha volcado en la discusión provocada a partir de la reafirmación de la vigencia de las órdenes de captura emitidas por el Juez 6 de Instrucción Central de la Audiencia Nacional del Reino de España, respecto de un grupo de militares salvadoreños imputados por el asesinato de seis sacerdote jesuitas y sProcuradorus colaboradoras, perpetrado en noviembre de 1989. La ejecución de tales órdenes de captura daría lugar a que la Corte Suprema de Justicia, en su momento, se pronuncie sobre las eventuales nuevas solicitudes de extradición que dicho Juzgado emitiría, para autorizar o no que ellos enfrentar la justicia española por los delitos de terrorismo y asesinato como crimen de lesa humanidad.

Previo a continuar debo hacer un poco de historia. El 30 de mayo de 2011, el Juzgado de Instrucción Central No 6 de la Audiencia Nacional emitió órdenes internacionales de captura y luego emitió las respectivas solicitudes de extradición. Las órdenes internacionales de captura no se implementaron porque las personas contra las que iban dirigidas se presentaron a la Brigada Especial de Seguridad Militar. Posteriormente a ello el Ministro de la Defensa puso a los militares perseguidos a la orden del Juzgado Décimo Segundo de Paz, y este los puso a la orden de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, la cual, con fecha 24 de agosto de 2011, emitió una resolución en la que declaró que los militares encausados no podían ser capturados. Finalmente el 8 de mayo de 2012, la Corte Suprema de Justicia resolvió que no era procedente conceder la extradición.

Con miras a comprender los alcances de lo que se discute tengo que afirmar que en el actual estado de desarrollo del derecho penal se reconoce que los hechos delictivos que suceden dentro del territorio de un Estado deben ser investigados y juzgados por ese mismo Estado, lo que se conoce como aplicación territorial de la ley penal; pero existen circunstancias teóricas en las que se admite que el Estado puede ejercer una aplicación extraterritorial de la ley penal, siendo ellas el denominado criterio personal activo (el delincuente es nacional del Estado que aplica extraterritorialmente la ley penal), el criterio personal pasivo (la víctima es nacional del Estado que aplica extraterritorialmente la ley penal), el criterio real u objetivo (el hecho delictivo recae en perjuicio de bienes o intereses del Estado que aplicJusticia Universala extraterritorialmente la ley penal, como la moneda, especies fiscales, etc.), y el criterio universal, llamado también jurisdicción universal, que se refiere a delitos que por su naturaleza deben perseguirse en cualquier parte del mundo, porque los hechos afectan intereses o valores que no son propiedad de ningún Estado, sino de la comunidad global en su conjunto, como los crímenes de lesa humanidad, los crímenes de guerra, la tortura, la piratería internacional, y otros que se encuentran in status nascendi como la trata de personas, la mutilación genital femenina o ablación clitórica, el terrorismo, el narcotráfico, o la legitimación de activos de origen ilícito.

La aplicación extraterritorial de la ley penal está indisolublemente ligada a la extradición. Esta es una figura que se origina en el derecho internacional privado y supone la coordinación de jurisdicciones en materia penal entre dos Estados, pues el hecho delictivo debe existir como tal en las legislaciones penales de los Estados concernidos, sin exigirse que el delito sea idéntico ni que se denomine de manera similar. Para que un Estado pueda aplicar extraterritorialmente su ley penal requiere de la anuencia de otro Estado, y de que la persona incriminada sea localizada, capturada, y si es el caso, entregada materialmente al Estado requirente. Por tal razón, generalmente, el Estado requirente primero emite una orden internacional de captura, que por su naturaleza es una medida cautelar, y posteriormente emite la solicitud de extradición. Esto significa que antes del pronunciamiento del Estado requerido hay una actuación estrictamente policial de este.

Para comprender adecuadamente cómo operan las cosas, se debe traer a cuenta que en casi la totalidad de países del mundo opera hoy un punto de enlace de la Policía Internacional (conocida por sus siglas en inglés como INTERPOL), y de la misma manera como sucede al interior de un país, cuando un Juez dicta una orden de detención contra una persona la pone en conocimiento de la fuerza policial para su ejecución, cuando la orden de captura es internacional esta se pone en conocimiento de INTERPOL, que no es otra cosa que el canal oficial de comunicación que enlaza a los cuerpos policiales del mundo, para poner en su conocimiento la orden de captura girada, para que sea ejecutada en el país donde la persona incriminada sea localizada. En la normativa y práctica de INTERPOL tales órdenes se identifican a partir de un código llamado “difusión roja”, y por tal razón, toda “difusión roja” implica localización y captura.

El proceder ideal policial es el siguiente: 1) INTERPOL comunica a la Policía Nacional Civil que el órgano judicial de otro Estado ha emitido una orden internacional de captura en contra de una determinada persona, esta debe cumplirla con la mayor diligencia, sin solicitar permiso o autorización a nadie; 2) Realizada la captura, la oficina de INTERPOL en El Salvador comunica a la Corte Suprema de Justicia sobre la misma, poniendo a la persona detenida a la orden de ella, todo esto porque la Policía Nacional Civil no puede saber si la Corte Suprema de Justicia tiene o no en su poder alguna solicitud de extradición; 3) La Corte Suprema de Justicia, que carece de potestades legales para ordenar la detención de alguien, debe designar a un Juez de Paz para que, mientras se toma una decisión sobre la extradición, dicha autoridad judicial competente ordene la detención provisional y se responsabilice por ella; esa detención provisional está limitada por el trámite de la extradición, es decir, que finaliza cuando la Corte Suprema de Justicia dicta su decisión respectiva, ya sea concediendo o denegando la extradición.

AutoridadesEstoy de acuerdo con quienes reprochan que nuestra Asamblea Legislativa nunca ha legislado sobre la materia, y eso genera una enorme cantidad de vacíos que deben ser colmados por medio de las llamadas facultades implícitas de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, y que con elegancia modernista hoy son referidas con el neologismo «competencias complementarias», expresión que proviene del derecho de integración y que se interpreta juntamente con las llamadas «competencias exclusivas» y las «competencias compartidas», pero ese no es el tema central de este blog.

Uno de los juristas que más he admirado, el venezolano Pedro Nikken, decía en una de sus muy interesantes exposiciones en mi inolvidable Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, que existen acciones que esconden los motivos que las inspiran. Con sus palabras ejemplificaba la destrucción de una catedral como remedio para combatir una plaga de ratas y ratones que la invadía, siendo evidente que este era uno de aquellos casos, pues la destrucción de la catedral era el propósito final, aunque todo se justificaba –burdamente– a partir de la plaga de ratas y ratones.

Pues hace algunos días las autoridades del Ministerio de Justicia y Seguridad Pública, así como de la Policía Nacional Civil, anunciaron el sometimiento de una consulta ante la Corte Suprema de Justicia, debido a que existían “sentencias contradictorias” sobre cómo proceder en materia de difusiones rojas. Olvidaron los asesores que la Corte Suprema de Justicia no es un ente consultivo. Pero es aún más extraño que la Dirección General de la Policía Nacional Civil haya formulado dicha consulta en los primeros días de enero de este año, cuando en octubre de 2015 demostró que tenía una comprensión irrefutable sobre cómo proceder en estos casos, como se puede ver en la decisión del suplicatorio 182-S-2015 del 2 de octubre de ese mismo año. Entonces, ¿para qué presentar la solicitud de opinión? ¿Se trataba de una plaga de ratas y ratones? Espero que no.

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Mientras escribía este blog salí a cenar con unos amigos, y sorprendentemente.  se materializó la captura de algunas de las personas incriminadas. Espero que tales capturas no sean una selección deliberada, una estrategia para lograr un propósito que no se quiere publicitar, o una estratagema. Espero, por tanto, que en la catedral no haya una plaga de ratas y ratones…

Aún queda pendiente la segunda fase del proceso de extradición, la que corresponde a la Corte Suprema de Justicia. Si por la víspera se saca el día, nada debería hacer cambiar el precedente del suplicatorio 182-S-2015. Quizás sí haya un cambio respecto de lo dicho hasta el momento, debido a la oportunidad histórica que se le presenta a la Corte Suprema de Justicia para adoptar una decisión sobre un caso que involucra un crimen contra la humanidad, en el que tiene aplicación la obligación de castigar que pertenece al dominio del ius cogens, y contra la cual no caben ni normas ni principios que no tengan la misma calidad. El escenario se abre porque, en aplicación de la mencionada obligación, sólo quedan dos caminos a seguir:  o entrega o juzga, aut dedere, aut judicare.

El Control de Convencionalidad en México, Centroamérica y Panamá

Sin lugar a dudas uno de los grandes temas que forman parte de la actualidad de los debates sobre el sistema interamericano de derechos humanos es el del control de convencionalidad.

Me complace poner a su disposición, por este medio, el libro conjunto denominado El Control de Convencionalidad en México, Centroamérica y Panamá, que hemos elaborado un grupo de abogados que nos dedicamos tanto desde el punto de vista profesional como académico al sistema interamericano.

El Control de Convencionalidad - Carátula
Para descargar haga click sobre la imagen

Ha sido mi privilegio poder elaborar el capítulo relacionado con El Salvador. Para formularlo limité mi investigación a los pronunciamiento de inconstitucionalidad (control concentrado). De acuerdo con mis conclusiones queda mucho aún por hacer sobre este tema en El Salvador. Quienes me conocen saben que estoy involucrado en esta temática desde el año 1998, cuando tuve el privilegio histórico de redactar la demanda de inconstitucionalidad (21-98) que presenté bajo el liderazgo de la Dra. María Julia Hernández, y con el valiente acompañamiento de madres y familiares de desaparecidos y asesinados en el conflicto armado interno.

Desde entonces la posición de la Sala de lo Constitucional, frente al derecho internacional en general, y frente al derecho internacional de los derechos humanos en particular, ha mejorado progresivamente, pero quedan aún ciertos pasos por avanzar, que en caso de suceder permitirían a El Salvador un avance democrático muy valioso, poniéndose en la primera línea del discurso jurídico latinoamericano, como ya han realizado otros países en la región.

Invito a descargar, leer y distribuir esta publicación, y poder leer igualmente el aporte de mis colegas de México, Centroamérica y Panamá, por sus valiosos aportes en la discusión temática.

International human rights law: different paradigms require different attitudes

Palais Wilson
Palais Wilson, where UN Human Rights Committee usually holds its regular sessions (Geneva, Switzerland).

As an academic and practicing lawyer on international human rights law, I recently read an entry on www.ejiltalk.org, the blog of the European Journal of International Law, subscribed by Dr. Joanna Harrington, a professor at the University of Alberta. This entry was published on August 5, 2015, just some days after the end of the last session of the Human Rights Committee. This session was remarkable. Perhaps I should say this session drew intensively the attention of some media. Why? Canada and the Committee clashed on the scope and interpretation of some legal provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (hereinafter ICCPR) in the context of certain extracting activities carried out abroad by some Canadian corporations.

As long as I read each paragraph I was increasingly realizing her unconformity with the Committee, its interpretations and its chairperson… and with the national and international NGOs and national human rights institutions that commonly take part of its working methods, and somehow with the UN treaties machinery as well.

I do agree with Dr. Harrington when she expresses that Human Rights Committee boldness has been expanding over the time. In fact, all international human rights systems have faced radical changes since the Berlin Wall was brought down. The Vienna Conference (1993) and the evolutive transformation of the former Center for Human Rights into the current High Commissioner for Human Rights, the increasing seriousness given by states to human rights issues in their international dialogues, the instauration of the international criminal special tribunals, and then the implementation of the International Criminal Court, the elimination of the UN Human Rights Commission and the manipulation it did on many human rights themes due to its highly political contamination, and the emergence of the Human Rights Council, are some benchmarks in the route to take human rights out from the international political agenda, and to reconfigure human rights institutions toward their missional role, i.e., to protect the victims of human rights violations, through the objective methodology granted by juridical debates, arguments and interpretations, instead of the subjective, interested and convinience-based decisions adopted by a political method.

If a name is required to describe such evolution I propose “juridification” of human rights. One of the consequences of such juridification at international level implies the recognition of the special features of international human rights treaties. In a few words international human rights treaties are not traditional treaties where contracting States exchange reciprocal obligations under the frame of a synallagmatic relationship. The traditional kind of treaties is the most common in public international law, and represents its classic feature: ordre private. But an increasing ordre public also composes current public international law.

These traditional treaties gave birth to an ancient understanding of international law. In the entry I read, Dr. Harrington invokes a 1923 advisory opinion adopted by the International Permanent Court of Justice, in the Question of Jaworzina, a case regarding a dispute on the delimitation of the frontier between Polish and Czechoslovakia; in particular she recalled the traditional principle formulated as ejus est interpretare legem cujus condere, meaning that the authentic interpretation of a treaty is the one made by all its parties. I immediately wondered. Am I reading an entry on juridical archeology? Is international law evolution the product of my flexible imagination solely? My surprise was even bigger when I read some of her expressions against one of the assertions made by the Committee chairperson during the dialogue with the Canadian delegation held on July 7, 2015. He said: “The final arbiter for interpreting the Covenant is the Committee, not individual states”. And I do agree with him.

Well, now is clear. Dr. Harrington considers that in modern international law, and particularly on international human rights law, the subjective interpretation of the States must prevails instead of the objective interpretation of the body created to supervise whether or not States comply with their commitments. Probably she has not considered the main differences between public international law and international human rights law; while the first one has developed concepts and theories based on traditional interstates relations, intra-states relations have modeled the latter. Indefectible there will always be a tension between these two perspectives, however an academic-based attitude should be geared to discover, reflex, and explain them, instead of ignore them.

When I refer to interstates relations I always highlight that states are set on an equal foot. Their relations are relations among equals. Nevertheless, an intra-state relation is a relation between states –as international community– toward protection of human beings or other global relevant values. In these relations states are obliged by themselves to protect and provide guarantees to human beings rights under their jurisdiction, on a non-discrimination basis, and those human beings do not assume any undertaking or commitment in exchange. In other words, there is not a synallagmatic relationship. The intra-state relations are not based on the ordre private, but on the ordre public. What a difference!

The European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the UN Committee on Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice have described this feature of international human rights law in many of their judgments. This feature is also easy to understand when international treaties of human rights are contrasted with traditional treaties. If the contrast is made under the perspective of the reservation to treaties, such understanding is easy. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties rules on reservations on treaties under the perspective of traditional treaties, and it mainly prescribes that states might formulate reservations only if such reservations are not prohibited (articles 19.a and 19.b) or are not incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty (article 19.c). If a state formulates a reservation, the other states parties to the treaty are able to determine from their own particular approach, whether or not such reservation is compatible with the object and purpose of the treaty (VCLT, Article 20). Generally speaking, if a state formulates an objection to the reservations made by other state, it may oppose to the entry into force of the treaty between itself and the reserving state, but if it does not oppose the treaty will entry into force but the provisions reserved will not apply in their mutual relations. Result: traditional treaties are treaties à la carte.

UN Human Rights
United Nations, the largest international system for the protection of human rights

The ICCPR is not a traditional treaty. This does not mean that states are not allowed to formulate reservations to it. They may formulate reservations, but the determination about their compatibility with the object and purpose of the treaty is not an attribution of the other states. The obligations instituted by the ICCPR are not interstate obligations, so it would be unreasonable to provide them with the opportunity to effectively object to those reservations. In practice, states formulate reservations and other states object to such reservations, but that is only in a declarative sense aimed to convince the reserving state to retire it. An example is useful. When Pakistan ratified the ICCPR formulated a reservation to article 40, in the sense of not recognize the competence of the UN Human Rights Committee to consider and conclude on periodic reports submitted by states parties. Many states objected that reservation considering that was incompatible with the object and purpose of the ICCPR. One of those objecting states was Uruguay. If this situation is understood under the terms of a interstate relation, article 40 ICCPR would not apply between Pakistan and Uruguay. Does it mean that Uruguay, who has not reserved on such article 40, is now authorized to not submit those periodical reports to UN Human Rights Committee? Absolutely no. This is uncontestable evidence that traditional logic does not operate on the field of international human rights law.

Bearing in mind the ICCPR, who is authorized to decide if a reservation is or not compatible with its object and purpose? On traditional treaties –again, those based on ordre private– that decision is left to the states, but this cannot be the right answer to ICCPR; particularly its underlying ordre public demands other rationale. In this treaty, the Committee is the only one able to make such determination.

Treaties based on ordre private rest upon on a subjective paradigm. This is clear on reservations, as expressed previously. But on interpretation this paradigm also displays its particularities. The first step on interpretation is good faith as attitude and accordance with the ordinary meaning of the words used in the provision, in the context of the treaty and in the light of its object and purpose (VCLT, Article 31.1). But the context implies the preamble, annexes, and any other agreement made between the parties; in addition to the context it also has to be considered any interpretative agreement made by the parties, the practice of the parties, and any other rule of international law applicable to the parties. In sum, the interpretation of these treaties depends directly of the parties, their intentions and interests.

Quite different is the interpretation of the human rights treaties. Firstly, these treaties have their own rules on interpretation. Secondly, its interpretation follows an objective paradigm, and consequently the intention of the parties is pretty irrelevant. Thirdly, such interpretation is evolutive and guided by the effet utile principle, aiming the effective protection of human beings. Then in this kind of treaties, it is unreasonable to consider that states are able to pronounce the ultimate authoritative interpretation. Any international effort to give protection to human rights will indefectible fail, if states parties say the last word on interpretation of human rights treaties. It would be as setting the fox to guard the henhouse. In these treaties, the organs created by them have the role to verify whether or not states comply adequately with their commitments to protect and ensure human rights to all human beings under their jurisdiction, and so, these organs are vested with the authority and legitimacy to pronounce the final word on the interpretation of such treaties.

Is possible any other interpretative paradigm to ICCPR? In my mind a state vested with the authority to provide the authoritative interpretation of a norm that imposes on that state an obligation does not fit. I do not want to imagine how a tolerant state on female circumcision, will interpret the provisions of the ICCPR that prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Surely someone will say that an assembly of states parties would have the legitimacy to issue any authoritative interpretation, however I have never heard about meetings of states parties where they had analyzed, discussed, and adopted an authoritative interpretation on ICCPR, and this treaty will have soon 40 years of having entered into force, and during that time none of the states has demonstrated the interest to do it. I cannot see the urgency or necessity to do it now, when evolution on understanding public international law advances by a different way.

As in many other fields on legal issues, suddenly one or other interpretation will not deserve claps. In many of these situations, when a state whose behavior has been considered somehow in not conformity with the treaty, with high probability this state will hardly give a clap on such interpretation. It is always helpful and advisable to call a spade a spade. On November 2014, the UN Committee on Human Rights requested Canada to provide information on measures taken or envisaged to monitor the human rights conduct of Canadian extracting companies operating abroad. In particular, the Committee requested detailed information on the available legal venues in Canada where victims of human rights abuses arising from overseas operations of such Canadian companies could bring their complaints. Canada provided information on the enhanced official strategy on corporate social responsibility and on the jurisdiction of its civil courts to receive complaints lodged against defendant Canadian corporations, and the margin of such courts to proceed or decline on the exercising of jurisdiction. On July 2015 this Committee considered the periodic Canadian report, the complementary information provided by Canada and requested by the Committee in a list of issues, and held a dialogue with a Canadian delegation, as usually happens.

As a result, the Committee adopted its concluding observations on Canada. In the public version of such observations –currently unedited but available at www.ohchr.org– the Committee expresses its concern on the alleged human rights abuses by Canadian extracting corporations operating abroad, and formulates some recommendations to Canada in order to enhance the effectiveness of mechanisms to ensure that those corporations do respect human rights in their operations abroad. Although Canada affirms that any victim of those abuses, since are abroad, are not “generally speaking” within the limits of the Canadian jurisdiction and neither under such jurisdiction, meaning that Canada is not obliged to ensure their rights. However ICCPR prescribes –Article 5.1– that nothing in such covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person, any right to engage in any activity or perform an act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized therein. Consequently even though the first obligation under ICCPR is the protection and guarantee of the rights of all human beings under the jurisdiction of the states, this provision may not be interpreted as a loophole whereby anyone may abuse of the rights of the others just because his/her/its actions take place out of a particular jurisdiction. In modern international law, the obligations to protect and ensure human rights are erga omnes obligations for the protection of humankind.

Restrictive approaches on international human rights law are not admissible. A restrictive approach is one aimed not to consider that this emerging part of public international law has its own rules, doctrines and paradigms. The use of classical rules, doctrines and paradigms to understand how international human rights law functions, can mislead any intellectual effort. The protection of human rights at a global level requires new attitudes and techniques for the analysis of phenomena and reality. At the end of the day, international law, as any other law, is not a purpose per se, but an intellectual tool to achieve other purposes and values, precisely those linked with liberty, solidarity and justice.