Judgement in the Mapuche trial expected at the end of 2013

Press release
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It is expected that by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014 a trial judgement will be handed down against the Chilean state for racial discrimination and failure to comply with due process as regards the indigenous Mapuche.

On Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 May, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard pleas in the “Norin Catriman et al vs Chile” case for racial discrimination and serious breaches of due process pertaining to the wrongful application of the Antiterrorist Law to ancestral leaders and authorities of the Mapuche communities many of whom have filed territorial claims.
After hearing the testimony and pleas, it will be incumbant upon the Inter-American court to decide, in a ruling expected by the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014, whether the State of Chile violated rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights inter alia the right to equality before the law and to non discrimination, the principle of legality, the right to a defence and the right to be judged by an impartial judge. This would be the first conviction of the State of Chile for discrimination against the indigenous Mapuche.

Jimena Reyes, lawyer representing FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), in her pleadings, underscore the lack of legal strictness pertaining to the sentences handed down, since these were based on prejudice and inferred guilt for terrorism by merely belonging to the Mapuche people, she also submitted various statistics on the implemention of the said law between democracy up to 2005, period during which the reported cases occurred. Everything confirms the discriminatory practice that took place.

Another point discussed during the trial, was the testimonies of anonymous witnesses to provide the main evidence to charge the Mapuche leaders. This procedure however goes against due process standards as it does not allow for cross examination.

The FIDH representatives called upon the Court to provide redress to the victims, to order the Chilean state to reform the Antiterrorist Law and to punish judges and prosecutors who discriminated against victims in this case.

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