American Convention on Human Rights
Article 8. RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL. 1. Every person has the right to a
hearing, with due guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent,
independent, and impartial tribunal, previously established by law, in the
substantiation of any accusation of a criminal nature made against him or
for the determination of his rights and obligations of a civil, labor,
fiscal, or any other nature.
2. Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to be presumed
innocent so long as his guilt has not been proven according to law. During
the proceedings, every person is entitled, with full equality, to the
following minimum guarantees:
a. The right of the accused to be assisted without charge by a
translator or interpreter, if he does not understand or does not
speak the language of the tribunal or court;
b. Prior notification in detail to the accused of the charges against
c. Adequate time and means for the preparation of his defense;
d. The right of the accused to defend himself personally or to be
assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing. and to communicate
freely and privately with his counsel;
e. The inalienable right to be assisted by counsel provided by the
State, paid or not as the domestic law provides, if the accused does
not defend himself personally or engage his own counsel within the
time period established by law;
f. The right of the defense to examine witnesses present in the court
and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses, of experts or other
persons who may throw light on the facts;
g. The right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself or to
plead guilty; and
h. The right to appeal the judgment to a higher court.
3. A confession of guilt by the accused shall be valid only if it is made
without coercion of any kind.
4. An accused person acquitted by a nonappealable judgment shall not be
subjected to a new trial for the same cause.
5. Criminal proceedings shall be public, except insofar as may be necessary
to protect the interests of justice.
Article 9. FREEDOM FROM “EX POST FACTO”LAWS. No one shall be convicted of
any act or omission that did not constitute a criminal offense, under the
applicable law, at the time it was committed. A heavier penalty shall not
be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offense
was committed. If subsequent to the commission of the offense the law
provides for the imposition of a lighter punishment, the guilty person shall
Article 10. RIGHT TO COMPENSATION. Every person has the right to be
compensated in accordance with the law in the event he has been sentenced
by a final judgment through a miscarriage of justice.
Article 11. RIGHT TO PRIVACY. 1. Everyone has the right to have his honor
respected and his dignity recognized.
2. No one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his
private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence, or of unlawful
attacks on his honor or reputation.
3. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.
Article 12. FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION. 1. Everyone has the right
to freedom of conscience and of religion. This right includes freedom to
maintain or to change one’s religion or beliefs, and freedom to profess or
disseminate one’s religion or beliefs, either individually or together with
others, in public or in private.
2. No one shall be subject to restrictions that might impair his freedom to
maintain or to change his religion or beliefs.
3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion and beliefs may be subject only to the
limitations prescribed by law that are necessary to protect public safety,
order, health, or morals, or the rights or freedoms of others.
4. Parents or guardians, as the case may be, have the right to provide for
the religious and moral Education of their children or wards that is in
accord with their own convictions.
Article 13. FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION. 1. Everyone has the right to
freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom to seek,
receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of
frontiers, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or
through any other medium of one’s choice.
2. The exercise of the right provided for in the foregoing paragraph shall
not be subject to prior censorship but shall be subject to subsequent
imposition of liability, which shall be expressly established by law to the
extent necessary to ensure:
a. Respect for the rights or reputations of others; or
b. The protection of national security, public order, or public health
3. The right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or
means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint,
radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of
information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and
circulation of ideas and opinions.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 2 above, public
entertainments may be subject by law to prior censorship for the sole
purpose of regulating access to them for the moral protection of childhood
5. Any propaganda for war and any Advocacy of national, racial, or religious
hatred that constitute incitements to lawless violence or to any other
similar illegal action against any person or group of persons on any grounds
including those of race, color, religion, language, or national origin shall
be considered as offenses punishable by law.
Article 14. RIGHT OF REPLY. 1. Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive
statements or ideas disseminated to the public in general by a legally
regulated medium of communication has the right to reply or to make a
correction using the same communications outlet, under such conditions as
the law may establish.
2. The correction or reply shall not in any case remit other legal
liabilities that may have been incurred.
3. For the effective protection of honor and reputation, every publisher,
and every newspaper, motion picture, radio, and television company, shall
have a person responsible who is not protected by immunities or special
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s
Mentioned in these Entries
Advocacy, American Convention on Human Rights 2, American Convention on Human Rights 3, American Convention on Human Rights 4, American Convention on Human Rights 5, American Convention on Human Rights 6, American Convention on Human Rights 7, American Convention on Human Rights 8, Charter of the Organization of American States 6, Charter of the Organization of American States 8, Constitutional Text: Argentina 1994, Conventions: Chronological Index 1951-1970, Conventions: Chronological Index 1971-1990, Education, Encyclopedia of Public International Law updates, Human Rights conventions, Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, International Law Encyclopedia, International criminal law: Crimes against Humanity, International law index A, International law index, International law: the refugee, Law Classification, Laws of war Part 3, MPEPIL: Human rights, MPEPIL: Public Law: A, MPEPIL: Regional organizations, institutions and developments, MPEPIL: Specific treaties and instruments, Multilateral treaties: Organization of American States, Protocol of San Salvador 3, Protocol of San Salvador, Public International Law Classification (Max Planck Institute).