Judicial protection of of pensioners’ rights in Peru

Country: Peru
Body: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Case: "Five Pensioners" v. Peru
Case number: 12.034
Year of judgement: 2005
PDF of decision

The complaint was filed at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) by a group of retired public servants against the State of Peru  alleging violation of the right to property and the right to judicial protection relating to non-compliance with court decisions. Concerning the reduction of retiree pensions to one fifth or one sixth of the nominal value, the petitioners further alleged a failure by the State to ensure progressive realization of the right to social security. When the Government did not to reinstate their original entitlement amount, domestic courts pronounced judgments in favour of the petitioners. However, those legal decisions were not enforced.

The IACHR submitted the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Court found that Peru violated the rights to property and judicial protection, and confirmed that social security is a protected right under the American Convention on Human Rights. The Court did not find a violation of the progressive realization of social rights, as the events were considered to be an isolated incident concerning a specific set of victims, and did not represent a systematic or general occurrence. The Court left the evaluation of any potential financial impacts on the victims to be determined by domestic bodies, however ruled that measures be taken against those responsible for the violation and that compensation for damages be paid to the five pensioners.

The Court interpreted the obligation to progressively realize the right to social security in a restrictive manner. Contrary to the considerations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it found that the specific circumstances presented did not constitute a general or widespread trend, and were therefore not indicative of regression.

Social Protection and Human Rights