Case 430-93

Corte Constitucional de Guatemala, Causa No. 430 – 93, Gaceta de Jurisprudencia No. 31
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Country: Guatemala
Region: Americas
Year: 1993
Court: Constitutional Court (constituted into an extraordinary amparo tribunal)
Health Topics: Health systems and financing
Human Rights: Right to health
Tags: Budget, Health expenditures, Health funding, Health spending

This case was a constitutional writ for the protection of human rights (amparo), which the petitioner sought because the Government had issued a series of agreements (Governmental Agreements 118-93 and 120 – 93) through which the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance was stripped of a part of its budget, in order to pay part of the nation’s external debt. The petitioner argued that the Governmental Agreements violated the national budget and, considering the country faced a serious health care crisis, the State could not prioritize the repayment of external debt over the health of the population, as guaranteed by the Guatemalan Constitution.

The Court determined that the petitioners did not prove that the issuance of the Governmental Agreements ordering reassignment of the Ministry of Health’s Budget constitute a violation of law against any persona in a direct form.  Because the petitioners had not proved that they had suffered a direct and personal harm, they thus had no standing to bring the action.

As there was no legal basis for the action, the Court judged the petitioners to payment of costs and also imposed a fine on the sponsoring attorney.

“therefore, in order to succeed in being granted the amparo, it is necessary, not only that the laws, resolutions, provisions or acts of authorities imply a violation of the rights that the Constitution and the laws guarantee, but that they cause a certain harm that violates or undermines the interests of the claimant and cannot be redressed through other legal means of defense.  The harm, as it is a lesion that can be caused to the claimant’s rights or interests, becomes an essential element for an amparo to apply and, without its concurrence, the protection that it implies cannot be granted.”

“por ello, para lograr su otorgamiento es preciso, no sólo que las leyes, resoluciones, disposiciones o actos de autoridad lleven implícitos una violación de los derechos que la Constitución y las leyes garantizan, sino que con ellos se cause o se amenace causar algún agravio que perjudique o menoscabe los intereses del postulante y no pueda repararse por otro medio legal de defensa. El agravio, por constituir una lesion susceptible de causarse al reclamante en sus derechos o intereses, se convierte en un element esencial para la procedencia del amparo y, sin su concurrencia, no es posible el otorgamiento de la protección que éste conlleva.”

 

“In analyzing the procedural record, this Court determines that the petitioners have not proven that the issuance of the Agreements constitute a violation of law in any personal and direct form via the act of an authority subject to challenge here; and, having failed to prove that there is a threat of said violation, the existence of the harm to the petitioners, that can be redressed via an amparo, has not been demonstrated”

“Al analizar las constancias procesales, esta Corte determina que los postulantes no probaron que con la emisión de los Acuerdos que constituyen el acto reclamado se les haya violado un derecho en forma personal y directa por el acto de autoridad que por este medio se impugna; y, al no haberse probado tampoco que haya amenaza de tal violación, no ha quedado demostrada la existencia del agravio a los postulantes reparable por la vía del amparo…”

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