R., A. s/ Internación

C. 938. XLIV
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In order to control the involuntary confinement of the plaintiff because she suffered from Schizophrenia in the mental institution ‘Hospital “Braulio A. Moyano”‘ in the City of Buenos Aires since May 1992, a procedure took place in the National First Instance Civil Court n°9 [Juzgado Nacional de Primera Instancia en lo Civil n°9] in June 1992. After many years of admission and discharge in the same mental institution, in 2001 after a forensic medical evaluation, they determined that the plaintiff should be transferred to another mental institution for the elder called “Hogar del Sol” in the City of Buenos Aires for aging by an undetermined period of time.

In 2003 the Public defender of Minors and the Disabled requested for the case to be transferred from the National First Instance Civil Court n°9 of the City of Buenos Aires to the jurisdiction of the Province of Buenos Aires because as she was transferred to a mental institution that was not a considered a Health Institution as the “Hospital ‘Braulio A. Moyano'”, then her address should change to her residential address in the Province of Buenos Aires. After five years the case reached the jurisdiction of the Province of Buenos Aires [Tribunal Colegiado de Instancia Única del Fuero de Familia n° 3 del Departamento Judicial de La Matanza,] which determined that it was incompetent to decide on future admissions and discharges to the mental institution because the competent judge should be the one that intervened in previous admissions of the plaintiffs. The Court of the Province of Buenos Aires brought the case to the Supreme Court of Justice to determine the competent jurisdiction to solve on future admissions and discharges of the plaintiff in the mental institution.

The Supreme Court of Justice held that in cases where vulnerable people such as mental health disabled should have a fair trial guaranteed based on the international treaties rights that are granted with constitutional hierarchy. The principle of immediate and fair trial are the basis for the protection of their rights so until jurisdiction is solved the Court that was treating the case, even if it declare that it was incompetent it should continue intervening to avoid leaving the plaintiff in a situation of helplessness. Therefore, the Supreme Court found that the competent court was the original National First Instance Civil Court [Juzgado Nacional de Primera Instancia en lo Civil n° 9] that should adopt urgently the corresponding measures to prompt the case safeguarding the psycho-physical and the assets of the plaintiff.  

"[...] Este Tribunal consideró con sustento en normas de tratados de derechos humanos con jerarquía constitucional y en las decisiones de sus órganos de
control que el respeto de la regla del debido proceso debe ser observado con mayor razón en el caso de personas sometidas a tratamientos de internación psiquiátrica coactiva debido al
estado de vulnerabilidad, fragilidad, impotencia y abandono en el que se encuentran frecuentemente estas personas. Asimismo, estos precedentes jerarquizan el principio constitucional de
la tutela judicial efectiva como fundamental y básico para la protección de los derechos de los pacientes con padecimientos mentales. Frente a tales consideraciones, el juez del lugar
donde se encuentra el centro de internación es quien debe adoptar las medidas urgentes necesarias para dar legalidad y controlar las condiciones en que el tratamiento de internación
se desarrolla. Sin perjuicio de ello, mientras se dirime la cuestión de competencia, el tribunal que esté conociendo en el caso aún si resolviere inhibirse , debe seguir interviniendo
en la causa a fin de no dejar a la persona en un estado de desamparo." Paragraph 6

"This Court considered based on human rights treaties with constitutional hierarchy that the right to a fair trial should be analysed more carefully in cases of people under psychiatry treatment that are involuntary confined given their vulnerable, fragile, abandonment state in which these persons are frequently found. These Supreme Court's precedent states the constitutional principle of fair trial as fundamental and basic for the protection of the rights of mentally disordered people. Therefore, judge of the place where the person is involuntary confined should be the one to adopt the urgent measures to control the conditions in which the involuntary confinement treatment is carried out. However, while the issue of competence is being decided, the Court that is dealing which the case even if it decides to declare that it is incompetent, should continue to intervene in the case in order to not to leave the person in a state of abandonment." Paragraph 6

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