By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A PARENTAL custody dispute is now set to be heard in an international court, The Tribune has learned.
David A Rondon, Esq, an international human rights attorney, informed The Tribune on Friday of his client's successful application to have his petition heard on merit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which was filed in 2010.
On June 2, Analia Banfi of the IACHR wrote to Mr Rondon indicating that: "According to this resolution, the IACHR will apply Article 36.3 of its rules to a number of petitions currently pending an admissibility decision.
"Among them are those petitions in which the state has not responded and a follow-up request has been sent. This is the case of P-1090-10. Therefore, in the coming weeks you will receive an official notification indicating that the IACHR has opened a case and deferred its treatment of admissibility until the debate and decision on the merits. This means that the petition will move forward from the admissibility to the merits stage without an admissibility report."
On June 12, 10 days after the petition was fast-tracked for hearing to the merits stage, Mr Rondon addressed a letter to newly-elected Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis indicating that an "efficient, time oriented and smooth friendly settlement brokered by the IACHR" was in the best interest of all parties involved.
"In July 2010, my client, a Bahamian custodial father, in representation of himself and his three minor daughters, filed a human rights petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) against the government of The Bahamas," Mr Rondon said.
"Since the filing of that original petition and subsequent amendments to that petition by my firm, the IACHR has sent numerous communications to the Bahamas government starting in February 2013 requesting a response to our petition and amendments. However, according to the IACHR, no answers have ever been submitted by the Bahamas government to their assortment of communications.
"From my legal analysis, one of the reasons why I believe that the former government of The Bahamas did not respond to the myriad of inquiries made by the IACHR in regard to our case, is because they were allowing the case to get to the merits stages--where the case has now progressed--and then seek an amicable resolution to our case.
"The basis of our international case is that we believe that the Bahamian courts did not take binding international law into account when ruling, on more than one occasion, that my custodial father client could not receive child support from the children's mother. For example, the courts fail to consider the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. My firm has submitted to the IACHR that in international family law cases, judgments are rendered in the best interest of the children. As such, denying these girls maintenance payments was not in their best interest.
"In addition, the contempt of court warning levered against my custodial father client in 2008 by the Bahamian courts, effectively prohibiting him from speaking in relations to matters about his children, for nearly 10 years now, brings into question international laws pertaining to freedom of expression.
"At present, I have communicated to Prime Minister Minnis of the Bahamas, through his permanent secretary at this office, to inquire if his new government has interest in an amicable solution to this case through Article 40 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure. My firm has not yet received a reply. Without an amicable solution, we anticipate an IACHR hearing on the matter within a few months.
"Rondon Legal is very committed, and very hopeful in bring justice to my custodial father client and his three daughters through the IACHR process and international law," Mr Rondon stressed.