(Sept. 19, 2016) On January 21, 2016, Bolivia passed Law 778 ratifying the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCH). (Law 778 of January 21, 2016, Bolivian Senate website; Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Oct. 25, 1980), Hague Conference on Private International Law website.) In order to complete the membership process, on July 13, 2016, Bolivia deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention; the HCCH will enter into force for Bolivia on October 1, 2016. (Carlos Corz, Bolivia Se Adhiere al Convenio sobre Sustracción Internacional de Menores, LA RAZÓN (July 13, 2016).)
The HCCH guarantees the immediate restitution of a child who was illegally taken or retained by a parent or parents to the minor’s country of origin and the securing of the custody and visitation rights of the parents in any country that is a party to the Convention. (Id.; HCCH art. 1.)
Bolivia made two reservations to the HCCH, regarding the translation of all the request proceedings and the financing of restitution proceedings. The first reservation is to article 24 of the HCCH and requires that all foreign documents on the restitution petitions in English or French must provide a Spanish translation, done by an official translator. (Law 778, art. 2.b.)
The second reservation, which is related to article 26 of the HCCH, states that the Bolivian government does not assume any commitment for payment of expenses derived from the participation of lawyers or legal counsel in the judicial proceedings, unless those expenses may be financed through the country’s judicial assistance or legal advice system. (Law 778, art. 2.c.) Article 26 of the Convention provides that the petitioner will not be required to pay for expenses derived from the restitution proceedings or legal counsel for those proceedings, but will be required to pay for expenses derived from the actual restitution of the child, such as travel expenses.
Bolivia also made a statement asserting that the age limit of the child for which parental authority rights remain in effect stipulated in the HCCH is in conformity with Bolivian domestic law, which sets the parental authority rights as in effect until the child is 18 years old. (Id. art. 2.a.)