Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Venezuela to the Inter-American Court

July 13, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case No. 12.606, Brothers Landaeta Mejías, Venezuela.

The facts of this case refer to the extrajudicial execution of brothers Igmar Alexander Landaeta Mejías and Eduardo José Landaeta Mejías, 18 and 17 years of age respectively, by officers of the Security and Public Order Corps (Cuerpo de Seguridad y Orden Público) of the state of Aragua. After threats and harassment against them, on November 17, 1996, Igmar Alexander Landaeta Mejías was extrajudicially executed. A month-and-a-half later, on December 30, 1996, his brother, the adolescent Eduardo José Landaeta Mejías, was illegally and arbitrarily deprived of his liberty, and the next day, in the context of a supposed transfer, he was extrajudicially executed. The two brothers’ deaths have remained in impunity. In the case of Igmar Alexander Landaeta Mejías, the criminal proceedings against the police authorities culminated in a dismissal, whereas the criminal proceeding in the case of Eduardo José Landaeta Mejías continues, 16 years after his death. The IACHR concluded that the State violated the rights to life and humane treatment of Igmar Alexander and of Eduardo José Landaeta Mejías, as well as the right to personal liberty and special protection for children to the detriment of the latter, and the rights to humane treatment, a fair trial, and judicial protection to the detriment of their family next of kin.

These facts unfolded in a more general context of extrajudicial executions in Venezuela, with special incidence in the State of Aragua. The Commission has closely monitored this situation through different mechanisms. In particular, the Commission has referred to this problematic situation in its 2003 Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela; in the annual reports corresponding to 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008; and in its 2009 Report on Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela.

The case was sent to the IA Court HR on June 10, 2012, because the Commission considered that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in its Report on the Merits. In that report, the Inter-American Commission recommended the State to conduct a complete, impartial, effective, and timely investigation of the human rights violations described in the report, in order to establish and impose punishment for the intellectual and material responsibility for the facts described; to conduct these investigations in such a way as to establish the links between each of the events covered in this report, as well as between those events and the more general context of violence and extrajudicial executions committed by the regional police; to provide appropriate administrative, disciplinary, and criminal measures to address the actions and omissions of the State officials who contributed to justice denied and impunity surrounding the facts in this case; to make adequate reparations for the human rights violations in material and moral terms; and to provide mechanisms to prevent repetition, including training programs directed to the Aragua State Police on international human rights standards and with respect to children and adolescents, among others.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 87/12