Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Guatemala to the IA Court HR

August 1, 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. 12.775, Florentín Gudiel Ramos, Makrina Gudiel Álvarez et al., Guatemala.

The facts of this case refer to the failure to prevent the assassination of human rights defender Florentín Gudiel Ramos, which occurred on December 20, 2004. The assassination of Florentín Gudiel Ramos is shrouded in impunity as a result of the irregularities committed at the outset of the investigation and the lack of a diligent investigation into the hypotheses related to the motive behind the assassination. In addition, the investigation was not carried out in a reasonable time, and was compromised by the lack of protection of persons who participated actively in the process. The lack of any protection for the family members led to their displacement, in violation of the right to freedom of movement and residence. The Commission also concluded that the facts constituted a violation of the duty to guarantee political rights, by virtue of the fact that Florentín Gudiel Ramos was, at the time of his death, community major elected by the Community Development Council of the town Cruce de la Esperanza, and that after the killing it became impossible for his daughter, Makrina Gudiel Álvarez, to continue to exercise her post as Secretary of the same Council.

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 make comprehensive reparations for the violations of human rights in its material and moral aspects; to develop and complete a full, thorough and impartial judicial investigation, in a timely way, with the aim of establishing the circumstances surrounding this death and apply the appropriate punishments; to issue the appropriate administrative, disciplinary or criminal measures with regard to the acts or omissions of the state officials who contributed to the denial of justice and impunity surrounding the events of the case; and to adopt measures of a legislative, institutional or judicial character aimed at reducing the exposure to risk facing human rights defenders who are in a vulnerable situation.

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. 96/12