IACHR Takes Case involving Peru to the Inter-American Court
June 28, 2013
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. 11.581, Zulema Tarazona Arrieta et al., Perú.
The facts of this case refer to the murder of Zulema Tarazona Arrieta and Norma Teresa Pérez Chávez, and the injuries suffered by Mr. Luis Alberto Bejarano Laura, on August 9, 1994, as a result of the shooting by a member of the Army against a public transportation vehicle where the victims were travelling. These events occurred in the context of an action by members of the Army to intercept the vehicle. After the shooting, the security officials left the scene without rendering assistance to the victims and without informing their superior about what happened. The Commission found that these facts constituted an arbitrary deprivation of life of the two victims who were killed, and a violation of the right to humane treatment to the detriment of the person injured.
Before the merits report was made, the Commission was informed of the existence of a firm conviction by the judicial authorities establishing the pertinent responsibilities and the payment of compensation for the families of Zulema Tarazona Arrieta, Norma Teresa Pérez Chávez, and Luis Alberto Bejarano Laura. Therefore, the Commission stated that the violation was partially repaired.
Notwithstanding, the Peruvian State has not granted reparation to the families of the victims as a consequence of the situation of impunity in which the facts were kept for an unreasonable time due of 14 years, as a consequence of the lack of due diligence in the initial stages of the investigation, the intervention of the military criminal jurisdiction, the effectiveness of Law 26479 (Amnesty Law) and the delay in reopening the investigation after the effects of this law had ceased.
The case was sent to the IACourtHR on June 3, 2013, because the Commission considered that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in the Merits Report on the case. In that report, the Inter-American Commission recommended that the State make appropriate amends for the established human rights violations to the next-of-kin of the victims; strengthen its ability to conduct timely and duly diligent investigations of incidents in which members of the armed forces use lethal force; and take the necessary steps to prevent similar events from occurring in the future, in accordance with the duty of prevention and the obligation of guaranteeing the fundamental rights recognized in the American Convention; in particular, through the implementation of human rights programs in its armed forces training schools.
In spite of the fact that the Peruvian State presented some information on certain measures related to the latter two recommendations, it indicated that compliance with the reparation for the violation of the judicial guarantees and judicial protection was not possible. In this sense, the decision of taking the case to the Court was based on the need of obtaining justice for the victims, including integral reparation for the occured violations.
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.