Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measure to Attorney General of El Salvador

February 28, 2018

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Bogotá, Colombia — On February 24, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted a precautionary measure for the Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador, Douglas Arquímides Meléndez Ruiz, and his family, in El Salvador.

Having analyzed the allegations of fact and law, and considering the specific context in which the alleged events took place, the Commission concluded, prima facie, that Attorney General Douglas Arquímides Meléndez Ruiz and his family are in a serious and urgent situation, as their rights to life and personal integrity are at risk.

In making this determination, the Commission considered the role that the proposed beneficiary plays as Attorney General in a country that has high levels of violence, reiterating the importance of ensuring that prosecutors can act independently so that they can carry out their anti-corruption efforts and provide access to justice without being subject to acts of violence or reprisals. According to the application for precautionary measures received by the IACHR, in his capacity as Attorney General, Douglas Arquímides Meléndez Ruiz has carried out investigations into high-level former public officials, business leaders, law enforcement, and various criminal groups. Because of that, he has reportedly been a target of threats and harassment, which he attributes to groups and individuals said to have interests opposed to these investigations. In addition, a relative of the beneficiary was recently reported to have been killed, allegedly by “gang members,” and the applicant considers that the killing could have been in reprisal for his work. Even though the applicant reportedly has a protection system in place, the threats against him are said to be continuing, making it necessary to strengthen that protection system permanently and comprehensively, extending it to the members of his household.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, the Commission requested the State of El Salvador to adopt the necessary measures to protect the life and personal integrity of Douglas Arquímides Meléndez Ruiz and his family; adopt the necessary measures so that he can carry out his work as Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador without being subject to acts of intimidation, threats, and harassment; reach agreement with the beneficiary and his representatives on the measures to be adopted; and report on the actions taken to investigate the allegations that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent a recurrence.

The granting of the precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudging of any eventual petition that may come before the inter-American system alleging violations of rights protected in the American Convention on Human Rights and other applicable instruments.

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 and to defend 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. 038/18