IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - On September 9, 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed the case of Arles Edisson Guzmán Medina regarding Ecuador before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The case refers to violations arising from the failure of a sport Club to comply with an internal decision ordering the payment of salaries and compensation to Argentine soccer player Juan José Meza.
On November 19, 1991, Juan José Meza filed a labor lawsuit for untimely dismissal against Club Sport Emelec. Mr. Meza appealed the denial of the claim. On April 24, 1996, the First Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Guayaquil granted the appeal with respect to the payment of the amounts owed, including the payment of the bonus established in the contract, and referred the process to the Fourth Labor Court of Guayas for enforcement. The expert's report that made the liquidation was challenged by both parties, so the court appointed another expert, who excluded the item "bonuses" from the liquidation, even though it was included in the decision of April 24, 1996. After an appeal filed by Mr. Meza, the Superior Court of Justice revoked the previous decision and ordered the expert to liquidate the amounts indicated in the judgment. Furthermore, it noted that the lower judge was obliged to enforce the judgment in this part and not to approve an incomplete liquidation. After several subsequent modifications of the liquidations of the amounts to be paid, the proceeding was closed on May 28, 2007.
In its Merits Report, the Commission identified two main obstacles that, for a prolonged period of time, hindered compliance with the judgment favorable to Mr. Meza: the issuance of decisions that contravened the order to comply with the judgment of April 24, 1996, and to pay the alleged victim all the items contemplated in that judgment, including the bonus; and the granting of unlimited possibilities of appeal in the execution stage.
Regarding the first aspect, the IACHR emphasized that the first settlement was annulled on appeal for not including all the items declared in the original judgment. However, when the Fourth Labor Court issued a new liquidation, it did not include the item "bonuses" or the triple of unpaid remunerations that had been ordered. The Commission also emphasized that the Human Resources Commission sanctioned the Fourth Labor Court for not complying with the previous decisions. On the second aspect, the Commission established that the decision of the Fourth Labor Court to issue a decision contrary to the decision of April 24, 1996, and the constant modification of the settlements of the amounts to be paid to the victim, generated a chain of appeals that lasted for more than seven years in addition to the three that had already elapsed since the judgment in favor of Mr. Meza, culminating in the decision of May 28, 2007, which ordered the process to be closed.
By virtue of these considerations, the IACHR concluded that the Ecuadorian State is responsible for the violation of the rights established in Articles 25(1) and 25(2)(c) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in relation to its Article 1(1), to the detriment of Juan José Meza.
In its Merits Report, the Commission recommended the State:
1. Make full reparations for the violations of rights declared in the Merits Report related to the failure to comply with domestic judgments, the lack of effective judicial protection and the excessive delay in the judicial process, including both material and non-material aspects of the reparations.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.