IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Constitutional Court Magistrate Leyla Susana Lemus Arriaga in Guatemala

January 13, 2024

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 2/2024 on January 13, 2024, to grant precautionary measures in favor of Constitutional Court magistrate Leyla Susana Lemus Arriaga in Guatemala, in the belief that she faces a serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to her rights.

The request for these precautionary measures alleged that, on December 11, 2023, a patrol car of the National Civil Police (PNC) that had been charged with keeping the beneficiary safe was set ablaze outside her home. This happened in the early hours, during a period where PNC officers had been removed from her security detail and reassigned to other services. According to the request for these precautionary measures, this incident was linked to Lemus Arriaga's work as a magistrate.

The State said that there was no evidence that the events of December 11, 2023, might have been a deliberate act of retaliation against the beneficiary, but noted that the Public Prosecutor's Office was conducting the relevant investigations. The State further said that the protection measures adopted by the Constitutional Court and the PNC were effective mechanisms to protect Leyla Lemus.

After assessing the information that was provided by both parties, the Commission noted that it was indisputable that the events of December 11, 2023, had happened while there were no PNC officers protecting the beneficiary, because they had been reassigned by the PNC itself to other tasks in spite of the security detail designed by the State. The IACHR also noted that this change in security measures had not been coordinated with the beneficiary and that the State had not assigned other officers to ensure she remained protected, just as it had not reinforced her security following these events.

Therefore, in keeping with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Guatemala to take the following action:

  1. Adopt any measures necessary to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Leyla Susana Lemus Arriaga;
  2. adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the beneficiary can carry out her duties as a justice in safe conditions;
  3. Come to an agreement with the beneficiary and her representatives concerning any measures that need to be taken;
  4. Report on any actions adopted to investigate the events that gave rise to the adoption of these precautionary measures, in order to prevent such events from happening again in the future

The fact that these precautionary measures have been granted and their adoption by the State of Guatemala do not entail a prejudgment on a potential petition that may be filed before the inter-American system to allege violations of rights protected by the 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.


* The press release was updated on March 28, 2024.

No. 013/24

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