Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Protection Measures in Favor of People Detained at the Department of Military Counterintelligence in Venezuela

March 25, 2019

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Resolution 14/2019 (only available in Spanish)

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Washington, D.C. - On March 21, 2019, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 14/2019 granting precautionary protection measures in favor of all people (both civilians and military personnel) who are being deprived of their liberty at the Department of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) in Venezuela, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

In making its decision, the IACHR took into account the fact that the petitioner alleged that there had been torture and ill-treatment by the officers guarding the people being deprived of their freedom, and a number of alleged structural issues such as the lack of ventilation and sunlight, and the alleged shortcomings in care for the detainees, including lack of access to food and water for periods of time, allegedly as a form of retaliation or punishment. The petitioner has also alleged that prisoners are not receiving adequate medical treatment for health conditions they may have. The petition also infers that these substandard conditions could worsen given the current conditions in Venezuela, which include prolonged blackouts.

The IACHR observed that the petitioner’s allegations are consistent with those described in other cases it has analyzed in the past. Consequently, it deems that the requirements for granting precautionary measures in favor of the people being held at the DGCIM have been met. Specifically, these measures are granted in favor of Santiago José Guevara García, Luis Alejandro Mogollón Martínez, Isbert José Marín Chaparro, Luis Alexander Bandres Figueroa, Oswaldo García Palomo, José Romel Acevedo Montañez, Alberto José Salazar Cabañas, Miguel Ambrosio Palacio Salcedo, José Labichela Barrios, Luis Humberto de la Sota Quiroga, and Juan Carlos Caguaripano, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

Consequently, in accordance with article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR deemed that the requirements of gravity, urgency, and risk of irreparable damage had been met and requested that the state of Venezuela:

a) take the necessary measures to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of all people who are being deprived of their freedom at the Department of Military Counterintelligence. In particular, the state must ensure that its agents respect the beneficiaries’ rights in accordance with the standards set out in international human rights law, namely refraining from any form of torture or inhuman, cruel, and degrading treatment. It must also enable access to adequate medical treatment for people who are being deprived of their freedom and whose health conditions require this, in accordance with relevant international standards;

b) ensure that the conditions in which the beneficiaries are being held conform to the relevant international standards;

c) facilitate access to beneficiaries’ legal representatives to enable them to ascertain the circumstances in which the beneficiaries are being held and facilitate family visits in accordance with the relevant standards;

d) investigate the alleged events and circumstances that gave rise to this resolution in order to prevent their repetition. In accordance with Article 25.5 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR shall review whether this precautionary measure should remain in force or shall be lifted at its next session. The IACHR shall take all information provided by the state of Venezuela into account when making this decision.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Declaration and other relevant instruments have been violated.

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. 079/19