N° 121/10




Washington, D.C., December 10, 2010— The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) took three cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in November, having to do with Venezuela, Argentina, and Guatemala.
On November 12, 2010, the IACHR filed an application with the Court in the Case of Raúl José Díaz Peña, regarding Venezuela. The case involves the illegal and arbitrary detention of Díaz Peña and his subjection to a preventive detention scheme that exceeded the limits established in criminal law, based on a presumption that he posed a flight risk. During the time he was in preventive detention, Díaz Peña did not have access to an effective judicial review of his situation, and he was subject to proceedings that had a series of irregularities, which resulted in the criminal process taking some five years and two months from the time of his detention until his conviction. While he was in the State’s custody, he was subjected to detention conditions that had a serious impact on his health, and he did not receive the timely medical care that he needed. The Commission asked the Inter-American Court to find that the presumption of flight risk is incompatible with the application of preventive detention, and to take into consideration the broader problems of the lack of independence and impartiality of some judicial authorities and of the Attorney General’s Office in Venezuela, in order to analyze how such problems were reflected in this case.
On November 29, 2010, the IACHR filed an application with the Court in the Case of Milagros Fornerón and Leonardo Aníbal Fornerón, regarding Argentina. The case involves the order placing Milagros Fornerón in pre-adoption custody without the consent of her father, who has no access to the child, and the fact that the State has neither ordered nor implemented a visitation schedule despite multiple requests made by Leonardo Fornerón over a period of more than ten years. The IACHR believed in particular that the passage of time was especially relevant in determining the legal situation of Milagros and her father, given that on December 23, 2005, the judicial authorities established the full adoption of Milagros by the couple who had been her guardians, based on the relationship that had already developed over the course of time. Consequently, the unjustified delay in the proceedings turned into the grounds for failing to recognize the father’s rights. As a result, the Commission established that Leonardo Fornerón did not have access to necessary judicial protection and guarantees. The Commission submitted the case to the Inter-American Court’s jurisdiction based on the State’s failure to comply with the Commission’s recommendations and the resulting need to obtain justice and to effectively protect the rights to family protection and the child’s best interests, as well as the need for the State to modify its laws with regard to the sale of children and provide full reparations for the human rights violations in this case.
On November 30, 2010, the IACHR filed an application with the Court in the Case of the Río Negro Massacre, involving Guatemala. The case has to do with the destruction of the Mayan community of Río Negro, as well as the persecution and elimination of its members, through a series of massacres committed by the Guatemalan Army and members of the Civilian Self-Defense Patrols in 1980 and 1982. The massacres carried out against the Río Negro community were planned by agents of the State of Guatemala for the purpose of exterminating the community, and constituted genocide. The massacres were committed as part of a “scorched earth” policy led by the Guatemalan State against the Maya people, who were characterized as an “internal enemy,” in a context of discrimination and racism, in violation of the basic human rights of the human person. More than 500 individuals were executed in the massacres, others were disappeared, a number of women were raped, a number of children were subjected to slavery by members of the Civilian Self-Defense Patrols, and the survivors were victims of displacement. The State has not effectively investigated the facts of the massacres committed against the Río Negro community, nor has it examined the multiple violations that took place during and after the massacres. Guatemala has not completely identified the remains of those who were executed, nor has it found the whereabouts of the missing, and the courts of justice have acted without diligence in terms of advancing the criminal proceedings designed to clarify all the events related to the massacres and to punish all those responsible, both perpetrators and masterminds.
The cases were sent to the Inter-American Court because the Commission believed that the States had not complied with the recommendations contained in the respective reports on the merits.
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 matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

Useful links


Admissibility Report, Case Raúl José Díaz Peña, Venezuela

Admissibility Report, Case Milagros Fornerón and Leonardo Aníbal Javier Fornerón, Argentina

Admissibility Report, Case Río Negro Massacre, Guatemala

IACHR Press Office

Website of the IACHR






Read this press release in Spanish / Lea este comunicado de prensa en español


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