On November 8, 1994, Angelo Ruales Paredes (hereinafter “the
petitioner”) lodged a petition with the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or the “IACHR”) against
the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “the State”) denouncing the
violation of the following rights enshrined in the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American
Convention”): the right to humane treatment (Article 5), personal
liberty (Article 7), a fair trial (Article 8), and judicial protection
(Article 25), in violation of the obligations in Article 1(1) to the
detriment of the petitioner.
On June 11, 1999, the parties reached a friendly settlement in this
case. This report presents a brief account of the facts and the text of
the settlement agreement, pursuant to Article 49 of the Convention.
At 8:00 p.m. on July 3, 1993, the petitioner, 21 years of age, was
detained by Agent Palacios near the coliseum in Ibarra, province of
Imababura, where he was caught stealing accessories from the vehicle of
the Provincial Chief of the Crime Investigation Office (OID) of Ibarra,
Lieutenant Colonel Raúl Ruiz. Lieutenant Colonel Ruiz ordered that the
petitioner be investigated, and the latter was brought in to the Ibarra
At the station, the petitioner was tortured during interrogation.
He was forced to remain in a tripod position and to flex, and was
submerged in a pool. He was
also sprayed with gas and pulled by the genitals with his shoelace. Police
health personnel had to suture the resulting wound.
In the days following his detention, the petitioner, writing on
cigarette paper, made known his injury and his lack of communication with
his family. The
petitioner’s family sent a physician to examine him; however, the
physician was not allowed to see him. The situation became public
knowledge, and an investigation of the torture was launched.
The police officers accused of torturing him are Rafael Lahuasi,
Luis Ernesto Cocha, and Fernando Delgado. These officers admitted to the
judge that they subjected the petitioner to acts of physical aggression.
The petitioner requested that the events be investigated and the
perpetrators punished. He also said that even though Article 145 of the
Penal Code of the Police punishes offenders who commit torture with six to
nine years in prison, the accused officers were detained for merely six
months and then returned to duty.
PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION
On November 8, 1994, the Commission received the petition for this
case, which was opened on March 13, 1995. Processing of the case proceeded
in keeping with the Commission’s Regulations.
On January 7, 1999, the Commission invited the parties to engage in
friendly settlement procedure, and on January 30, 1999 the petitioner
accepted that proposal. The Commission Rapporteur at that time, Dr. Carlos Ayala
Corao, traveled to Ecuador to facilitate the procedure. The friendly
settlement agreement was signed on June 11, 1999.
The Friendly Settlement Agreement signed by the parties and the
IACHR Rapporteur reads as follows:
Ecuadorian State, through the Office of the Attorney General, with a view
to promoting and protecting human rights and given the great importance of
the full observance of human rights at this time for the international
image of our country, as the foundation of a just, dignified, democratic,
and representative society, has decided to take a new course in the
evolution of human rights in Ecuador.
Office of the Attorney General has initiated conversations with all
persons who have been victims of human rights violations, aimed at
reaching friendly settlement agreements to provide reparations for the
Ecuadorian State, in strict compliance with the obligations it acquired
upon signing the American Convention on Human Rights and other
international human rights law instruments, is aware that any violation of
an international obligation that has caused damages triggers the duty to
make adequate reparations--monetary reparations and criminal punishment of
the perpetrators being the most just and equitable form. Therefore the
Office of the Attorney General and Mr. Angelo Ruales Paredes, each of
their own right, have reached a friendly settlement, pursuant to the
provisions of Articles 48(1)(f) and 49 of the American Convention on Human
Rights and Article 45 of the Regulations of the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights.
following persons were present at the signing of this Friendly Settlement
Dr. Ramón Jiménez Carbo, Attorney General of the State, as
indicated in his appointment and certificate of office, which are attached
as qualifying documents;
Mr. Angelo Javier Ruales Paredes, citizenship document No. 100205510-9; a
copy of that document is also attached as a qualifying document.
STATE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCEPTANCE
Ecuadorian State acknowledges its international responsibility for having
violated the human rights of Mr. Angelo Javier Ruales Paredes enshrined in
Article 5 (right to humane treatment), Article 7 (right to personal
liberty), Article 8 (a fair trial), Article 25 (judicial protection), and
the general obligation set forth in Article 1(1) of the American
Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments, since the
violations were committed by State agents and could not be disproved by
the State, thus giving rise to State responsibility.
the above, the Ecuadorian State accepts the facts in case No. 11.445
before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and undertakes the
necessary reparatory steps to compensate the victims, or their successors,
for the damages caused by those violations.
view of the foregoing, the Ecuadorian State, through the Attorney General,
as the sole judicial representative of the Ecuadorian State, pursuant to
Article 215 of the Constitution of Ecuador, enacted in Official Register
No. 1 and in force since August 11, 1998, is awarding Mr. Angelo Javier
Ruales Paredes lump-sum compensatory damages of fifteen thousand US
dollars (US$15,000) or the equivalent in local currency, calculated at the
exchange rate in effect at the time the payment is made, to be paid from
the National Budget.
compensation covers the consequential damages, loss of income, and moral
damages suffered by Mr. Angelo Javier Ruales Paredes, as well as any other
claims of Mr. Angelo Javier Ruales Paredes or his family members regarding
the subject of this agreement, under domestic and international law, and
is chargeable to the National Budget. To this end, the Office of the
Attorney General will notify the Ministry of Finance, for it to carry out
this obligation within 90 days of the signing of this document.
OF THE PERSONS RESPONSIBLE
Ecuadorian State pledges to bring civil and criminal proceedings and
pursue administrative sanctions against those persons who are alleged to
have participated in the violation in the performance of State functions
or under the color of public authority.
Office of the Attorney General pledges to encourage the general prosecutor
(Fiscal General del Estado), the
competent judicial organs, and public agencies or private institutions to
contribute legal evidence to determine the liability of those persons. If
admissible, the action will be subject to the constitution and laws of the
RIGHT TO SEEK INDEMNITY
The Ecuadorian State reserves the right to
seek indemnity, pursuant to Article 22 of the Constitution of the Republic
of Ecuador, from those persons found responsible for human rights
violations through a final judgment handed down by the country’s courts
or when administrative liability is found, in keeping with Article 8 of
the American Convention on Human Rights.
TAX EXEMPTION AND DELAY IN COMPLIANCE
payment made by the Ecuadorian State to the other party to this agreement
is not subject to any current or future taxes, except for the 1% tax on
the event that the State is delinquent for over three months from the date
on which the agreement is signed, it must pay interest on the amount owed,
corresponding to the current bank rate of the three largest banks in
Ecuador for the duration of its delinquency.
Ecuadorian State, through the Office of the Attorney General, agrees to
report every three months to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
on compliance with the obligations assumed by the State in this friendly
keeping with its consistent practice and obligations under the American
Convention, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will oversee
compliance with this agreement.
compensatory damages that the Ecuadorian State is awarding to Mr. Angelo
Javier Ruales Paredes are provided for in Articles 22 and 24 of the
Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, for violation of the
Constitution, other national laws, and the norms in the American
Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights
friendly settlement is entered into on the basis of respect for the human
rights enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights and other
international human rights instruments and of the Ecuadorian
Government’s policy of respect for and protection of human rights.
NOTIFICATION AND CONFIRMATION
Angelo Javier Ruales Paredes specifically authorizes the Attorney General
to notify the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of this Friendly
Settlement Agreement, so that the Commission may confirm and ratify it in
parties to this agreement freely and voluntarily express their conformity
with and their acceptance of the content of the preceding clauses and
state for the record that they hereby bring to a close the dispute before
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over the international
responsibility of the State for violating the rights of Mr. Angelo Javier
DETERMINATION OF COMPATIBILITY AND COMPLIANCE
The Commission determined that the settlement agreement transcribed
above is compatible with the provisions of Article 48(1)(f) of the
On June 15, 1999, the Police District Court upheld on appeal the
three-year prison sentence for officers Luis Ernesto Cocha Tulcán and
Rafael Lahuasi Aldas for torture. Officer Fernando Delgado Arias was
acquitted in 1997, when his involvement in the events investigated was
disproved. In the second appeal on November 8, 1999, the Court of Justice
of the National Police upheld all parts of the judgment being appealed and
dismissed the officers from the National Police.
The State complied with one very important obligation–it punished
the perpetrators--however it has yet to fulfill its commitment to
compensate the petitioner.
The Commission reiterates its appreciation to the Ecuadorian State
for its willingness to resolve the case through compensatory measures,
including measures needed to punish the perpetrators of the alleged
violation. The IACHR also
reiterates its appreciation to the petitioner for accepting the terms of
this friendly settlement agreement.
The IACHR will continue to monitor compliance with Ecuador’s
commitment to pay compensatory damages, which it has not done to date.
The IACHR confirms that the friendly settlement mechanism set forth
in the American Convention allows for a non-contentious end to individual
cases and has proved, in cases involving different countries, to be an
important vehicle for settling alleged violations that can be used by both
parties (the petitioner and the State).
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To acknowledge that the State punished those responsible for the
violation but has failed to pay the US$15,000 in compensation.
To urge the State to take the necessary steps to fulfill the
pending commitment regarding payment of the compensation.
To continue to monitor and supervise compliance with the friendly
settlement agreement and, in this context, to remind the State, through
the Office of the Attorney General, of its commitment to report to the
IACHR every three months on compliance with the obligations assumed (by
the State) under this friendly settlement.
To publish this report and include it in the Commission’s Annual
Report to the General Assembly of the OAS.
Done and signed
at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in
the city of Washington, D.C., October 5, 2000. (Signed)
Hélio Bicudo, Chairman; Claudio Grossman, First Vice-Chairman;
Juan Méndez, Second Vice-Chairman; Commissioners:
Marta Altolaguirre, Robert K. Goldman, and Peter Laurie.