Vidal Segrua Hurtado v. Ecuador, Case 11.632, Report No. 109/01, OEA/Ser./L/V/II.114 Doc. 5 rev. at 444 (2001).
On May 8, 1993, the corpse of Vidal Segura Hurtado, 23 years of age,
was found in the Las Lomas sector, along the road that runs along the outskirts
of the city of Guayaquil (vía perimetral).
His body showed signs of torture and three gunshot wounds in the forehead.
According to data provided by María Hurtado, at that time her son had
faced persecution and death threats by a member of the National Police.
On November 8, 1994, the Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos
(CEDHU) (hereinafter the petitioner) filed a petition
before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the
Commission or the IACHR) against the Republic of Ecuador
(hereinafter the State) in which it alleged violations of the
following rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter
the Convention or the American Convention): the right
to life (Article 4), the right to a fair trial (Article 8), the right to humane
treatment (Article 5), the right to personal liberty (Article 7), and the
right to judicial protection (Article 25), in violation of the obligations
set forth at Article 1(1), to the detriment of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado.
It is suspected that the death of Vidal Segura Hurtado was related
to Operation Whip (Operación Látigo), a police
operation begun in 1992-1993 by the Government and carried out by the Deputy
Secretary of the Police, Gen. Guido Núñez, who came to occupy the post of
General Commander of the Police; the purpose was to fight crime.
The day of the events in question, there was extensive press coverage
reporting that 34 criminals had appeared dead along the same road (known as
the vía perimetral).
On August 5, 1996, the Government of Ecuador answered the facts alleged
by the petitioner. In that communication, it only attached documents recording
the police work done, in which it is indicated that on April 4, 1993, at approximately
11 a.m., police agents Luis Miguel Cárdenas Carpio and Ricardo Enríquez Guzmán,
on duty at checkpoint Nº 57 located at the intersection of Leonidas Plaza
and Rosendo Avilés streets, became aware of the presence of Vidal Segura Hurtado,
who, inebriated, was pressuring the owner of a store facing the checkpoint
to hand over a bottle of liquor. The
police recognized him because an accusation had been lodged against Vidal
Segura Hurtado in the juvenile court (Tribunal de Menores) for assault
and robbery; accordingly, they tried to detain him.
Nonetheless, Vidal Segura Hurtado fled, and the police followed him
along Rosendo Avilés street, and saw him enter the home of attorney Anabell
Yagual. The police followed him
and entered the attorneys house, for which she lodged a complaint with
the Fourth District of the Police against the above-named police agents.
According to María Hurtado, the police, once they learned a complaint
had been lodged against them by attorney Yagual, sought to take reprisals
against her son. Regarding these
acts, according to the police report, the police involved were not responsible,
and they reaffirmed that Vidal Segura Hurtado was a criminal with several
cases pending against him.
The parties reached a friendly settlement in this case on August 15,
2001. This report briefly sets
forth the facts and the text of the agreement reached, in keeping with Article
49 of the Convention.
On April 8, 1993, at 2:00 a.m., police agent Ricardo Enríquez and eight
more agents, in civilian dress and heavily armed, broke the door at the home
of Vidal Segura Hurtado and entered, without the constitutionally-required
search warrant. When the police
had searched all the rooms without finding him, police agent Rodríguez exclaimed,
... tell that black man to take care of himself, were going to
turn him around, he saved himself, because if he had been here right now,
hed be a dead man, because we were going to apply to him the rule according
to which you shoot at those who flee [ley
In the face of this illegal persecution by the two above-mentioned
police agents, according to María Hurtado, Vidal Segura Hurtado went to live
at his grandmothers house for a few days.
Yet the persecution continued, since the two police agents sought him
out, as they said that they had been sent subpoenas by attorney Yagual, and
that they were going to take revenge on Vidal Segura Hurtado by killing him.
Later, the police detained a friend of Vidal Segura Hurtado at the
prison known as Penitenciaría del Litoral, to have the friend reveal
his whereabouts, which he did. Thereafter, the police went to remove Vidal Segura Hurtado
from the home where he was hiding, and they detained him, beating him terribly,
leading the people of the neighborhood to tell the police not to beat him,
that they too were their motherss sons, to which the police answered,
as appears in the complaint, this guy is a dead man, we were looking
for him a few days ago, he should have been dead a while ago...; the
police placed Vidal Segura Hurtado in a vehicle and exclaimed, this
is another whos going to the perimetral. Police agent Ricardo Enríquez told someone in the neighborhood
that Vidal Segura Hurtados corpse was at the National Police morgue.
And according to the complaint, the corpse had signs of torture, and
three gunshot wounds to the head.
PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION
The Commission received the complaint in this case on November 8, 1994.
On August 5, 1996, the Government of Ecuador answered the complaint.
On November 25, 1996, CEDHU was sent a copy of the information provided
by the Government of Ecuador. CEDHU
sent its response to the Commission on January 23, 1997, in which it basically
affirmed that as of that date the Government had not given a truthful account
of the facts as to what happened to Vidal Segura Hurtado on April 4, 1993,
and that based on the information provided by the Government it was concluded
that the police had nothing to do with the matter, and that it could be considered
that private persons may have been involved.
Nonetheless, according to CEDHU, the Government had done nothing to
investigate the death of Vidal Segura Hurtado or to find the guilty persons.
On March 5, 1999, the Commission placed itself at the disposal of the
parties to pursue a friendly settlement.
On October 19, 1999, the petitioner agreed to pursue a friendly settlement;
it was signed on August 15, 2001, in the presence of Commissioner Marta Altolaguirre,
member of the IACHR and rapporteur for Ecuador, who had traveled to Quito
to facilitate the agreement. The
parties asked the Commission to ratify this friendly settlement agreement
in its entirety, and to supervise its implementation.
THE FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
The friendly settlement agreement signed by the parties 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
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 damages caused.
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 Mrs.
María Almizar Hurtado Villa, mother, and Mr. Nelson Segura Preciado, father
of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado (deceased), 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 41 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights.
following persons were present at the signing of this friendly settlement
For the first party, Dr. Ramón Jiménez Carbo, Attorney General of the
State, as indicated in his appointment and certificate of office, which are
attached as qualifying documents;
For the second party Mrs. María Almizar Hurtado Villa, with citizen
identification number 090492558-3, mother of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado, deceased,
which is attached hereto as a qualifying document.
STATE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCEPTANCE
Ecuadorian State acknowledges its international responsibility for having
violated the human rights of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado, recognized in Article
4 (right to life), Article 8 (right to a fair trial), Article 5 (right to
humane treatment), Article 7 (right to personal liberty), and Article 25 (right
to judicial protection), in relation to the general obligation contained in
Article 1(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights and other international
instruments, considering that the violations were committed by State agents,
which could not be disproved by the State, giving rise to State responsibility.
the above, the Ecuadorian State accepts the facts in case Nº 11.632 before
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and undertakes the necessary
reparative 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 Mrs. María Almizar Hurtado Villa,
with citizen identification number 090492558-3, mother of Mr. Vidal Segura
Hurtado (deceased), a one-time compensatory payment in the amount of thirty
thousand US dollars (US$ 30,000), to be paid from the National Budget.
compensation covers the consequential damages, loss of income, and moral damages
suffered by Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado, as well as any other claims that Mrs.
María Almizar Hurtado Villa and Mr. Nelson Segura Preciado, the parents of
Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado (deceased), or their family members, may have 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 Economy and Finance, for it to carry out
PUNISHMENT 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 State Attorney General,
the competent judicial organs, and public agencies or private institutions
to contribute legal evidence to determine the liability of those persons.
If admissible, the prosecution will be subject to the constitution and laws
of the Ecuadorian State.
RIGHT TO SEEK INDEMNITY
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 and firm judgment
handed down by the countrys 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.
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 settlement agreement.
keeping with its consistent practice and obligations under the American Convention,
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will oversee compliance with
compensatory damages that the Ecuadorian State is awarding to Mr. Vidal Segura
Hurtado 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 standards in the American Convention on Human Rights and other international
human rights instruments.
friendly settlement is entered into based on respect for the human rights
enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights and other international
human rights instruments and on the policy of the Government of Ecuador to
respect and protect human rights.
NOTIFICATION AND CONFIRMATION
María Almizar Hurtado Villa 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 its entirety.
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 end the dispute before the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights on the international responsibility of the State
for violating the rights of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado.
DETERMINATION OF COMPATIBILITY AND COMPLIANCE
Commission determined that the foregoing friendly settlement agreement is
compatible with the provisions of Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention.
Commission values the signing of a friendly settlement agreement in the terms
of the American Convention, on which the State and petitioner reached agreement.
IACHR will continue to monitor compliance with the commitment assumed by Ecuador
regarding the proceedings to be brought against the persons implicated in
the events alleged.
IACHR ratifies that the option of friendly settlement provided for in the
American Convention makes it possible to terminate individual cases in a non-contentious
manner, and has proven, in cases regarding several countries, to be an important
procedure for resolving alleged violations that can be used by both parties
(petitioner and State).
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To certify compliance by the State with the payment of US$ 30,000 to
the petitioner in this case as compensation.
To remind the State that it must fully implement the friendly settlement
agreement, bringing judicial proceedings against the persons implicated in
the violations alleged.
To continue to monitor and supervise compliance with each and every
one of the points of 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 make this report public and include it in its Annual Report to the
OAS General Assembly.
Done and signed at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the city of Washington, D.C., October 11, 2001. (Signed): Claudio Grossman, President; Juan E. Méndez, First Vice-President; Marta Altolaguirre, Second Vice-President; Commissioners Hélio Bicudo, Robert K. Goldman, and Peter Laurie.
Commissioner Julio Prado Vallejo, of Ecuadorian nationality, did not participate
in the discussion
of this case, in keeping with Article 17 of the Commissions Rules