Pedro Peredo Valderrama v. Mexico, Case 11.103, Report No. 42/00, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.106 Doc. 3 rev. at 1023 (1999).
PEDRO PEREDO VALDERRAMA
April 13, 2000
On December 23, 1992, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”), received a complaint filed
by the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Center
for Human Rights (hereinafter “the petitioners”), in which the United Mexican
States (hereinafter “the State,” “the Mexican State,” or “Mexico”) is charged
with international responsibility in the death of citizen Pedro Peredo Valderrama,
because of its failure to investigate the facts surrounding the case and the
resulting impunity of the perpetrators. On November 25, 1993, the Center for Justice and International
Law joined the case as a co-petitioner (CEJIL, hereinafter included with the
“petitioners”); Human Rights Watch/Americas joined as a co-petitioner on October
17, 1996 (also included hereinafter with “the petitioners”).
The petitioners allege the violation of several rights enshrined in
the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention”);
namely, the right to life (Article 4); to physical integrity (Article 5);
to judicial guarantees (Article 8); to compensation (Article 10); to equal
protection of the law (Article 24); and to judicial protection (Article 25).
The report states that Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered on December
20, 1986, in the locality of Xochimilco, Federal District of Mexico, after
being attacked by three persons, who beat him until he became unconscious,
and then shot him three times at pointblank range as he lay on the ground. When the incident occurred, Pedro Peredo Valderrama was in
the company of his brothers Erick and Uriel, who reported to the Mexican authorities
that the brothers Israel Roberto, Pedro Horacio, and Sergio Aguilar Díaz were
the persons who actually carried out the murder, a charge that they corroborated
when they clearly identified these persons during the legal proceedings.
The prosecuting authority of the Federal District (hereinafter “the
Office of the Public Prosecutor” or “the PGJDF”) started the investigation
(preliminary) on January 26, 1987, with the judicial inspection of the body,
and submitted its findings to the criminal court judge who issued a warrant
for the arrest of the Aguilar Díaz brothers, based on the available information
that implicated them in the crime. These
orders were not carried out until 1996, when Israel Aguilar Díaz was arrested
in Switzerland pursuant to an extradition request from the Mexican State;
shortly thereafter, Pedro Horacio and Sergio were arrested in Mexico.
During the proceedings before the Commission, this body highlighted
the importance of such actions, which were carried out within the framework
of the friendly settlement procedure.
At the date of approval of this report, Israel Aguilar Díaz is still
in prison--although his conviction is still subject to appeal--while the other
two presumed murderers are free. The
petitioners allege that the impunity enjoyed by the presumed criminals is
due to the political influence exerted by the Aguilar Díaz family.
As a result of its analysis of this report, the Commission concludes
that the case meets the requirements for admissibility set forth in Articles
46 and 47 of the American Convention.
With respect to the merits of the case, the IACHR concludes that the
State violated, to the detriment of the relatives of
Pedro Peredo Valderrama, the right to judicial guarantees and to judicial
protection under Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention, respectively,
regarding the general obligation to respect and guarantee rights, set forth
in Article 1(1) of this international instrument.
However, the IACHR concludes that there are no elements in the record
to establish in this case the responsibility of the Mexican State for violation
of the right to life, to humane treatment, to compensation for the miscarriage
of justice, and to equal protection of the law, as guaranteed by Articles
4, 5, 10, and 24 of the American Convention.
As a result of these violations, the IACHR recommends that the State
conduct a serious, impartial, and exhaustive investigation in order to determine
the criminal responsibility of all those involved in the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama; and in order to determine whether there are other offenses that
prevented a full investigation and sanctioning of those guilty of the act
described above. Also, the Commission recommends that, as appropriate, the
pertinent legal sanctions be imposed on those guilty of the illegal acts established.
Lastly, the Commission recommends that the Mexican State adequately
compensate the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama for the violation of their
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
On January 28, 1993, the Commission requested information from the
State on the pertinent parts of the complaint and assigned the number 11.103
to the case. The response of
the State was received on April 28, 1993, and forwarded to the petitioners,
who provided their comments on July 22, 1993.
On August 19, 1994, the petitioners informed that they had filed a
claim with the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, but “there
was no favorable response” from that institution.
After the exchange of communications between the parties, whereby the
respective positions on admissibility and merits were defined, the Commission
made itself available to the parties on January 13, 1995 in order to begin
the proceedings described in Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention.
The friendly settlement proceedings started when both parties gave
their consent in July 1995, and lasted until March 1999, when the petitioners
confirmed their decision to withdraw from these proceedings.
During the friendly settlement proceedings, there was a constant exchange
of information between the parties, and several meetings were held at the
IACHR headquarters and in Mexico. The
most notable progress that occurred within the framework of these proceedings
was the execution of warrants for the arrest of Israel Roberto, Pedro Horacio,
and Sergio Aguilar Díaz in 1996, which resulted in the completion of the process
of extradition to Mexico of Israel Roberto, who had been detained in Switzerland.
On April 10, 1996, the Commission asked the Mexican State to adopt
precautionary measures to protect the life and physical integrity of the Peredo
Valderrama family, when it was reported that they had received threats. On April 24, 1996, the State informed the IACHR that the PGJDF
took steps to provide surveillance of the family's home.
After the communications received from the parties, the IACHR has not
received any additional information regarding threats made to the Peredo Valderrama
The National Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the CNDH")
sent a note to the IACHR on July 2, 1996, that provides information on the
actions taken to carry out the arrest warrants for the Aguilar Díaz brothers.
On August 15, 1996, the CNDH sent a new communication with updated
On October 18, 1996, the Commission informed the parties that it had
decided to suspend temporarily the processing of the case pending the final
judicial decision in the matter. On
December 16, 1996, the IACHR requested updated information on the proceedings
from the Mexican State, which led to an exchange of observations between the
On October 6, 1997, the parties went to a working meeting at the IACHR
headquarters at which the status of the friendly settlement procedure was
discussed. In its note of December
11, 1997, to the Mexican State, the Commission stated its interest in holding
a meeting in Mexico City in order to make progress in the friendly settlement
proceedings in several cases, including this one.
On January 14, 1998, the State indicated that "it takes the liberty
of proposing that the visit in question be postponed for the time being,"
yet it also noted, on that occasion, that it was interested in making headway
at the Commission's subsequent regular session.
On February 2, 1998, the petitioners asked that the IACHR continue
to take cognizance of this case until the necessary conditions attain for
arriving at a solution based on respect for human rights.
On February 24, 1998, another working meeting was held in Washington,
D.C., with the presence of the parties and the IACHR.
The petitioners reported on April 21, 1998, that Pedro Horacio and
Sergio Aguilar Díaz had been acquitted on April 10 by the judge in the case,
and asked that the State report to the IACHR any steps taken to prevent the
case from remaining in impunity. The Mexican State answered on May 29, 1998,
asking that the IACHR declare that the friendly settlement agreement had been
carried out with the arrest of the Aguilar Díaz brothers.
In their observations of August 18, 1998, the petitioners considered
that the case "is still in a grave state of impunity," and so they
asked the Commission to declare that the State had not carried out the commitments
it took on in the friendly settlement, and to issue a report on the merits.
The State submitted its observations in this regard on September 23,
1998, indicating that "the efforts of the Mexican Government to solve
this case" should not be ignored.
On December 1, 1998, a meeting was held on Mexican cases in which friendly
settlement was being sought, at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Relations
of Mexico. On that occasion,
timelines were mapped out and meetings scheduled for continuing the proceedings
in this case under Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention.
During the hearings held on March 1, 1999, at the headquarters of the
IACHR, the petitioners stated their decision to withdraw from the friendly
settlement proceedings and asked the Commission to issue a statement on the
merits. The petitioners forwarded
their final observations on March 1 and 5, 1999.
The State did the same on April 13, 1999.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The petitioners allege that the State of Mexico is responsible for
violation of the right to life of Mr. Peredo Valderrama and for the impunity
of the aggressors. They charge
that this situation is the result of a lack of will by the police authorities,
who waited for almost ten years to execute the arrest warrants, and of the
violation of the right to due process that resulted in the acquittal of the
brothers Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz.
In response to the State's argument on failure to exhaust domestic
remedies, the petitioners argue the following in their communication, which
was received on July 22, 1993:
assertion that not all domestic remedies (regular) have been exhausted, put
forth by the representatives of the Mexican Government, is unfounded and contrary
to law, if one considers that the legal representative of the victims is the
Agent of the Public Ministry, who is the representative of the interests of
society at large (Representante Social)
and exercises a monopoly over the power to prosecute criminal offenses, as
provided by Article 21 of the Constitution....
is obvious that the Public Ministry, under the PGJDF, as representative of
society, is the one who should protect the interests and rights of victims
and take all steps necessary to be able to press criminal charges against
the murderers, for it is irresponsible and criminal to allow one or several
criminals to go free, and that merely by dint of being the children or relatives
of some government official, they have the right to take the life of whoever
they wish, with no fear that the Public Ministry will take any action against
regards the State's position on reparations:
339 of the Code of Criminal Procedure ... indicates as it should that reparation
for damages is to be claimed with the PROCEDURE, and if not claimed there,
may be claimed in a civil proceeding, but once the procedure has concluded,
when the persons tried have been convicted, i.e. that they were found guilty
of the charges made by the representative of society (Representación
Social), for in the event that they were to press claims for reparation
for damages, before the accused were given the guarantee of a hearing, to
be heard and become the losing party at trial, it would be a violation of
the guarantee, and unlawful, for, while it is true that there are sufficient
grounds for imposing criminal liability on the individuals who go by the names
of PEDRO HORACIO, SERGIO, AND ISRAEL AGUILAR DIAZ, it is also true, according
to Mexican law, that they should be subjected to criminal proceedings, for
it cannot be considered that the Mexican Government is asserting that claims
for reparations for damages were not made pursuant to the legal rules cited
for causes imputable to the interested persons, if the criminal proceedings
have not been initiated. [sic] [upper case in the original]
their communication of May 11, 1994, the petitioners state:
As we have been arguing since our initial written submission, in this case,
since our State is required to afford its citizens judicial protection, offering
effective remedies before judges and courts, and must guarantee that the competent
authorities carry out every decision where it has been considered legal to
do so in the exercise of such remedies.
Such an opportunity, as has been shown, was not duly afforded by the Mexican
State, due, we repeat, to the negligence of the Public Ministry Agent under
the court, of the Judicial Police personnel, and of the judge in the case,
who by their conduct have kept justice from being done, and in particular
have violated the victims' guarantees of juridical security, depriving them
of their right to have justice done in this case.
The position of the petitioners vis-à-vis
the proposed friendly settlement was that it should "necessarily include
the execution of arrest warrants for SERGIO, PEDRO HORACIO, AND ISRAEL ROBERTO,
all of them with the last names AGUILAR DIAZ, so as to prevent the consummation
of an act of grave impunity" (emphasis in the original).
The petitioners stated in the communication of October 4, 1995, that
carrying out these orders was "the first step in the friendly settlement
procedure accepted by the parties."
They added, on November 15, 1995, that "the negligence of the
Judicial Police and of the PGJDF, together with the lack of will of the Mexican
authorities, has resulted in impunity in the homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
almost nine years after the crime occurred."
On finding out through the IACHR that Israel Aguilar Díaz had been
arrested in Switzerland, the petitioners said that it was an "extremely
encouraging" development, but that it "is insufficient," which
is why they requested specific information about the arrest and the extradition
proceeding. In the course of
the hearing held October 6, 1997, the petitioners argued that extradition
is "the first step towards reaching a solution in the case," but
they are of the view that it is not the last.
In the same regard, the petitioners stated as follows in their communication
of February 2, 1998:
to the intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the
arrest warrants, neglected for years, were executed, as it was taken into
account that insofar as the persons responsible for the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama are not punished, the Mexican government is in breach of its international
we consider it of vital importance that this Commission continue to take cognizance
of the case, so long as the following conditions, necessary for reaching a
settlement of the case based on respect for human rights, do not attain:
That a fair resolution be issued, in keeping with due process guarantees,
and that it be administered impartially.
That the Mexican authorities make a commitment to ensure that the statements
issued against the Peredo Valderrama family are studied in keeping with the
law, and that at the appropriate procedural moment they be declared unlawful.
The petitioners argue that the judgment of April 10, 1999, that acquitted
Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz is arbitrary, that it did not take into
account the criteria for weighing the evidence provided for in Mexican legislation
and case-law, and that it was issued under the pressure brought to bear by
the Aguilar Díaz family. In the
hearing held at IACHR headquarters on March 1, 1999, the petitioners expressed
their decision to withdraw from the effort to reach a friendly settlement,
as they consider the time elapsed since the underlying events to be excessive,
especially in view of the impunity that has prevailed in the case.
The petitioners state the following in their correspondence received
on March 6, 1999:
years and three months have gone by since Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered,
and to date the perpetrators have not been duly sanctioned and the relatives
have not been fairly compensated.
years and eleven months have gone by since the petitioners have appeared before
the Commission to report the violation of Articles 4, 5, 10, 24, and 25 of
the American Convention and the influence peddling that has prevented those
responsible from being punished, to request guarantees of protection for the
Peredo Valderrama family, as well as … the right to swift justice and to the
payment of compensation for damages.
its initial correspondence related to the case, the State requested a declaration
of inadmissibility because, in its view, there was no proof of acts that violated
the American Convention, and because domestic legal remedies in Mexico had
not been exhausted. The State
indicated that the arrest warrant for the Aguilar Díaz brothers was not executed
at first because they filed an amparo action (recurso de amparo) suspending its effect, but that "once the
amparo was ruled on, the arrest warrant was modified and issued again, this
time for the crime of unaggravated intentional homicide."
The State adds:
regards reparation for the damages, it should be noted that according to the
Code of Criminal Procedure for the Federal District, "civil liability
for reparations for damages may not be decreed other than by the offended
party taking the procedural initiative..." and this must be done "...
before the judge or court that has taken cognizance of the criminal action...."
(Articles 533 and 532 respectively.)
Code of Criminal Procedure provides, at Article 539, that "when the party
in interest with respect to the civil liability does not file the motion ...
after the ruling in the respective proceeding, it may seek to enforce it by
filing a claim as per the requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure ...
before the civil courts."
its response to the petitioners' observations, the State reiterated its initial
arguments. In addition, it reported
that the CNDH had intervened in the matter and that on November 21, 1991,
it communicated to Mrs. Valderrama that "no acts violative of human rights
appear, based on the investigation, and, therefore, the case will be closed
as a concluded matter." Nonetheless,
it clarified that the CNDH "has stated that it is most willing to hear
the complainant once again and, as appropriate, reopen the case and carry
out the investigations needed to fully clarify the facts set forth in the
response to the proposal to initiate the procedure provided for in Article
48(1)(f) of the American Convention, the State asks in its communication of
May 31, 1995, that the IACHR "take into consideration the disposition
of the authorities and corresponding offices to reach a friendly settlement."
It further indicates that constitutional amendments have been adopted,
including the possibility of challenging the decision of the Public not to
press criminal charges. Another
reform the State highlights is the creation of the Office of Human Rights
and Community Services within the PGJDF, and it adds that "as evidence
of the good faith of the Mexican authorities to solve the case, a copy of
Report Nº SGDH/3734/95 and its attachments shall be delivered to the Commission,
which reflect the interest of the authorities in carrying out the arrest warrants
in question." (sic)
December 7, 1995, the State informed the IACHR:
October 16 of this year, a Special Group of the Judicial Police was formed
whose main objective is take the appropriate steps leading to execution of
the arrest warrants. This Special
Group has undertaken the task of collecting information that will make it
possible to determine with greater certainty the whereabouts of the accused
Sergio, Israel Roberto, and Pedro Horacio, all by the last names of Aguilar
Díaz. In addition, the Special
Group has undertaken the task of trying to determine whether these persons
have changed identity. In addition,
one element that will no doubt be most helpful for the work of the Special
Group refers to the composites sketches that were prepared by the experts
of the PGJDF, in which Professor María Concepción Valderrama widow of Peredo,
the mother of the deceased, participated significantly.
the same communication, the Mexican State reiterates that "it has been
possible to confirm that the fugitives have not sought visas to the United
States," yet even so "the Mexican authorities are remaining on the
alert in this respect, for as is publicly known, there is large-scale emigration
to the United States of America, and not having documents is no guarantee
that one is not in the country that neighbors Mexico to the north."
In addition, the State indicates that the petitioners "do not
take into account the physical impossibility, recognized by the legislation
and by the doctrine, of carrying out the arrest warrants when the persons
named therein have not been located." (sic) It adds that "the Government
of Mexico has accorded priority to executing these arrest warrants and is
making every effort within its reach to achieve this."
27. Once the three Aguilar Díaz brothers had been
detained and turned over to the Mexican judicial authorities, the Mexican
State maintains that it made every effort to sanction the perpetrators, and,
for this reason, it asked the IACHR on numerous occasions to declare the case
resolved and to close it. On
July 11, 1996, the State expressed that "the alleged murderers of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama have been pursued for nine years with tenacity and perseverance
by members of the judicial police of the PGJDF," and that the petitioners'
argument on the possibility of
the Aguilar Díaz brothers evading judicial action is "baseless and without
support." It adds that "there
should be no concern on the part of the petitioners, for the authorities,
in this matter as in all cases under its jurisdiction, will apply the principle
of impartiality, legality, and justice."
The State argues that:
a result of the intense inquiries made in the case of the homicide of the
young man Pedro Peredo Valderrama in Xochimilco, at this time none of the
arrest warrants issued against the Aguilar Díaz brothers is pending execution.
Consequently, this matter is ripe for solution pursuant to Article
49 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
respect to the delay in the proceedings against Israel Aguilar Díaz, the Mexican
State indicated on January 3, 1997 that "if there has been a delay, it
is only attributable to the defense that was presented by Mr. Aguilar Díaz,
which is within due process." On
September 3, 1997, he reported to the IACHR that the Swiss government granted
extradition of the alleged murderer, and it considers that with this, "the
mutually agreed upon bases for arriving at a friendly settlement have been
carried out." Consequently, the State asks the Commission "to consider
this matter to have been reached a satisfactory conclusion."
This position was put forth in the following communications, as well
as in the hearings and meetings held on the case.
May 29, 1998, the Mexican State informed the IACHR that the case against brothers
Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz was dismissed by the court that took
cognizance of the case on appeal. It
clarified that the Ministry of Foreign Relations "does not have powers
to intervene in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, nor may it urge
any judge to issue his or her rulings in one or another direction," but
that "it has stated its positive disposition to reach a friendly settlement
in this case, in the terms agreed upon before the IACHR; it has closely followed
the case, and will be awaiting the final outcome."
It once again asks that the Commission "declare that each and
every one of the commitments taken on by the Government of Mexico in the friendly
settlement that was pursued in Case 11.103 has been carried out."
response to the petitioners' position, that the agreement was not carried
out because of the persistence of impunity, the State indicates that they
"claim to be unaware of the efforts made by the Government of Mexico
to solve this case." With
respect to the role of the PGJDF, it states:
The Public Ministry, in carrying out its constitutional function as the
entity entrusted with criminal indictments, with the means available to it,
the responsibility of the accused, and it took recourse to the challenges
afforded it by the law of criminal procedure, thanks to which, in the end,
two of the accused were found guilty.
From that point on, actions were undertaken to carry out the judicial
warrants for them to be arrested again.
the hearing held on March 1, 1999, in the course of which the petitioners
requested that a report be adopted on the merits in this case, the State opposed
such a measure, insisted on its good faith displayed during the effort to
reach a friendly settlement, and noted that "there is good will to continue
it argued that the conviction is a sine
qua non for discussing reparations in this case.
its final comments submitted on April 13, 1999, the State “expressed its regret
over the decision of the petitioners to end the friendly settlement proceedings”
and stated that “the process had been complex and had come up against a number
of stumbling blocks.” Despite
this, the State noted that the persons accused of the homicide had been detained,
prosecuted, and sentenced. Furthermore,
is well-established that the State was not involved in the events that led
to the loss of life by Mr. Peredo Valderrama; that a serious, exhaustive,
and effective investigation had been launched immediately; and that the appropriate
action had been taken through the appropriate legal organs, which had led
to the apprehension of the perpetrators, to their prosecution, and to their
friendly settlement agreed to on the basis of the proposal of March 1995 cited
as a main point execution of the warrants for the arrest of the alleged perpetrators,
which took place in 1996. The
decision regarding their guilt is one to be made exclusively by the judiciary.
practice of the Commission in recent years has been to rule beforehand and
separately on the admissibility of petitions related to individual cases.
However, the IACHR has also made exceptions to this practice in those
cases, such as this one, when the charge of the violations of the right to
judicial guarantees and judicial protection is linked to the analysis of the
exhaustion of domestic remedies within a reasonable timeframe, as well as
To that end, the Commission will analyze below compliance with the requirements
set forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
State argued that in this case, there was no proof of human rights violations.
As seen above, the allegations in this case describe acts that would
constitute a violation of the rights recognized and enshrined in the American
Convention, and which took place when the obligation to respect and guarantee
the rights established in this instrument was in effect with respect to Mexico.
For this reason, the IACHR has rationae
personae, rationae materiae, and ratione
temporis competence to hear the merits of the complaint.
Exhaustion of domestic remedies
the exceptions to the rule on the exhaustion of domestic remedies, Article
46(2)(c) of the American Convention makes provisions for the unjustified delay
in decisions related thereto. The
murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama occurred on December 20, 1986, and after
13 years, the domestic legal bodies still have not made a definitive determination
of how the incident occurred, nor has any final sentence been imposed on the
into account the time period that elapsed since the murder, the IACHR considers
prima facie that the exception of
Article 46(2)(c) applies to the instant case.
The unreasonable delay in the proceedings alleged by the petitioners
shall be the subject of a more complete analysis in the section of the report
pertaining to the investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
Time period for submission
State did not avail itself of the exception set forth in Article 46(1)(b)
of the American Convention, nor did it analyze it in this report, since the
parties agree that proceedings in the Mexican legal system have not yet been
Duplication of proceedings
Mexican State did not avail itself of the exception provided for in Article
46(1)(d) of the American Convention, nor is it apparent based on the information
contained in the case file.
proceedings provided for in Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention were
instituted in July 1995, as soon as both parties expressed agreement on that
matter. In the course of efforts to reach a friendly settlement, which
lasted almost four years, several meetings and hearings were held between
the parties, with the Commission present.
Finally, the IACHR ended the friendly settlement stage at the express
request of the petitioners, made during a hearing that took place on March
1, 1999. In view of the fact
that most of the developments
related to this case occurred while these friendly proceedings were taking
place, details on the information received during that period will be analyzed
together with the merits of the case.
establishing that the complaint is admissible, the Commission will proceed
with an analysis of the arguments on the basis of fact and law related to
the merits of this complaint.
Right to life (Article 4)
4(1) of the American Convention states:
Every person has the right to have his life respected.
This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment
of conception. No one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of his life.
the case under analysis, the petitioners have not accused State agents of
being directly responsible for the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, in their view, it results from the failure on the part of
the authorities to investigate the facts.
In that regard, the Inter-American Court has stated
illegal act which violates human rights and which is initially not directly
imputable to a State (for example, because it is the act of a private person
or because the person responsible has not been identified) can lead to international
responsibility of the State, not because of the act itself, but because of
the lack of due diligence to prevent the violation or to respond to it as
required by the Convention.
on the information provided in the complaint, Pedro Peredo Valderrama was
killed when he was attacked by armed individuals on a public road.
The information in the IACHR file does not reveal that Peredo Valderrama
had been threatened before by the alleged killers or by other persons, or
that his life had been in danger for any reason.
For this reason, it is not possible to find that the Mexican State
failed to do its duty by preventing the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
IACHR does not have any basis on which to establish responsibility of the
Mexican State for violation of the right to life of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, the question of whether the investigation into this homicide
was conducted in accordance with the rules of due process and whether the
right of his relatives to effective judicial protection was guaranteed will
be analyzed later on.
Right to humane treatment (Article 5)
5(1) of the American Convention guarantees that “every person has the right
to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected.”
The analysis of this case shows that the petitioners reported, on various
occasions, both to the Mexican courts and to the IACHR, that the family of
Pedro Peredo Valderrama had been harassed from the time they
accused the Aguilar Díaz brothers of his murder.
For its part, the Mexican State indicated from the start of the proceedings
before the IACHR, its willingness to investigate and settle this case.
Commission requested precautionary measures from the Mexican State on April
10, 1996, in regard to which the State responded that it had ordered protection
of the home of the Peredo Valderrama family.
The petitioners disputed the effectiveness of these measures and charged
that the State had not treated the matter with due seriousness.
information contained in the record does not show direct responsibility on
the part of State agents in events that may have jeopardized the physical,
mental, or moral integrity of the Peredo Valderrama family members.
In this case, it is also not possible to charge the State with violation
of this right by individuals acting with the protection of government officials,
or what may have happened because of their negligence.
The IACHR therefore concludes that the Mexican State bears no international
responsibility for violation of the right protected under Article 5 of the
American Convention, which, according to the petitioners, occurred in the
case of Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama and her family.
foregoing notwithstanding, in the view of the Commission, there are sufficient
factors to analyze, in the relevant part of this report, whether the State
failed in its duty to investigate the threats made against the Peredo Valderrama
Right to equal protection of the law (Article 24)
24 of the American Convention states:
All persons are equal before the law.
Consequently, they are entitled, without discrimination, to equal protection
of the law.
petitioners charge that the right of the family of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
to equal protection of the law has been violated.
They argue that the political power of the Aguilar Díaz family provided
its members with an unfair advantage in relation to the relatives of the victims
in this case. In its correspondence,
the State makes no reference to this claim.
Commission reiterates what it stated earlier, after analysis of the alleged
violation of the right to life, regarding the ways in which States can bear
international responsibility for the violation of human rights.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has maintained the following:
no discrimination exists if the difference in treatment has a legitimate purpose
and if it does not lead to situations which are contrary to justice, to reason
or to the nature of things. It follows that there would be no discrimination
in differences in treatment of individuals by a state when the classifications
selected are based on substantial factual differences and there exists a reasonable
relationship of proportionality between these differences and the aims of
the legal rule under review. These aims may not be unjust or unreasonable,
that is, they may not be arbitrary, capricious, despotic or in conflict with
the essential oneness and dignity of humankind.
The IACHR notes that in this case, no State agent was accused of engaging
in discriminatory conduct with respect to any member of the Peredo Valderrama
family, and that it is also impossible to establish that responsibility based
on negligence of the authorities. Furthermore,
the petitioners have not provided the most basic evidence to establish a standard
and, for this reason, the Commission concludes that there is no colorable
claim of a violation of the right to equal protection of the law.
Right to compensation because of a miscarriage of justice (Article
10 of the American Convention states that every
person “has the right to be compensated in accordance with the law in the
event he has been sentenced by a final judgment through a miscarriage of justice.” The Commission notes that although the petitioners in this
case cited this provision, neither the facts nor the charges indicate that
the victims were sentenced through a miscarriage of justice.
Therefore, in the view of the
IACHR, a ruling in this report on the right protected by Article 10
of the American Convention would not be appropriate.
e. Right to judicial guarantees
(Article 8) and to judicial protection (Article 25) in relation to the obligation
to respect and guarantee rights (Article 1(1))
of the obligations imposed under Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention
is linked to the applicability of the exceptions related to the exhaustion
of domestic remedies.
This is the determination made by the Commission with respect to this case,
in concluding that the application of the exception to the exhaustion of domestic
remedies set forth in Article 46(2)(c) of the American Convention is admissible.
right to judicial guarantees and the right to judicial protection are tied
to the obligation set forth in Article 1(1) of the American Convention.
The following assessment made by the IACHR should be borne in mind:
obligation contained in Article 1 (1) is a necessary corollary of the right
of every individual to recourse to a tribunal to obtain judicial protection
when he believes he has been a victim of violation of any of his human rights.
If this were not so, the right to obtain effective recourse set forth in Article
25 would be absolutely without content.
Commission considers that the right to a recourse set forth in Article 25,
interpreted in conjunction with the obligation in Article 1(1) and the provisions
of Article 8(1), must be understood as the right of every individual to go
to a tribunal when any of his rights have been violated (whether a right protected
by the Convention, the constitution or the domestic laws of the State concerned),
to obtain a judicial investigation conducted by a competent, impartial and
independent tribunal that will establish whether or not a violation has taken
place and will set, when appropriate, adequate compensation. 
The Inter-American Court, in analyzing the duty to investigate human
rights violations, makes it clear that this is difficult to determine in certain
circumstances. However, it is defined as a duty in terms of means or conduct,
which “must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality
preordained to be ineffective.” According
to the Court, the obligation to investigate “must have an objective and be
assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private
interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or
upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the
In a decision relevant to the analysis of the instant case, the Inter-American
is evident from Article 8 of the Convention that the victims of human rights
violations or their next of kin should have substantial possibilities of being
heard and acting in the respective proceedings, both in order to clarify the
facts and punish those responsible, and to seek due reparation…. It is clear
that those responsible have not been punished, because they have not been
identified or penalized by judicial decisions that have been executed.
This consideration alone is enough to conclude that the State has violated
Article 1.1 of the Convention, since it has not punished the perpetrators
of the corresponding crimes. In
this respect, there is no point in discussing whether the defendants in the
domestic proceedings should be acquitted or not.
What is important is that, independently of whether or not they were
the perpetrators of the unlawful acts, the State should have identified those
who were responsible, and it did not do so.
obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the persons liable for human
rights violations is a non-delegable duty of the State, especially when its
penal system makes it solely responsible for criminal proceedings.
This is the case of Mexico, where the execution of criminal proceedings
are assigned exclusively to the State in its domestic laws.
Commission will proceed with an analysis of the information available in the
record regarding the investigation into the violation of the right to life
of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, and of the investigation into the threats and
harassment of the members of the family when they reported the homicide, in
order to determine whether they meet the aforementioned requirements of the
Investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
obligation to investigate human rights violations in a complete, independent,
and impartial manner is inherent in the duty to protect human rights, recognized
in the American Convention.
The investigation must meet all the requirements for due process, defined
in Article 8(1) of the American Convention:
Every person has the right to a hearing, with due guarantees
and within a reasonable time, by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal,
previously established by law, in the substantiation of any accusation of
a criminal nature made against him or for the determination of his rights
and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any other nature.
As stated earlier, another fundamental element of an investigation
is effectiveness. Under the terms
of Article 25 of the American Convention: “Everyone has the right to simple
and prompt recourse, or any other effective recourse, to a competent court
or tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights.” This case involves the right of the Peredo Valderrama family
to ensure that the facts are investigated, the perpetrators are punished,
and they are compensated for damages suffered.
regard to the duration of the legal proceedings, consideration must be given
to the fact that Pedro Peredo Valderrama was killed on December 20, 1986,
that is, almost thirteen years as of the date of this report, and no determination
has yet been made regarding how the incident occurred, the perpetrators have
not been definitively identified or punished, and compensation has not been
paid for the consequences of these violations.
The Commission already established above, with regard to the admissibility
of the case, that this time period is unreasonable. In this section, consideration
will be given largely to the factors established for this purpose by the Inter-American
Court: the complexity of the case; the procedural action of the interested
party; and the conduct of the judicial authorities.
An analysis will be done of the effectiveness of the investigation
later in this report.
has already been seen that the facts and documentation available indicate
that this case is not a complex one.
There is only one victim, the events took place in a public road and
in the presence of several eyewitnesses, and the persons alleged to have actually
committed the crime were identified by these witnesses.
complaint was filed by the Peredo Valderrama family with the PGJDF on January
2, 1987, a few days after the murder.
The Office of the Public Prosecutor started preliminary investigation
27A/2343/986 after judicial inspection of the body of Pedro Peredo Valderrama. As part of the proceedings, when the alleged killers went to
the PGJDF, they were protected by a writ of amparo
that prevented their detention at that time.
However, when the preliminary investigation was turned over to the
judiciary, the competent judge issued warrants for the arrest of the Israel
Roberto, Pedro Horacio, and Sergio Aguilar Díaz, brothers, on February 4,
the view of the IACHR, one of the central issues of this case is the failure
to execute the arrest warrants from early 1987 to March and June 1996 when
Israel Aguilar Díaz was arrested in Switzerland, and Pedro Horacio and Sergio
Aguilar Díaz were arrested in Mexico, respectively.
According to the petitioners, non-execution was linked to the influence
exercised by the Aguilar Díaz family over the local authorities.
The State writes in its correspondence of October 12, 1993, that “thus
far, it has not been possible to execute the arrest warrant because the whereabouts
of the alleged perpetrators are unknown.”
Procedural activity by the Peredo Valderrama family
complaint processed by the IACHR contains copious documentation, the validity
or relevance of which has never been disputed by the Mexican State, regarding
the procedural activity conducted by the Peredo Valderrama family to ensure
execution of the arrest warrant. These
documents include a large volume of correspondence and reminders to the PGJDF,
to the competent judge, and to the Director General of the Investigative
Police for the Federal District (entity directly responsible for executing
the arrest warrant). The petitioners
mention in the initial complaint that, as a result of their actions, the judge
sent official reminders pertaining to execution of the arrest warrant to the
Federal District Investigative Police on June 2, 1987, March 18, 1988, June
9, 1988, February 26, 1989, and May 3, 1991.
Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama also went to the PGJDF on many
occasions to report negligent conduct on the part of the investigative police,
who, according to her, had gone as far as to prepare false reports on proceedings
that had never been held. For
example, mention should be made of the correspondence of April 24, 1990, by
Mrs. Valderrama to the PGJDF, summarizing the actions taken to date, which
produced no results, and which included very specific information on the movements
of the alleged killers. Mrs.
Valderrama mentions in her correspondence three homes frequented by the Aguilar
Díaz family, the business activities of the bothers who were fugitives from
justice, and the vehicles that they were driving, with the respective tag
numbers. According to her, several
relatives and witnesses had seen the Aguilar Díaz brothers personally conducting
activities related to these businesses.
State has indicated on several occasions that Mrs. Peredo Valderrama had not
cooperated with the authorities, and that the delay and ineffectiveness of
the investigation was attributable to her.
In the view of the Commission, not only did the victim’s family refrain
from obstructing the process but rather it cooperated actively with the investigation
into the murder. It should not
be forgotten that States cannot transfer to individuals the obligation to
investigate imposed on them by the instruments of the inter-American human
Proof of this lies in the fact that the members of the Peredo Valderrama
family provided important information and personally participated in the search
operations, despite alleged threats from the Aguilar Díaz family.
Conduct of the judicial authorities and the PGJDF
it must be stressed that the Mexican State has not disputed the fact
that Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz was identified in 1988 in the Xochimilco,
Federal District area by the uncle of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, but fled with
the complicity of the agents of the investigative police, who had been called to the scene to arrest him.
The seriousness of this incident, together with the failure to punish
the perpetrators, are enough to establish the responsibility of the Mexican
State in its failure to perform its duty to investigate the facts related
to this case.
It is perhaps not surprising therefore, that several years have gone
by without anything being achieved by the domestic legal system. During its on-site visit to Mexico in July 1996, the Commission
was informed by the authorities of the Federal District on the advances in
the extradition proceedings, as well as on the investigation and the prosecution
of the alleged murderers. While
the case was being processed by the Commission, particularly during the friendly
settlement stage, very significant progress was made in the judicial investigation,
with the arrest of the three alleged killers in 1996. In its letter of April 23, 1996, the Mexican State indicated:
Israel Roberto Díaz Aguilar (sic), for whom an arrest warrant has been
issued in the murder of young Pedro Peredo Valderrama, was located and detained
in Switzerland, and proceedings have been instituted for his extradition.
On July 11, 1996, the State informed the IACHR that:
Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz, 30 and 31 years old respectively, were
detained on June 27, 1996 in Mexico, D.F. after an exhaustive investigation
by members of the investigative Police of the PGJDF, pursuant to arrest warrants
issued for the murder Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, at no time did the State inform the IACHR whether the Mexican
authorities had investigated certain matters that were very important in establishing
the truth about this case. It
did not provide any information on how the three brothers were able to elude
the Mexican justice system for such a long time.
It did not provide information on how Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz was
able to travel to Switzerland when an arrest warrant had been issued for him,
whether an investigation had been carried out to determine how the three brothers
remained fugitives all that time, or whether an effort had been made to determine
whether there had been complicity on the part of the authorities, apart from
the incident already related involving Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz, to block
execution of an arrest warrant for nine years.
Execution of the arrest warrants in 1996 did not lead to definitive
clarification of the facts surrounding the case, let alone the punishment
of those responsible, since the alleged killers were freed less than two years
after their arrest. On April
21, 1998, the petitioners provided the following information:
Last April 10, the Judge of the Thirty-second Criminal Court of the
Federal District, Sebastián Moreno Olin, by operation of law,
handed down a ruling acquitting Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz,
against whom criminal proceeding 111/97 had been instituted for the aggravated
homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama…This decision of the Mexican State, handed
down through its judiciary, is yet another act of grave impunity that has
come to characterize this case, since more than ten years have gone by without
the imposition of any criminal sanctions on the persons responsible for the
homicide of Pedro Peredo. With
this decision, the fears that we, the petitioners, have expressed regarding
the arbitrary acts committed by the Judge processing the case, the failure
to respond to various claims, and the indifference of the Executive have been
shown to be well-founded.
The petitioners submitted detailed information regarding irregularities
allegedly committed by the first instance judge who handed down this decision,
such as the fact that he confused the name of one of the witnesses (Hernández
instead of Fernández); he referred to the statement of another witness (Carlos
Rioja Walber) who did not appear; he referred to expert topographical evidence
that had not been included in the mass of evidence entered in the proceedings;
he referred to the expansion of the statement of another witness (Fidelia
López Sánchez) who was already dead on the date of the alleged proceedings,
and whose death certificate had been included in the case file; and he quoted
from sworn statements provided by Araceli Contreras Díaz, Ernesto Aguilar
Cordero, Pedro Aguilar Cordero, and Juan Manuel Peña Jiménez as if these statements
had been provided for the defense of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz,
when, in reality, this evidence had been provided in defense of the other
person charged, namely, Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz.
The petitioners charge that all of this “suggests that the judge a
quo has absolutely no knowledge of the evidence pertaining to criminal
case 111/97,” “the result of which is the violation of Article 17 of the Constitution
of the United Mexican States, since his conduct is hindering justice from
being duly dispensed in a prompt manner.”
Furthermore, the petitioners allege that the judge,
“in handing down a sentence for an acquittal, is flagrantly violating
the guiding principles pertaining to the assessment of evidence” for the following
judge] is rejecting the mass of evidence contained in criminal case 111/97
that is prejudicial to those being prosecuted individually and separately;
contrary to the stipulations of Article 261 of the Code of Criminal Procedure;
that is, jointly and after weighing in a natural and logical manner the mass
of evidence entered during the preliminary proceedings.
Examining Magistrate is giving full consideration to the evidence of the sole
witness for the defense, who, in this case, is none other than the father
of the defendants, namely Pedro Aguilar Cordero.
Therefore, the judge assigned
to the case is once again violating the guiding principles pertaining to the
assessment of evidence, since, at no time has there been compliance with the
provisions of Article 255(III), given the fact that Pedro Aguilar Cordero,
because of his family ties to the accused, was incapable of acting with complete
impartiality. Furthermore, his testimony for the defense was provided more
than 10 years after the occurrence of this act. In other words, the testimony provided by the father of the
persons who have now been convicted is, beyond a doubt, testimony designed
to provide an alibi, the aim of which is to disassociate the defendants from
the acts with which they have been charged.
According to the petitioners, Erick and Uriel Peredo Valderrama, “fully
and fearlessly identified the individuals who have now been prosecuted for
beating and killing their brother, Pedro Peredo Valderrama.”
The Mexican case law provided by the petitioners to the IACHR notes,
one the one hand, the evidentiary force of the statements of the relatives
of victims, and reduces, on the other hand, the value of the statements by
relatives of the accused. For
example, it is pointed out that the Mexican Supreme Court has maintained that
“the statement of the victim of a crime casts a strong presumption of responsibility
on the person accused of causing the prejudice, since it is logical to assume
that the person who suffered the prejudice has an interest in ensuring that
the perpetrator is punished rather than a third party.”
Despite this, the petitioners
stress that the judge acquitted Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz precisely
because he rejected the testimony of Erick and Uriel Peredo Valderrama because
they are the victim’s brothers, which he alleged makes them unable to “view
the situation dispassionately.”
The State reported on
May 29, 1998 that the PGJDF had appealed the acquittal of Pedro Horacio and
Sergio Aguilar Díaz before the Tenth Division of the Superior Court of the
Federal District, and added:
prosecution is fulfilling its duty by insisting on the punishment of the alleged
perpetrators by referring the matter to the court above the one that handed
down the first instance ruling, which means that the matter remains sub
judice, thanks to the appeal filed by the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
should be noted that if the Tenth Division determines the existence of irregularities
that are established from the ruling, which means that the proceedings were
not dealt with in an impartial and objective manner by the judge handling
the case, this ruling will be changed or overturned.
Roberto Aguilar Díaz is still at the Southern Temporary Detention Center,
since proceedings 111/97, which are being handled by the thirty-second criminal
court, instituted against him for the crime of homicide, is still in the preliminary
Furthermore, the PGJDF has started an investigation to determine the
possible commission of a crime related to this case by the judge of the first
instance court, the clerk of the court, and one witness, in addition to the
complaint before the Federal District Judicature Council for possible administrative
irregularities in the decision related to this case.
The foregoing is being conducted in accordance with the mechanisms
set forth by the Mexican legal system for that purpose, safeguarding at all
times judicial independence.
With regard to the analysis and case law provided by the petitioners,
the State indicates that “this information could have been added to the arguments
submitted by the Office of the Public Prosecutor when the aforementioned ruling
was being appealed, if it had been provided in a timely manner.”
The State makes it clear that “The Department of
Foreign Relations does not have the authority to intervene in the investigation
into and prosecution of crimes, nor can it urge a judge to hand down rulings
favorable to one party or another. Thus, there is no basis for the request of the petitioners
in this regard.” Finally, it
stresses that the accused have been detained, and, for this reason, it asks
the IACHR “to rule that all the commitments assumed by the Government of Mexico
in the friendly settlement that started with case Nº 11.103 had been fulfilled.”
Finally, in its correspondence of April 13, 1999, the Mexican State
informed the IACHR that the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District
had overturned the acquittal sentence of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar
Díaz, pursuant to which the Judge of the thirty-third criminal court issued
warrants for their rearrest on June 12, 1998.
These warrants were not executed due to the fact that the Aguilar Díaz
brothers instituted direct amparo
proceedings against the judicial decision.
The petitioners note that they had asked the authorities to execute
the arrest warrant immediately, in light of the distinct possibility of the
institution of direct amparo
proceedings; however, “regrettably, although this request was filed two months
after the aforementioned decision, no steps were taken to execute these warrants.”
The petitioners add that Israel Aguilar Diaz was sentenced to 22 years
6 months in prison on March 3, 1999, and they claim that “although this is
favorable in terms of solving the case, there is no guarantee of full compliance,”
since the ruling was handed down by a court of
first instance, and it may appealed and later be the subject of direct
amparo proceedings, which
may lead to a delay of more than six months before an enforceable ruling is
obtained. Finally, they indicate
the process, various irregularities were noted, which should have been reported.
For this reason, the intervening party thought it necessary to file
appeals that were not supported by the PGJDF, which was an indication of its
lack of interest in maintaining the conditions necessary for a proper trial.
In the view of the Commission, it should be recalled that “with respect
to the human rights protected by the Convention, the competence of the organs
established by it pertains exclusively to international responsibility of
the State rather than of individuals.
For this reason, the analysis of this report does not seek to establish
whether the persons accused in Mexico of the homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
are guilty or innocent.
82. The Commission is, however, fully competent
to establish whether the Mexican State bears international responsibility
for violation of the right to judicial guarantees and judicial protection,
to the detriment of the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
The Inter-American Court has stated that:
in principle, any violation of rights recognized by the Convention carried
out by an act of public authority or by persons who use their position of
authority is imputable to the State. However, this does not define all the
circumstances in which a State is obligated to prevent, investigate and punish
human rights violations, nor all the cases in which the State might be found
responsible for an infringement of those rights. An illegal act which violates
human rights and which is initially not directly imputable to a State (for
example, because it is the act of a private person or because the person responsible
has not been identified ) can lead to international responsibility of the
State, not because of the act itself, but because of the lack of due diligence
to prevent the violation or to respond to it as required by the Convention.
( … )
The State is obligated to investigate every situation involving a violation
of the rights protected by the Convention. If the State apparatus acts in
such a way that the violation goes unpunished and the victim's full enjoyment
of such rights is not restored as soon as possible, the State has failed to
comply with its duty to ensure the free and full exercise of those rights
to the persons within its jurisdiction. The same is true when the State allows
private persons or groups to act freely and with impunity to the detriment
of the rights recognized by the Convention.
In light of the foregoing, the Commission confirms its preliminary
assessment with respect to the unreasonable length of the judicial proceedings.
The file shows that the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama did not
prevent the investigation from moving forward.
On the contrary, they provided very important information which they
made available to the judicial entities of the Office of the Public Prosecutor
for the purpose of fulfilling its duty to dispense justice.
Under standards of international human rights law and the jurisprudence
of the control organs, the main elements of the instant case are not very
complex. However, it is not possible
to establish that the conduct of the judicial authorities and the authorities
of Office of the Public Prosecutor was carried out in accordance with the
diligence required by an investigation such as the one under analysis.
Quite the opposite: the evidence shows that the investigative police
officers engaged in complicity by permitting the flight of an individual for
whom an arrest warrant had been issued, and that a judge acquitted two of
the alleged killers by handing down a ruling whose alleged flaws, reported
by the petitioners, have not been disputed by the Mexican State.
The Commission considers that that conduct has been extremely harmful
to the investigation.
The State maintained the following in its correspondence of April 13,
María Concepción Peredo Valderrama reported possible irregularities by officials
of the thirty-second criminal court to the Office of the Public Prosecutor,
related to the second instance sentence that acquitted two of the accused.
PGJDF started preliminary investigation DGSP/075/98-05 into the clerk assigned
to Judge Juan Sebastián Moreno Olin for possible responsibility in the commission
of offenses affecting the administration of justice.
On January 27, 1999, a decision was made to institute criminal action
against that person. This decision
led to criminal proceedings Nº 11/99, instituted in the Twenty-eighth Federal
District Criminal Court.
proceedings represent yet another legal procedure conducted at the request
of the petitioners, which is in progress and cannot be considered exhausted
The foregoing reveals numerous irregularities in the conduct of the
judicial authorities and the PGJDF (including the investigative police, who
are under the oversight of the Office of the Public Prosecutor) in this case.
A number of the irregularities which have been established in this
report were never investigated, and some that occurred more recently are being
reviewed by the appropriate authorities.
Lastly, the conduct of the authorities has clearly had a negative effect
on the outcome of the investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
The information analyzed above also shows that the investigation has
been completely ineffective, and that there is an undeniable link between
the delay of justice and the lack of definitive results of the investigation.
As has been reiterated throughout this report, the period taken by
the authorities since Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered until the alleged
killers were captured, is unreasonable, and the facts reveal the serious implications
of impunity in this case.
During the proceedings of this case, the Commission underscored the
progress represented by the arrest of the presumed assassins, although it
expressly stated that their capture did not, in itself, constitute the final
solution to the case:
Commission plenary has decided today to suspend temporarily the proceedings
of the above mentioned case, since it considers that the arrests the presumed
murderers of Pedro Peredo Valderrama pursuant to the warrants issued to that
effect, constitute clear progress in the friendly settlement process, which
is pending the decision of the competent judicial body in order to evaluate
Almost thirteen years after the crime was committed, it is obvious
that the arrest of the Aguilar Díaz brothers has not shed light on the murder
of Pedro Peredo Valderrama. As was mentioned above, the record does not show
any investigation by Mexican authorities into the facts surrounding the Aguilar
Diaz brothers’ escape from justice for such a long time.
Despite the specific questions to that effect formulated repeatedly
by the petitioners to the State,
it did not inform either if there was
an investigation into the possible complicity of the authorities to frustrate the
execution of the arrest warrants for nine years.
The lack of effectiveness of the investigation is linked to the current
status of the case in the internal jurisdiction: two of the alleged killers
have been released by a Mexican court; a warrant issued for their rearrest
was blocked before it could be executed by the authorities; and no final ruling
has been handed down with respect to the third individual.
The IACHR concludes that the State of Mexico has failed to perform
its duty in providing simple and effective recourse, which would facilitate
the investigation into the violation of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s right to
life, together with the proper guarantees, within a reasonable timeframe. As a result, the Mexican State bears responsibility for violation
of the right of the Peredo Valderrama family to judicial guarantees and judicial
protection, provided for in Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention,
in relation to the general obligation set forth in Article 1(1) of this international
Investigation into the threats made against the Peredo Valderrama family
The petitioners maintain in their correspondence of November 15, 1995,
The Peredo Valderrama family has been the victim of continuous harassment
by persons linked to the Aguilar family, in regard to whom an unexecuted arrest
warrant has been issued for three of its members by the PGJDF and by members
of the investigative police.
The harassment, which has not ceased even during these friendly settlement
proceedings, consists of a number of acts. The first is the institution of civil and criminal proceedings
that are completely unfounded. The
second takes the form of blatant hostility, which goes as far physical aggression
by the members of the judicial police.
With regard to legal proceedings, the petitioners indicate that the
relatives of the Aguilar Díaz brothers filed a complaint for defamation in
the court of first instance Nº 33, based on the public complaint of the murder
and its cover-up. Also, Mr. Felipe
Arenas López sought, in the civil court, compensation from Mrs. Concepción
Peredo de Valderrama for damages resulting from her criminal accusation of
the homicide. In the view of
the petitioners, this action is designed to intimidate the mother of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama and to punish her from a financial standpoint, since in
Mexico criminal action falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Office
of the Public Prosecutor. Also,
an employee of the Aguilar Díaz brothers filed a complaint against Erick Peredo
Valderrama for threats, and the petitioners state that the accused was in
school at the time that the threats were allegedly made.
Insofar as physical aggression is concerned, the petitioners allege
that on June 28, 1989,“three persons who appeared to be members of the investigative
police” struck Uriel Peredo Valderrama, the brother of Pedro, and as a result,
he had to be hospitalized. According
to the petitioners, “preliminary investigation ACI/62/989-06 initiated as
a result of this incident did not produce any results.”
The petitioners also state that the investigative police went to the
home of the Peredo Valderrama family on October 17, 1995, and acted in an
arrogant manner when they requested information pertaining to the alleged
killers, which they considered to be an act of intimidation.
In their correspondence of December 5, 1995, the petitioners allege
that “between November 17 and 21, , members of the investigative police
appeared unannounced at the home of the mother of victim, and asked her to
accompany them in order to identify the alleged perpetrators.”
The petitioners had asked the representatives of the Mexican State,
within the context of the friendly settlement proceedings before the IACHR,
that requests from the members of the investigative police addressed to the
members of the Peredo Valderrama family be made through the Fray Vitoria Human
Rights Center, in order to avoid harassment.
In a note sent on December 7, 1995 to the Commission, the Mexican State
provided the following response:
With regard to the charge of harassment of the Peredo Valderrama family,
the Government of Mexico would like to reiterate the commitment made through
the PGJDF to take the actions necessary to provide the Peredo Valderrama family
with the protection expressly requested by the petitioners, as indicated in
the response of April 28, 1993. However,
the Government of Mexico finds its unacceptable that the claimants would charge
that the alleged physical aggression mentioned on page 2, paragraph 4, was
carried out “three persons who appeared to be members of the investigative
police,” since this claim is totally subjective and unfounded.
Despite the foregoing, in correspondence of March 29, 1996, the petitioners
reported new acts of harassment that allegedly occurred at midnight on March
Valderrama was in her home and received a telephone call from a young male,
who, in an intimidatory tone and rude manner threatened to kill Mrs. Concepción
Valderrama and her family, warning them that “they would all be killed.”
Mrs. Valderrama hung up the telephone.
The threats were repeated when the person called twice after this,
and, in the last of these calls, the person shouted that “we are ready to
March 21, Mrs. Valderrama, accompanied by the first visitor of the National
Human Rights Commission, went to the PGJDF in order to file a complaint related
to new incidents, despite the fact the PGJDF has been totally ineffective
in investigating earlier complaints related to acts of intimidation that targeted
the Valderrama family. Furthermore,
as we have informed the Commission, many of the acts of intimidation have
their origins in the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
On April 10, 1996, the Commission asked the Mexican State to adopt
precautionary measures to protect the life and physical integrity of the Pedro
Valderrama family. In its request,
the IACHR states that “in addition to the serious nature information obtained
is the fact that friendly settlement procedures are currently under way with
respect to this case” and that “in order to achieve any kind of conciliation
based on respect for human rights, a proper atmosphere of calm must exist
between the parties, something that is difficult to achieve if the threats
described above continue.”
On April 24, 1996, the Mexican State reported that the PGJDF has started
“a surveillance operation of the home of the Peredo Valderrama family in order
to protect the lives and safety of its members.”
In that correspondence, the State asserted that no acts had been reported
to the Office of the Public Prosecutor and that agents of that institution
had “repeatedly tried to communicate personally with Mrs. Valderrama or some
member of her household, … but, unfortunately, they refused to see them.”
It stressed the importance of cooperation on the part of the Peredo
Valderrama family and reaffirmed their “desire to reach a friendly settlement”
of the case.
The petitioners disputed the claims of the Mexican State and submitted
a copy of the complaint filed by Mrs. Valderrama on March 21, 1996, which
led to preliminary investigation 50/00334/9603.
According to the petitioners, this complaint “was not taken seriously
or treated with the urgency that it deserved.”
Also, they maintain that the police officers who were allegedly guarding
the Peredo Valderrama family home did not communicate with its members, and
that “it is odd that a system of protection would be implemented without consulting
or informing the alleged beneficiaries.” At a meeting held on March 2, 1996 with the PGJDF officials
and the National Human Rights Commission (hereinafter the CNDH),
five police officers who were “responsible for the operations related
to the case” were introduced to the Peredo Valderrama family.
However, the relatives stated that they did not see these policemen
in the area where they live.
In its comments, the State notes that protection had been offered to
Mrs. Valderrama, and that she had refused it.
It asked the Commission to urge her “to keep the channels of communication
with the authorities open,” and that her advisors adopt a cooperative attitude
towards the proceedings.
The following communication from the petitioners, submitted on May
29, 1996, contained reports of new threats, this time allegedly made by Pedro
Aguilar Cordero, the father of the persons accused of the murder of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama, and even of attempted murder:
May 20, 1996, while Mrs. Valderrama was walking at Violeta and Pino streets
in Xochimilco, she saw the father of the accused.
Later on, at Josefa Aguilar street, he drove the car towards her suddenly
with the clear intention of running her over.
Mrs. Valderrama managed to flee and went to her home to seek help.
However, when she went back out, the car of Aguilar Cordero was not
Ms. Carmona went to the Central Office of the PGJDF seeking to add this information
to the preliminary investigation being conducted into threats made against
Mrs. Valderrama, the person responsible for receiving the documents indicated
that the preliminary investigation was not being handled by that agency.
When Ms. Carmona spoke with Mr. García Villalobos [General Supervisor
for Human Rights at the PGJDF], the latter indicated that he could not find
a record of the preliminary investigation.
In the view of the petitioners, these actions demonstrate the absence
of seriousness and political will to investigate the threats made against
the Peredo Valderrama family. In
this regard, they indicate that the lack of trust of the family members in
the investigative police stems from the fact that they witnessed “how an officer
allowed the persons suspected of the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama to
flee.” The petitioners noted that the assistance provided by Mrs. Valderrama
to the PGJDF has no bearing whatsoever on the need for the authorities to
adopt measures to protect the lives and safety of herself and her family.
Finally, the petitioners provide information in their correspondence
of May 20, 1997 pertaining to another complaint filed by Pedro Aguilar Cordero
against the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, which led to a summons for
several relatives of the victim to provide a statement at the Xochimilco Office
of the Public Prosecutor. The
It seems clear to us that this new development constitutes yet another
attempt to intimidate the family, and to create financial and physical hardship
for them. It should be noted
that the Deputy Prosecutor for Preliminary Investigations, Mr. José Elías
Apís, is a close relative of the alleged perpetrators.
In its subsequent correspondence to the Commission, the petitioners
did not mention any other threats or acts of intimidation, nor did they reiterate
their wish for the State to adopt preventive measures with respect to the
members of the Peredo Valderrama family.
The information summarized above shows that the petitioners reported
various acts of harassment since the initial phases of processing of this
case. Some were attributed by
the petitioners to the Aguilar Díaz brothers and their relatives, and others,
to members of the investigative police of the Federal District.
With regard to the judicial proceedings instituted by persons connected
to the Aguilar Díaz brothers --which the petitioner view as intimidatory--,
the information available in the IACHR record does not show that any ruling
whatsoever was handed down, in the criminal or civil courts, against the relatives
of Pedro Peredo Valderrama. In
any case, the evidence is not enough to demonstrate, for example, that the
persons filing the suits may have any kind of support from State agents that
resulted in irregularities in these proceedings --in violation of the right
to due process-- nor that this action was prejudicial to the Peredo Valderrama
However, the evidence available is sufficient to establish that the
Peredo Valderrama family was subject to several threats, and that it fulfilled
its duty to report them. In April
1996, the IACHR asked the Mexican State to adopt preventive measures with
respect to the members of this family, since, in its view, the urgency of
this had been established and the Peredo Valderrama family was subject to
real danger of irreparable harm, pursuant to Article 29 of the Regulations
of the Commission.
In light of these circumstances, the State had an obligation not only
to adopt the protective measures sought by the Commission, but to conduct
a serious, thorough, and impartial investigation into the serious threats
and acts reported. It should
be borne in mind that the Inter-American Court requested, in a decision related
to provisional measures, that the State in question adopt “effective measures
to investigate the acts reported, and, as appropriate,
to sanction the perpetrators” as “an essential component of the right
to protection” imposed by the American Convention.
The State informed the Commission that it had taken steps to protect
the victim’s family, “despite the lack of cooperation of Mrs. Concepción Peredo
de Valderrama;” and the petitioners
questioned the effectiveness and seriousness of these measures. In the view of the IACHR, an important element in the adoption
of protective measures consists of consulting with the persons to receive
protection in order to determine the most appropriate action in the specific
case. The Commission has explicitly
formulated in those terms its recent requests for precautionary measures to
OAS member States. In this case,
there was no evidence of this consultation, although it is not clear whether
this was due to a lack of initiative on the part of the authorities of the
Federal District investigative police or to the lack of trust on the part
of the persons who were supposed to receive protection.
It should be pointed out that the State did not provide any information
on the action taken to investigate the threats, despite the repeated complaints
filed by the petitioners in this regard.
In one of its letters to the IACHR, the State even denied that the
family had ever reported the threats in Mexico, something that was contradicted
by the documents submitted by Mrs. Valderrama, and there is nothing in the
record that casts doubt on the validity of these documents.
With regard to the attack on Uriel Peredo Valderrama in June 1989 allegedly
at the hands of the investigative police, the State did not provide any information
either to indicate that the incident had been investigated.
On the contrary, it merely dismissed it as being “unfounded and subjective.”
The Commission holds the view that, in the context of the present case,
the fear and mistrust by the Peredo Valderrama family of the Federal District
investigative police are reasonable.
In this regard, it has been reiterated throughout this report that
Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz was located in July 1988 by the family of the victim,
when there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and that he managed
to escape with the assistance of the very police officers who were at the
scene. This serious incident
took place in the area where the Aguilar Díaz family lived and had its business,
one and a half years after the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
In light of the foregoing, in addition to the situation created by
the stymied investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, the
IACHR thinks that the failure to investigate repeated threats against the
Peredo Valderrama family is an additional violation of the rights of these
persons to judicial guarantees and to judicial protection, pursuant to the
duty to provide protection imposed by Article 1(1) of the American Convention.
ACTIONS FOLLOWING REPORT Nº 92/99
109. On September
28, 1999, the Commission adopted Report Nº 92/99 in this case, pursuant to
Article 50 of the American Convention, and it transmitted it to the Mexican
State with the corresponding recommendations. The State’s comments of December
3, 1999, began as follows:
of all, the Government of Mexico wishes to note that the petitioners appear
unaware of the efforts that have been made to resolve this matter. These efforts
have been constant and if reaching a final result has taken time, this is
because of the very nature of the case.
the question of whether the delay was reasonable, the State quoted the Inter-American
Court’s jurisprudence in the Genie Lacayo Case
and went on to note that:
delay was thus caused by the time spent searching for the suspects, at home
and abroad, arresting them, and extraditing one of them from Switzerland,
the time taken by the initial criminal trial and the appeal, the time taken
to process and rule on the amparo
proceedings filed by the accused, together with the different obstacles placed
by the accused to prevent their sentencing, the elimination of which has been
complex and time-consuming.
this in mind, the Government of Mexico rejects any and all allegations that
it has voluntarily delayed the proceedings.
into further detail on this point, the Inter-American Court has said that:
addition to the examination of possible delays at the various stages of the
proceeding, in determining what constitutes a reasonable time throughout the
entire process, the European Court has employed what it refers to as a global
analysis of the proceeding.” (Genie Lacayo Case, Ibid.,
global analysis shows that the time taken should not be used as an indication
of the authorities’ effectiveness, particularly when they have been making
constant efforts to resolve the matter.
111. With regard
to the Commission’s recommendations in Report 92/99, the State again reported
that the Aguilar Díaz brothers, Sergio and Pedro Horacio, were convicted of
the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama in June 1998 and ordered to pay “the
fine covering reparations.” It also noted that under the amparo
suits filed by the Aguilar Díaz brothers’ lawyers on August 21, 1998, the
“rearrest warrants” were suspended pending resolution of those relief proceedings.
Similarly, the State repeated what it said during the processing of this case
regarding the procedural situation of Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz. It added
that his conviction by the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District
was appealed against on August 13, 1999, and “is pending resolution.”
112. The recommendation that the harassment suffered by
the Peredo Valderrama family be investigated and punished in accordance with
law was commented on by the Mexican State in the following terms:
Several national agencies, such as the National Commission on Human Rights,
have at all times been available to the Peredo Valderrama family, through
which they could have entreated the competent authorities to adopt precautionary
the recommendation that any crimes committed against the administration of
justice in this case be investigated and punished, the State repeated the
information regarding the preparation of criminal suit 11/99
and noted that “the steps necessary to determine how the law applies are currently
114. The IACHR’s
third recommendation said that the Peredo Valderrama family should receive
adequate compensation for the violations described in this report. In connection
with this, the State offered its comments and conclusions:
The Mexican authorities cannot speed up proceedings to the detriment of
the defendants’ rights to defense and due legal process. In addition, with
full respect for the principle of an independent judiciary, neither can the
State influence the substance of decisions made by the courts.
To conclude, the matter will arrive at its final stage once the amparo
proceedings filed by the accused have been resolved; hence, the petitioners’
claims that make the matter out as being finalized and totally concluded are
not only meaningless, but also reveal a clear bias.
From this it follows that domestic remedies are still operating and, consequently,
the objections alleging a failure to exhaust said remedies are inadmissible.
Hence, and on the basis of this document’s contents, the State believes that
the case should be filed since there has been no violation of rights protected
by the American Convention on Human Rights.
Finally, the Government of Mexico would like to point out the following:
The Inter-American Commission is perfectly aware of each and every measure
and effort made by the Government of Mexico to resolve this case. The Commission
is also aware of the difficulties it has entailed, together with the nature
of those difficulties, the elimination of which has necessarily been very
complex and time-consuming.
The Government of Mexico agreed to a friendly settlement of the case and
took the necessary steps for enforcing it with good faith, transparency, and
commitment. Nevertheless, in the final stages and at a time when the agreement
was practically finalized, the petitioners decided to withdraw from the process
and to ask the Commission to issue the report to which this is a reply. While
their withdrawal is formally allowed, in the Mexican Government’s opinion
it was an nontransparent development that could well reflect a different interest
or go beyond the resolution of the case in hand.
For the Government, developments of this kind are disappointing and they
discourage cooperation with the Commission and the petitioners. The Mexican
authorities will continue to spare no efforts, but in accordance with domestic
legal procedures, pursuant to the terms and provisions set by Mexican law,
and according to the decisions handed down by the judges hearing this case.
115. In this
report the Commission has analyzed the scope of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American
and European human rights systems to determine whether the time the investigations
took to establish the details of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s murder, identify
the perpetrators, and punish them in accordance with due legal process was
reasonable or not.
during the processing of this case nor in its reply to Report 92/99 did the
Mexican State dispute one relevant fact that has been cited several times
in this report: the complicity of the judicial police when Pedro Horacio Aguilar
Díaz escaped arrest in 1988.
The Commission holds that this grave event in itself justifies a serious
investigation of the possible involvement of other State agents in the failure
to establish the facts of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s homicide and the resulting
impunity enjoyed by his killers. However, the Mexican State provided the Commission
with no information indicating whether or not such an investigation has been
117. In addition
to omitting information about the incidents described in the previous paragraph,
the Mexican State’s “global analysis of the proceeding” offers no explanation
of what occurred between December 1986 and early 1996, when, with only a few
months separating them, the three individuals accused of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s
murder were imprisoned. The “authorities’ effectiveness” cannot be assessed
without considering the serious crime committed by the agents of the State
by thwarting the capture of one of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s suspected killers
118. For the
same reason, the IACHR does not agree with the general claim that “the authorities
. . . have been making constant efforts to resolve the matter.”
Throughout this report the Commission has emphasized and expressed its satisfaction
with the positive results attained during the friendly settlement process,
including the extradition of one of the suspects from Switzerland. Nevertheless,
it was precisely the global analysis of the proceedings that made the IACHR
aware of the violations committed by the agents of the Mexican State in obstructing
the investigation and of the unwarranted delay that ultimately gave rise to
the denial of justice and the failure to compensate Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s
family. This situation still prevails today and, as indicated by the Mexican
State’s reply, the authorities have taken no steps to remedy it.
119. The State
offered some specific thoughts regarding the friendly settlement procedure,
which are reproduced in full above. In this regard, the Commission feels the
need to note that the procedure set forth in Article 48(1)(f) of the American
Convention presupposes that the mutual consent of the parties is an indispensable
element therein. The petitioners in this case exercised their right to withdraw
at any point in the proceedings; the other party, the Mexican State, enjoyed
the same right at all times. The Commission’s role in the friendly settlement
process is not restricted to observing the parties’ actions; instead, it is
there to actively encourage them.
More importantly, the IACHR is obliged to ensure that the friendly
settlement is reached with respect toward the human rights enshrined in the
American Convention, which was not possible in the case at hand.
The Commission could
not therefore consider this case settled even were the parties to agree to
such a resolution, since it is clear that the positive developments brought
about through the intervention of officials from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the good will of the petitioners have not been effective in ending
the impunity, the denial of justice, and the failure to compensate those violations.
In this report, the IACHR has evaluated the allegations of the parties
based on fact and law, linked to the investigation into the murder of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama. The analysis
shows that the judicial proceedings were vitiated by numerous irregularities,
and that they have gone well beyond the length of time that can be considered
reasonable. In fact, almost thirteen
years after the perpetration of the crime, no final sentence has been imposed
on the persons actually responsible for the crime, the irregularities mentioned
have not been duly investigated, and the relatives of the victim have not
been compensated for losses sustained.
The passage of time has clearly benefited the killers of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama, and has led to the denial of justice and of compensation to the
relatives, who have endured additional suffering because of the failure to
investigate the threats reported in connection with the case.
The Commission concludes that the State violated, to the detriment
of the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, the right to judicial guarantees
and judicial protection, protected by Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention,
with respect to its general obligation to respect and guarantee the rights
provided for in Article 1(1) of this Convention.
On the other hand, the IACHR record in this case contains no elements
to find responsibility of the Mexican State for violation of the right to
life, personal integrity, or equal protection of the law.
Based on the analysis and conclusions contained in this report,
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS REITERATES TO THE MEXICAN
STATE THE FOLLOWING RECCOMMENDATIONS:
Conduct a complete, impartial, and effective investigation to determine
the criminal responsibility of all those involved in the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama, and into the harassment subsequently endured by his family.
Conduct a complete, impartial, and effective investigation to determine
whether there was any cover-up and crimes related to the administration of
justice that have prevented a full investigation into the acts that led to
this report; and, if necessary, impose the appropriate criminal, administrative,
and/or disciplinary sanctions.
Provide adequate compensation to the relatives of the Pedro Peredo
Valderrama family for the human rights violations established herein.
On February 24, 2000, the Commission sent Report Nº 3/00 --the text
of which is above-- to the Mexican State and to the petitioners, in keeping
with Article 51(2) of the American Convention; and it set a deadline of one
month for the State to comply with the foregoing recommendations.
On March 24, 2000, the State sent a letter to the Commission in which
it reiterated several of the considerations on the facts and the law it had
expressed during the processing of this case, and which the IACHR has analyzed
at the appropriate procedural stage.
Pursuant to Article 51(2), at this stage the Commission must evaluate
the measures adopted by the Mexican State to comply with the recommendations
and to make reparations for the violations established herein.
125. With respect
to the first of the recommendations above, the State makes a summary of the
judicial proceedings carried out between 1986 and 1999, and it points out
that the decision is still pending on the amparo
writs filed by the brothers Sergio, Pedro Horacio and Israel Roberto
Aguilar Díaz, in the respective trials.
The State adds that “the Peredo Valderrama family still has available
several remedies at the domestic level, such as the National Commission on
Human Rights, to request, if appropriate, the adoption of precautionary measures”
and that the General Directorate for Human Rights of the Office of the Public
Prosecutor of the Federal District (PGJDF) “was instructed specifically to
establish personal contact with Ms. María Concepción Peredo Viuda de Valderrama,
with the purpose of taking the appropriate measures with respect to the alleged
harassment”. As to the second
recommendation, the State has provided no information on measures of compliance
after report Nº 3/00 was adopted. Finally,
with respect to reparations, the State mentions that the sentence issued in
the case of Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz orders them to “jointly
cover the amount of $ 22,046.00 Mexican pesos for reparations”; and that for
the same concept, Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz was ordered to pay $24.966.00
Mexican pesos. In its “final considerations” the State affirms that “the case
is not closed” and that “it is necessary to wait for the Federal Judiciary
to decide the writs of amparo” presented
by the brothers Aguilar Díaz.
The information available to the IACHR shows that the recommendations
set forth in Report Nº 3/00 have not yet been complied with. Accordingly,
and pursuant to Articles 51(3) of the American Convention and 48 of the Commission’s
Regulations, the Commission decides: to reiterate the conclusions and recommendations
contained in Chapters VI and VII supra; to publish this report; and to include it in the Commission’s
Annual Report to the General Assembly of the OAS.
Pursuant to the provisions contained in the instruments governing its
mandate, the IACHR will continue to evaluate the measures taken by the Mexican
State with respect to those recommendations, until the State has fully complied
Approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on April
13, 2000. (Signed) Hélio Bicudo, Chairman; Claudio Grossman, First Vice-Chairman;
Juan Méndez, Second Vice-chairman; Marta Altolaguirre, Robert Goldman, Peter
Laurie and Julio Prado Vallejo Commissioners.
 In this regard, see the IACHR
1996, 1997, and 1998 Annual Reports, Chapter III “The system of individual
petitions and cases.”
 The Mexican State deposited
its instrument of ratification of the American Convention on April 3,
 Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, Velásquez Rodríguez Case, July 29, 1988,
para. 172. See also,
in that regard, Asdrúbal Aguiar, Derechos humanos y responsabilidad internacional del Estado [Human
rights and the international responsibility of the State].
Monte Avila Editores Latinoamericana/Universidad
Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela, 1997, para. 359, page 202.
 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Advisory Opinion
OC-4/84 of January 19, 1984 (Proposed Amendment to the Naturalization
Provisions of the Constitution of Costa Rica), (Series A) No. 4 (1984),
 In that regard, see the IACHR
1997 Annual Report, Report Nº 8/98 (Case 11.671 – Carlos García Saccone),
Argentina, OAS/Ser. L/V/II.98 Doc. 6, rev., April 13, 1998, paras. 38-43.
 See, for example, the IACHR 1997 Annual Report, Report Nº
3/98 (Case 11.221 – Tarcisio Medina Charry), Colombia, OEA/Ser. L/V/II.98
Doc 6 rev., April 13, 1998, para 80.
 IACHR 1995 Annual Report,
Report Nº 5/96 (Case 10.970 – Fernando and Raquel Mejía), Peru, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.91
Doc. 7 rev., February 28, 1996.
 Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, Velásquez Rodriguez case, Sentence of August 29, 1988,
 I-A Court, Villagrán Morales et al case (The “street children case”), Judgment of November 19,
1999, paras. 227 and 228.
 See for example, IACHR 1997 Annual Report, report Nº 52/97,
Case 11.218 (Arges Sequeira Mangas), Nicaragua, OEA/Ser. L/V/II.98 Doc.
6 Rev., April 13, 1998, paras 96 and 97.
The IACHR has also said that:
that no one has been convicted in the case or that, despite the efforts
made, it was impossible to establish the facts does not constitute a failure
to fulfil the obligation to investigate. However, in order to establish
in a convincing and credible manner that this result was not the product
of a mechanical implementation of certain procedural formalities without
the State genuinely seeking the truth, the State must show that it carried
out an immediate, exhaustive, serious, and impartial investigation.
IACHR, 1997 Annual Report, Report Nº 55/97 (Juan Carlos
Abella et al), Argentina, para
412, page 375.
In this regard see the IACHR,1997 Annual report, Report Nº 48/97, Case
11.411 (Severiano Santíz Gómez et
al – “Ejido Morelia”), Mexico, para 50, page 647; and Report Nº 49/97,
Case 11.520 (Tomás Porfirio Rondin et
al – “Aguas Blancas Massacre”), Mexico, para 67, page 674.
Also, the IACHR 1998 Annual Report, Report Nº 48/99 (Case 10.545
– Clemente Ayala Torres et al),
Mexico, paras 127-130; and Report Nº 50/99 (Case 11.739 – Héctor Félix
Miranda,) Mexico, paras, 34 and 35.
 In this regard, see IACHR
Annual Report 1995, Report Nº 10/95 (Case 10.580), Ecuador, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.91
Doc. 7 rev., February 28, 1995, paras 46 and 48. In that report, the Commission notes that despite the fact
that the investigation by the Ecuaradorean authorities lasted almost three
years, all possible avenues
for determining the truth had not been exhausted.
Furthermore, the Commission concluded that the investigation was
inadequate, which, in addition to the excessive delay, resulted in the
violation of the right to justice and to determination of the truth regarding
the whereabouts of the victim.
 Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, Case of Genie Lacayo, sentence of January 29, 1997, para. 77.
 In their complaint of November
16, 1992, the petitioners describe the initial phase of the proceedings
The accused appeared to provide a statement to the official
in the Office of the Public Prosecutor, head of the processing unit Nº
17 of the central division of the Office of the PGJDF, under the protection
of the federal justice system, since they had instituted proceedings for
the protection of their civil rights, and they had been granted a temporary
suspension, and with that, they went to the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
that occasion, they were accompanied by Lic. Ernesto Aguilar Apis and
Dr. Ernesto Aguilar Cordero, the cousin and paternal uncle of the accused
respectively, who were, at that time, federal representatives for the
XXIV electoral district (at the moment, the cousin is a council member
for the XXIV electoral district).
Since that time, a change was noted in the behavior of
the judicial authorities towards the family of the deceased, and
they even went so far as to shout at them each time they went to find
out how the investigation was proceeding.
 With regard to this obligation,
the inter-American Court has stated:
An investigation must have an objective and be assumed
by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests
that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their
offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government
This is true regardless of what agent is eventually found responsible
for the violation. Where
the acts of private parties that violate the Convention are no seriously
investigated, those parties are aided in a sense by the government, thereby
making the State responsible on the international plane.
Court of Human Rights, Velásquez Rodríguez case, Sentence of July 29,
1988, para. 176.
 The incident was related by
the petitioners as follows:
At the eighth district headquarters, headed at that time
by Commander Felix Chávez
Pérez, together with the officers under his supervision, at 9 p.m. on
July 26, 1988, members of the Peredo Valderrama family provided information
regarding the whereabouts of C. Pedro Aguilar Díaz, after the closing
of “El Bosque” bar (owned by his father), located at Nº 471 Calzada Xochimilco
Tuyehualco, on one side of the Nativitas woods, in Xochimilco, Federal
District, so that he could be arrested.
He was in his red Volkswagen sedan vehicle, license plate 413-BRX,
identified by the relatives of the deceased who asked that the individual
be stopped and his identification requested.
This was done, and after identifying himself, he presented identification
that showed him to be one of the persons against whom charges has been
made by the Peredo Valderrama family.
Despite the fact that this individual had been fully
identified, since the relatives of
the deceased had been persistent in their calls for justice from
the investigative police, Commander Félix Chávez Pérez and his colleagues
asked the uncle of the deceased, since he was the one who took them to
the scene, ex profeso, so that the arrest could be made, to go to his car to
get a tool to open the windows of the car,
since the occupant had refused to open the car for them and had
locked it. In trying to respond to the request of the investigative police,
the officers let the killer escape by moving out of his way and blocking
the path of the uncle of the deceased so that he could not follow him.
The patrol car was gray in color, with license plate 189-DRM.
This incident is contained in the documentation prepared
at the internal inspection unit of the Investigative Police, under the
Number 39/88, headed at that time by Commander José Garay Márquez, internal
inspector, dated July 27, 1988.
of July 14, 19994, from Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama and the Vitoria
Center to the President of the Federal District Human Rights Commission.
 The evidence that was rejected
by the judge includes, according the petitioners, the statement by complainant
Carlos Valderrama Rosas, the testimony provided by Erick Peredo Valderrama,
the “deposition” from Uriel Peredo Valderrama, the testimony from José
Luis Valderrama Rosas and José Encarnación Rosas, the report from investigative
police officer Enrique Montes, the statements of
Florencia Ramírez Barrón, Fidelia López Sánchez, Ernesto and Enrique
Aguilar Najera, Carlos Rioja Walberg, Demetrio Catalán Escobar, and María
Garcia Vázquez, the medical certificate signed by Dr. Miguel Angel Molina
Soriano, the identification of the body, the list of injuries and partial
identification data pertaining to Pedro Peredo Valderrama prepared by
the investigating entity, the chemical/forensic report issued by expert
Arturo Martínez Hernández, the post-mortem certificate signed by medical
forensic experts Ramón Fernández Cáceres and Roberto Cervera Aguilar,
the criminal field report and photograph signed by experts Manuel León
Mendoza and Mario López Reyes, the list of clothing prepared by the investigating
Office of the Public Prosecutor, and the list of partial identification
data of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Diaz, prepared by the social
 Albores Jenao, Page 4603, Volume
LXXX, June 30, 1994, 4 opinions.
 The inter-American Court has
stated repeatedly that it “has attributions, not to investigate and punish
individual conduct, but to establish the international responsibility
of states as a result of human rights violations” (I-A Court, Villagrán
Morales et al case Judgment
of November 19, 1999, para. 223. The IACHR has analogous attributions
under the procedure set forth in Articles 44 to 51 of the American Convention.
 Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, Case of Velásquez Rodríguez, paras. 172 and 176.
 The IACHR has expressed its
concern on the problem of impunity in Mexico at the end of its on-site
visit to that country:
The Commission believes that to strengthen the rule of
law arbitrary acts must be condemned and their perpetrators punished.
On the basis of the information it received, the IACHR was able
to determine that impunity is still a serious problem despite the prosecution
and dismissal of some public officials who have violated human rights...The
IACHR will continue to insist that the fight against impunity is an essential
component in achieving public security and is an internationally recognized
obligation under Article 1 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
Press release Nº 15/96 issued by the Commission on July
24, 1996. Those considerations
were further developed by the IACHR in its Report on the situation
of human rights in Mexico, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.100 Doc. 7 rev.1, September
24, 1998, pars. 357 to 392. In
that regard, a recent report on the judicial investigation into alleged
human rights violations in
It is clear that time plays an important role in impunity
in Mexico, because the justice system’s slowness in prosecuting perpetrators
allows them to flee, valuable evidence is lost, or family members and
human rights groups are forced to give up.
Rights Watch, Systemic Injustice: Torture, “Disappearance”, and Extrajudicial
Execution in Mexico, January 1999, page 20.
 Communication forwarded by
the Executive Secretary of the IACHR on October 18, 1996 to the Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
 In their letter dated May
1, 1996, the petitioners describe the capture of Israel Aguilar Díaz as
“highly encouraging”, but they requested information on the following
date of the arrest;
specific place of arrest;
manner in which the Mexican authorities
learned that Aguilar Díaz was in Switzerland ;
who carried out the arrest;
whether or not he was arrested for
the aggravated murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama;
place where he is currently detained;
specific actions taken toward extradition;
whether the extradition is requested
for the aggravated murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama;
whether there is an extradition treaty
between Mexico and Switzerland;
who informed the Mexican authorities
about the arrest.
petitioners reiterated their request for information on the above, because
they considered the State’s responses insufficient.
 In its correspondence of June
11, 1996, the Mexican State requested that the IACHR:
In the exercise of its authority as an conciliatory entity
… stress to Mrs. Valderrama’s
advisors that they should provide their assistance with a view to smooth
progress of the proceedings, conduct themselves in a serious and professional
manner, refrain from telling the authorities how they should perform their
functions, and, in general, contribute to maintaining an atmosphere that
is conducive to the friendly settlement of the case, to the benefit of
the two parties concerned.
petitioners responded, among other things, that their “obligation and
duty” as representatives of Mrs. Valderrama consist of seeking her interest
and reporting actions on the part of the Mexican Government which, in
their view, violate her human rights, such as the delay in the execution
of arrest warrants and the failure to investigate the threats made against
that family. (Correspondence
of July 9, 1996).
 Inter-American Court of Human
Rights, Case of Vogt (Guatemala), Provisional measures, Decision of June
27 1996 (http:\\corteidh.nu.or.cr/ci/) paragraph 5 of the whereas
clause. The provisional measures
in this case were requested as a result of threats targeting Father Daniel
Joseph Vogt, a catholic priest who was performing evangelical work in
the communities in the interior of Guatemala, and who had been threatened
and harassed in various ways for this activity.
The Court analyzed the arguments of the government and the Commission,
and stated that, despite the fact that the government had adopted measures
to protect him, they were “not sufficient or effective,” in relation to
the investigation of the acts. Subsequently,
the IACHR stated that the situation of extreme gravity and urgency that
led to the request for provisional measures no longer existed, and, for
this reason, the Court decided on November 11, 1997 “to lift and terminate”
 The State’s citation is the
same one used in this report by the IACHR in its analysis of whether the
time taken to investigate Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s murder was reasonable
or not. See paragraph 61 above.
 See paragraph 84 above.
 See paragraphs 68, 83, and
 In recent years, the IACHR
has worked toward a number of friendly settlements with the Mexican State
and different petitioners, including the representatives of the Peredo
Valderrama family in the case at hand. In this regard, it should be noted
that one agreement was recently reached, by means of which the State and
the petitioners asked the Commission to conclude proceedings in one individual
case. See IACHR Press Release Nº 29/99, December 3, 1999. The Commission
will continue to actively seek friendly settlements in individual cases
with the respect due to the human rights protected by the American Convention.
 On March 22, 2000 the petitioners sent a letter in which
they informed the IACHR that they had forwarded a copy of Report Nº 3/00
to the Head of the Government of the Federal District, to the President
of the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District and to the President
of the Supreme Court of the Nation, “requesting compliance with the recommendations
in their respective jurisdiction”.
The Secretariat of the Government of the Federal District responded:
Head of the Government of the Federal District shall accept the above
mentioned recommendation for all legal effects…we shall immediately proceed
to analyze the contents of Report Nº 3/00 which you have kindly sent us
in order to implement the pertinent measures within our legal framework,
and we will notify you about it in due course.