REPORT Nº 109/01*
On May 8, 1993, the corpse of Vidal Segura Hurtado, 23 years of
age, was found in the Las Lomas sector, along the road that runs along the
outskirts of the city of Guayaquil (“vía perimetral”).
His body showed signs of torture and three gunshot wounds in the
forehead. According to data
provided by María Hurtado, at that time her son had faced persecution and
death threats by a member of the National Police.
On November 8, 1994, the Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos
Humanos (“CEDHU”) (hereinafter “the petitioner”) filed a
petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter
“the Commission” or “the IACHR”) against the Republic of Ecuador
(hereinafter “the State”) in which it alleged violations of the
following rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”): the
right to life (Article 4), the right to a fair trial (Article 8), the
right to humane treatment (Article 5), the right to personal liberty
(Article 7), and the right to judicial protection (Article 25), in
violation of the obligations set forth at Article 1(1), to the detriment
of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado.
It is suspected that the death of Vidal Segura Hurtado was related
to Operation “Whip” (Operación “Látigo”), a police
operation begun in 1992-1993 by the Government and carried out by the
Deputy Secretary of the Police, Gen. Guido Núñez, who came to occupy the
post of General Commander of the Police; the purpose was to fight crime.
The day of the events in question, there was extensive press
coverage reporting that 34 criminals had appeared dead along the same road
(known as the “vía perimetral”).
On August 5, 1996, the Government of Ecuador answered the facts
alleged by the petitioner. In that communication, it only attached
documents recording the police work done, in which it is indicated that on
April 4, 1993, at approximately 11 a.m., police agents Luis Miguel Cárdenas
Carpio and Ricardo Enríquez Guzmán, on duty at checkpoint Nº 57 located
at the intersection of Leonidas Plaza and Rosendo Avilés streets, became
aware of the presence of Vidal Segura Hurtado, who, inebriated, was
pressuring the owner of a store facing the checkpoint to hand over a
bottle of liquor. The police
recognized him because an accusation had been lodged against Vidal Segura
Hurtado in the juvenile court (Tribunal de Menores) for assault and
robbery; accordingly, they tried to detain him.
Nonetheless, Vidal Segura Hurtado fled, and the police followed him
along Rosendo Avilés street, and saw him enter the home of attorney
Anabell Yagual. The police
followed him and entered the attorney’s house, for which she lodged a
complaint with the Fourth District of the Police against the above-named
police agents. According to
María Hurtado, the police, once they learned a complaint had been lodged
against them by attorney Yagual, sought to take reprisals against her son.
Regarding these acts, according to the police report, the police
involved were not responsible, and they reaffirmed that Vidal Segura
Hurtado was a criminal with several cases pending against him.
The parties reached a friendly settlement in this case on August
15, 2001. This report briefly
sets forth the facts and the text of the agreement reached, in keeping
with Article 49 of the Convention.
On April 8, 1993, at 2:00 a.m., police agent Ricardo Enríquez and
eight more agents, in civilian dress and heavily armed, broke the door at
the home of Vidal Segura Hurtado and entered, without the
constitutionally-required search warrant.
When the police had searched all the rooms without finding him,
police agent Rodríguez exclaimed, “... tell that black man to take care
of himself, we’re going to turn him around, he saved himself, because if
he had been here right now, he’d be a dead man, because we were going to
apply to him the rule according to which you shoot at those who flee [ley
In the face of this illegal persecution by the two above-mentioned
police agents, according to María Hurtado, Vidal Segura Hurtado went to
live at his grandmother’s house for a few days.
Yet the persecution continued, since the two police agents sought
him out, as they said that they had been sent subpoenas by attorney Yagual,
and that they were going to take revenge on Vidal Segura Hurtado by
killing him. Later, the
police detained a friend of Vidal Segura Hurtado at the prison known as Penitenciaría
del Litoral, to have the friend reveal his whereabouts, which he did. Thereafter, the police went to remove Vidal Segura Hurtado
from the home where he was hiding, and they detained him, beating him
terribly, leading the people of the neighborhood to tell the police not to
beat him, that they too were their mothers’s sons, to which the police
answered, as appears in the complaint, “this guy is a dead man, we were
looking for him a few days ago, he should have been dead a while
ago...”; the police placed Vidal Segura Hurtado in a vehicle and
exclaimed, “this is another who’s going to the perimetral.” Police agent Ricardo Enríquez told someone in the
neighborhood that Vidal Segura Hurtado’s corpse was at the National
Police morgue. And according
to the complaint, the corpse had signs of torture, and three gunshot
wounds to the head.
PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION
The Commission received the complaint in this case on November 8,
1994. On August 5, 1996, the
Government of Ecuador answered the complaint.
On November 25, 1996, CEDHU was sent a copy of the information
provided by the Government of Ecuador.
CEDHU sent its response to the Commission on January 23, 1997, in
which it basically affirmed that as of that date the Government had not
given a truthful account of the facts as to what happened to Vidal Segura
Hurtado on April 4, 1993, and that based on the information provided by
the Government it was concluded that the police had nothing to do with the
matter, and that it could be considered that private persons may have been
according to CEDHU, the Government had done nothing to investigate the
death of Vidal Segura Hurtado or to find the guilty persons.
On March 5, 1999, the Commission placed itself at the disposal of
the parties to pursue a friendly settlement.
On October 19, 1999, the petitioner agreed to pursue a friendly
settlement; it was signed on August 15, 2001, in the presence of
Commissioner Marta Altolaguirre, member of the IACHR and rapporteur for
Ecuador, who had traveled to Quito to facilitate the agreement.
The parties asked the Commission to ratify this friendly settlement
agreement in its entirety, and to supervise its implementation.
THE FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
The friendly settlement agreement signed by the parties reads as
Ecuadorian State, through the Office of the Attorney General, with a view
to promoting and protecting human rights and given the great importance of
the full observance of human rights at this time for the international
image of our country, as the foundation of a just, dignified, democratic,
and representative society, has decided to take a new course in the
evolution of human rights in Ecuador.
Office of the Attorney General has initiated conversations with all
persons who have been victims of human rights violations, aimed at
reaching friendly settlement agreements to provide reparations for the
Ecuadorian State, in strict compliance with the obligations it acquired
upon signing the American Convention on Human Rights and other
international human rights law instruments, is aware that any violation of
an international obligation that has caused damages triggers the duty to
make adequate reparations--monetary reparations and criminal punishment of
the perpetrators being the most just and equitable form. Therefore the
Office of the Attorney General and Mrs. María Almizar Hurtado Villa,
mother, and Mr. Nelson Segura Preciado, father of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado
(deceased), have reached a friendly settlement, pursuant to the provisions
of Articles 48(1)(f) and 49 of the American Convention on Human Rights and
Article 41 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Commission on
following persons were present at the signing of this friendly settlement
For the first party, Dr. Ramón Jiménez Carbo, Attorney General of
the State, as indicated in his appointment and certificate of office,
which are attached as qualifying documents;
For the second party Mrs. María Almizar Hurtado Villa, with
citizen identification number 090492558-3, mother of Mr. Vidal Segura
Hurtado, deceased, which is attached hereto as a qualifying document.
STATE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCEPTANCE
Ecuadorian State acknowledges its international responsibility for having
violated the human rights of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado, recognized in
Article 4 (right to life), Article 8 (right to a fair trial), Article 5
(right to humane treatment), Article 7 (right to personal liberty), and
Article 25 (right to judicial protection), in relation to the general
obligation contained in Article 1(1) of the American Convention on Human
Rights and other international instruments, considering that the
violations were committed by State agents, which could not be disproved by
the State, giving rise to State responsibility.
the above, the Ecuadorian State accepts the facts in case Nº 11.632
before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and undertakes the
necessary reparative steps to compensate the victims, or their successors,
for the damages caused by those violations.
view of the foregoing, the Ecuadorian State, through the Attorney General,
as the sole judicial representative of the Ecuadorian State, pursuant to
Article 215 of the Constitution of Ecuador, enacted in Official Register Nº
1 and in force since August 11, 1998, is awarding Mrs. María Almizar
Hurtado Villa, with citizen identification number 090492558-3, mother of
Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado (deceased), a one-time compensatory payment in
the amount of thirty thousand US dollars (US$ 30,000), to be paid from the
compensation covers the consequential damages, loss of income, and moral
damages suffered by Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado, as well as any other claims
that Mrs. María Almizar Hurtado Villa and Mr. Nelson Segura Preciado, the
parents of Mr. Vidal Segura Hurtado (deceased), or their family members,
may have regarding the subject of this agreement, under domestic and
international law, and is chargeable to the National Budget. To this end,
the Office of the Attorney General will notify the Ministry of Economy and
Finance, for it to carry out this obligation.
PUNISHMENT OF THE PERSONS RESPONSIBLE
Ecuadorian State pledges to bring civil and criminal proceedings and
pursue administrative sanctions against those persons who are alleged to
have participated in the violation in the performance of State functions
or under the color of public authority.
Office of the Attorney General pledges to encourage the State Attorney
General, the competent judicial organs, and public agencies or private
institutions to contribute legal evidence to determine the liability of
those persons. If admissible, the prosecution will be subject to the
constitution and laws of the Ecuadorian State.
RIGHT TO SEEK INDEMNITY
Ecuadorian State reserves the right to seek indemnity, pursuant to Article
22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, from those persons
found responsible for human rights violations through a final and firm
judgment handed down by the country’s courts or when administrative
liability is found, in keeping with Article 8 of the American Convention
on Human Rights.
TAX EXEMPTION AND DELAY IN COMPLIANCE
payment made by the Ecuadorian State to the other party to this agreement
is not subject to any current or future taxes.
Ecuadorian State, through the Office of the Attorney General, agrees to
report every three months to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
on compliance with the obligations assumed by the State in this friendly
keeping with its consistent practice and obligations under the American
Convention, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will oversee
compliance with this agreement.
compensatory damages that the Ecuadorian State is awarding to Mr. Vidal
Segura Hurtado are provided for in Articles 22 and 24 of the Constitution
of the Republic of Ecuador, for violation of the constitution, other
national laws, and the standards in the American Convention on Human
Rights and other international human rights instruments.
friendly settlement is entered into based on respect for the human rights
enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights and other
international human rights instruments and on the policy of the Government
of Ecuador to respect and protect human rights.
NOTIFICATION AND CONFIRMATION
María Almizar Hurtado Villa specifically authorizes the Attorney General
to notify the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of this friendly
settlement agreement, so that the Commission may confirm and ratify it in
parties to this agreement freely and voluntarily express their conformity
with and their acceptance of the content of the preceding clauses and
state for the record that they hereby end the dispute before the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the international
responsibility of the State for violating the rights of Mr. Vidal Segura
DETERMINATION OF COMPATIBILITY AND COMPLIANCE
Commission determined that the foregoing friendly settlement agreement is
compatible with the provisions of Article 48(1)(f) of the American
Commission values the signing of a friendly settlement agreement in the
terms of the American Convention, on which the State and petitioner
IACHR will continue to monitor compliance with the commitment assumed by
Ecuador regarding the proceedings to be brought against the persons
implicated in the events alleged.
IACHR ratifies that the option of friendly settlement provided for in the
American Convention makes it possible to terminate individual cases in a
non-contentious manner, and has proven, in cases regarding several
countries, to be an important procedure for resolving alleged violations
that can be used by both parties (petitioner and State).
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To certify compliance by the State with the payment of US$ 30,000
to the petitioner in this case as compensation.
To remind the State that it must fully implement the friendly
settlement agreement, bringing judicial proceedings against the persons
implicated in the violations alleged.
To continue to monitor and supervise compliance with each and every
one of the points of the friendly settlement agreement, and, in this
context, to remind the State, through the Office of the Attorney General,
of its commitment to report to the IACHR every three months on compliance
with the obligations assumed by the State under this friendly settlement.
To make this report public and include it in its Annual Report to
the OAS General Assembly.
Done and signed at the headquarters of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in the city of Washington, D.C., October 11, 2001. (Signed): Claudio Grossman, President; Juan E. Méndez, First Vice-President; Marta Altolaguirre, Second Vice-President; Commissioners Hélio Bicudo, Robert K. Goldman, and Peter Laurie.
Commissioner Julio Prado Vallejo, of Ecuadorian nationality, did not
participate in the discussion
of this case, in keeping with Article 17 of the Commission’s Rules