REPORT No. 60/18
CASE 12.709
MERITS
JUAN CARLOS FLORES BEDREGAL AND FAMILY
BOLIVIA
May 8, 2018

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On June 14, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission," or "the IACHR") received a petition lodged by Olga Flores Bedregal
(hereinafter "the petitioner") in which she alleged international responsibility of the Plurinational State of
Bolivia (hereinafter "the Bolivian State," "the State," or "Bolivia") for the forced disappearance of her brother
Juan Carlos Flores Bedregal in connection with the military coup d’état in July 1980 and for the fact that those
deeds remain unpunished.
2.
The Commission approved the admissibility report No. 65/09 on August 4, 20091. On August
14, 2009, the Commission notified the parties of that report and placed itself at their disposal with a view to
reaching a friendly settlement.2 The parties were informed of the statutory deadlines for submitting additional
observations on the merits. All information received was duly relayed between the parties.
3.
The petitioner alleged that in connection with the military coup in Bolivia in July 1980 the
alleged victim had been disappeared when, in his capacity as leader of the Revolutionary Workers' Party
(Partido Obrero Revolucionario) and alternate national representative in Congress, he had attended a meeting
of the Committee for the Defense of Democracy at the headquarters of the Bolivian Workers Confederation
(Central Obrera Boliviana), when those headquarters were attacked by soldiers and paramilitary forces. She
argued that the State had not fully investigated those facts, had not punished those responsible, and had not
determined the whereabouts of Mr. Flores Bedregal's remains. She also complained that while judicial orders
had been issued to declassify documents and information held by the Armed Forces, which would help to throw
light on the facts and on the whereabouts of the alleged victim, those orders had not been obeyed by the
authorities concerned.
4.
The State, for its part, referred to domestic procedures aimed at investigating the facts and
punishing those responsible. It specified that former de facto President Luís García Meza had been put on trial
to determine his criminal liability for those events, which included what had happened to Juan Carlos Flores
Bedregal, and that García Meza and his collaborators had been convicted. It pointed out that criminal
proceedings were initiated in 1999 regarding the same facts, which ended with a dismissal of proceedings in
respect of some of the accused and with convictions handed down against most of them. Regarding the length
of time taken for domestic proceedings, Bolivia asked the Commission to take into account the complexity of
the case, the actions taken by the judicial authorities, and the filing of a series of remedies and incidental pleas
by the accused. The IACHR argued that the IACHR cannot act as a fourth instance reviewing decisions by
domestic courts.
5.
After analyzing the positions of the parties and the information in the file, the Commission
concluded that the State of Bolivia is responsible for violating the rights to juridical personality, life, personal
integrity, personal liberty, judicial guarantees, freedom of expression, freedom of association, participation in
government/public affairs, and judicial protection set forth in Articles 3, 4.1, 5.1,5.2, 7, 8.1, 13, 16, 23 and 25.1
of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "the American Convention" or "the Convention") in
conjunction with Article 1.1 and 2 of the same instrument and Articles 1.a and b and III of the Inter-American
IACHR Report No. 65/09. Petition 616-06. Admissibility. Juan Carlos Flores Bedregal. Bolivia. The Commission stated that the facts could
characterize violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction with Article 1.1 thereof, as well as
Article I and III of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons (ICFDP). The IACHR declared the petition
inadmissible in respect of Article 24 of the Convention.
2 It transpires from the file that the parties approached one another with a view to a possible friendly settlement process. Given the lack of
information regarding any concrete progress in that direction, in a communication dated September 9, 2015 the IACHR conveyed its
decision to declare an end to its part in that possible process and to continue its consideration of the merits.
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