July 20, 2005. For its part, the State sent communications on July 27, 2004, November 10, 2004, and October
On April 12, 2007, the Commission wrote to the parties, informing them of his decision,
pursuant to Article 41(1) of its Rules of Procedure in force at the time, to place itself at their disposal with a
view to reaching a friendly settlement. On April 3, 2008, the petitioners wrote, accepting the proposal of the
IACHR to initiate a friendly settlement process. The State, for its part, sent a communication on May 2, 2008,
saying that it was awaiting a friendly settlement proposal from the petitioners.
Following that communication, the IACHR received various communications from the
parties, which it duly forwarded.
On July 28, 2015, the petitioners informed the IACHR of their decision not to continue with
the friendly settlement process, "having not received a concrete proposal at any time during the process.” On
November 9, 2015, the Commission wrote to the parties, saying that it had decided to conclude its
involvement in the friendly settlement process and resume processing the case.
On May 17, 2016, the IACHR requested the petitioners a list of the alleged victims’ relatives.
The list submitted by the petitioners was forwarded to the State. On June 6, 2016, the State submitted a
communication to the Commission indicating it did not have any observations to the list. Guatemala also
stated that “it is holding meetings with the representatives of the victims in order to achieve a friendly
settlement". The IACHR considers that due to its communication of November 9, 2015, its involvement in the
friendly settlement process is concluded. Therefore, the Commission resumed processing the case.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The petitioners claimed that the State of Guatemala bore international responsibility for the
extrajudicial execution of 11 people—including 3 children—and the injuries caused to 29 others. They say
that the incident was caused by personnel of the armed forces of Guatemala on October 5, 1995. They say that
the State has not refuted the incident and that the Historical Clarification Commission referred to it in its
report as the “Xamán Massacre.”
The petitioners explained that those people were living in the community of “Aurora 8 de
Octubre,” which was established in 1994 on the Xamán estate in the Department of Alta Verapaz. They
reported that the community comprised some 90 indigenous families that had previously been living in
Mexico as refugees from the armed conflict in Guatemala, as well as 50 other families that were already living
there. They said that the people who had returned to live in that community had survived massacres in their
own villages of origin in the 1980s during the armed conflict in Guatemala.
As to the admissibility of the case, the petitioners said in their early communications that the
exception to the rule of prior exhaustion of domestic remedies should apply. They said that this was because
the investigation of the facts in the case was carried out in the military criminal jurisdiction, which is contrary
to the American Convention. Subsequently, after the case was transferred to the ordinary courts in 1996, the
petitioners pointed out a variety irregularities, shortcomings, and omissions in the investigation, and said
that the proceeding was unreasonably long. Finally, they argued that remedies were exhausted with the
judgment of July 8, 2004, which convicted a group of the soldiers for the crimes of extrajudicial execution and
grievous bodily harm.
As regards the merits of the case, the petitioners argued that the State violated the rights to
life and humane treatment of the people who were murdered and wounded as a result of the shooting by
members of the armed forces. They said that the rights of the child were also violated because three of those
killed in the massacre were children.