June 18, 2013 the petitioners stated that, given the State’s unwillingness, “the conditions for a (…) friendly
settlement procedure do not exist,” and they requested that the Commission continue with the merits phase
of the proceedings.
The petitioners submitted their observations on the merits on June 12 and 18, and on July 18
and 22, 2013. For its part, the State submitted its additional observations on the merits on December 16,
2013. Later, the IACHR received new communications from the petitioners and the State. All of the
communications were duly forwarded to the parties.



Position of the petitioners

The petitioners alleged that the State is responsible for the different acts and omissions that
resulted in the minor children Osmín Ricardo Tobar Ramírez and J.R. being separated from their families in
Guatemala City and put up for intercountry adoption, which broke the brother’s family core. They asserted
that the various administrative and judicial appeals filed by their mother Flor María Ramírez Escobar and the
father of one of them, Gustavo Amílcar Tobar Fajardo, were all unsuccessful. They stated that this situation
arose in the larger context of a significant number of irregular intercountry adoptions in Guatemala. They
underscored that this background has been corroborated by different local organizations and international
The petitioners reported that on January 9, 1997, personnel from the Office of the Attorney
General of Guatemala appeared at the home of Mrs. Ramírez and took the two boys to the “Hogar Asociación
Los Niños de Guatemala” (Child Care Residence of the Guatemala Children's Association) (hereinafter “the
Association Residence”), a State-sponsored institution. They indicated that on August 6, 1997, the Ramírez
boys were judicially declared to have been abandoned without duly justified cause or exhaustion of remedies
to maintain the family unit. They maintained that on May 26, 1998, the boys were given up for adoption to
two families in the United States. They added that the parents personally appeared before the State
authorities to file appeals with respect to the judicial declaration of abandonment in the adoption case, but
failed to obtain an effective response. The domestic proceedings are detailed in the section containing the
established facts.
With respect to the merits of the case, the petitioners asserted that the State violated the
rights to a fair trial and judicial protection of the children and their parents during the proceedings for the
declaration of abandonment and during the adoption process. They stated that the boys were not properly
heard. They maintained that the parents were also denied the opportunity to present their arguments and
defense evidence. They further stated that many of the court orders did not properly state the grounds on
which they were based, and that the parents were not given notice of some of those decisions.
They stated that the parents’ motion for review took an unreasonable length of time to
adjudicate; a motion for review was filed in August 1997 in the proceedings for the declaration of
abandonment, and was still pending when the adoption of the Ramírez boys was ordered. They added that
the motion for review remained pending for an additional, unwarranted period of time after the Ramírez
boys were adopted, and was only granted in November 2000. They stated that, in spite of this fact, the court’s
request to have statements taken from the two U.S. adoptive families was never carried out.
They explained that this was not a complicated matter, that the rights affected required a
rapid solution, and that the parents’ activity was very intense. They maintained that, even though the judicial
declaration of abandonment was set aside, the State took no measures to reestablish contact between the
parents and the children. They explained that the State placed a disproportionate burden on Mr. Tobar by
requiring him to assume the costs of the proceedings to summons the adoptive parents.


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