REPORT No. 13/19
CASE 12.268
REPORT ON MERITS
GONZALO CORTEZ ESPINOZA
ECUADOR
February 12, 2019
I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
On March 29, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Commission",
"Inter-American Commission", or "the IACHR") received a petition lodged by the Human Rights Clinic of the
Faculty of Jurisprudence of the Catholic University of Ecuador (hereinafter "the petitioner"), alleging the
responsibility of the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter "the Ecuadorian State" or "Ecuador") for harm done to
Gonzalo Cortez Espinoza by the two detentions served on him in 1997 and 2000, alleged acts of torture, and
violations of due process.
2.
The Commission approved admissibility report No. 148/11 on November 1, 2011.1 On November 9,
2011, the Commission notified the parties of that report and placed itself at their disposal with a view to
reaching a friendly settlement. The parties were allowed time, in accordance with regulations, to submit
additional observations on the merits. All the information received was duly relayed between the parties.
II.

POSITION OF THE PARTIES

A.

Petitioner:

3.
The petitioner argued that the State was internationally responsible for the two detentions of Gonzalo
Cortez Espinoza, in 1997 and 2000, which it deemed illegal, and for violations of due process in connection
with criminal proceedings instituted against him on charges of theft.
4.
With regard to the alleged violation of the right to personal liberty, the petitioner alleged that Mr. Cortez
had been detained by State agents in 1997 without an arrest warrant and with no evidence attesting flagrante
delicto. The petitioner pointed out that the arrest warrant was issued five days after his detention. The
petitioner further alleged that Mr. Cortez was detained a second time, without an arrest warrant and without
his being in flagrante delicto, in 2000. It alleged that on neither occasion was he brought before a competent
authority and habeas corpus writs were to no avail.
5.
As regards the alleged violation of the right to personal integrity, the petitioner alleged that during his
first detention Mr. Cortez has been subjected to acts of torture. It indicated that he had been held
incommunicado for almost 20 days. It pointed out that, repeatedly, he had not been allowed to sleep by guards
kicking the door of his cell. The petitioner added that on several occasions the food he was given had been
chewed and spat out.
6.
Concerning the alleged violation of rights to due process and judicial protection, the petitioner alleged
that criminal proceedings had initially been brought before the military jurisdiction even though Mr. Cortez
was a civilian. It indicated that that contravene the right to be heard by a competent judge. The petitioner added
that Mr. Cortez's right to defense had been impaired inasmuch as he was held incommunicado, with no access
to his attorneys. The petitioner also stated that the criminal proceedings, even after they were conducted, in an
ordinary law court, took an unwarranted amount of time.
7.
As for the right to private property, the petitioner held that Mr. Cortez had been required to pay bond set
illegally in order to gain his release. The petitioner indicated that, since the second instance court in the military
criminal jurisdiction had ordered the lifting of precautionary measures as a result of the proceedings being
1

IACHR. Report No. 148/11. Case 12.268. Admissibility. Gonzalo Cortez Espinoza. Ecuador. November 1, 2011.
1

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