REPORT No. 118/18
CASE 12.890
MERITS
JOSÉ GREGORIO MOTA ABARULLO AND OTHERS
(DEATHS AT THE SAN FÉLIX PRISON)
VENEZUELA
OCTOBER 5, 2018

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 12, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Inter-American Commission", "the Commission" or "the IACHR") received a petition filed by the Observatorio
Venezolano de Prisiones (hereinafter "the petitioners") 1 alleging the international responsibility of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “the Venezuelan State", "the State" or "Venezuela") to the
detriment of José Gregorio Mota Abarullo, Johan José Correa, Gabriel de Jesús Yáñez Sánchez, Rafael Antonio
Parra Herrera and Cristián Arnaldo Molina Córdova.
2.
The Commission adopted Admissibility Report No. 91/12 on November 8, 2012. 2 On
November 20, 2012, the Commission notified this report to the parties and placed itself at their disposal in
order to reach a friendly settlement. The parties enjoyed the time periods provided for in the IACHR’s Rules of
Procedure to present additional observations on the merits. The State did not present observations at the
merits stage. All information received was duly transmitted between the parties.
3.
The petitioners argued that the alleged victims, inmates in a juvenile detention center, died on
June 30, 2005, in a fire inside their cell, attributable to the actions and omission of state authorities. They also
alleged a lack of due diligence in the investigation and delay in trying the case, as well as violations of the
personal integrity of their family members.
4.
The State did not present arguments at the merits stage. However, it is clear from its position
at the admissibility stage that it denies international responsibility for the deaths, arguing that it did not fail in
its duty of prevention. Regarding judicial guarantees and judicial protection, it argued that criminal
proceedings are still ongoing.
5.
Based on the findings of fact and law, the Inter-American Commission concluded that the State
is responsible for the violation of Articles 4.1 (life), 5.1, 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6 (personal integrity), 8.1 (judicial
guarantees) and 25.1 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights, in relation to the
obligations established in Articles 1.1 and 19 of the same instrument. The Commission issued the respective
recommendations.
II.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

PETITIONERS

6.
The petitioners alleged that José Gregorio Mota Abarullo, Gabriel de Jesús Yáñez Sánchez,
Rafael Antonio Parra Herrera, Cristián Arnaldo Molina Córdova and Johan José Correa were inmates of the
“Monsignor Juan José Bernal” Diagnostic and Treatment Center, attached to the National Institute for Attention
to Minors (INAM), ("the center" or "INAM-San Félix"), in the state of Bolívar. They reported that on June 30,
2005, at approximately 4:30 p.m., there was a fire in cell No. 4, as a result of which the five above-mentioned
individuals died of burns and suffocation.

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice subsequently joined as a petitioner.
IACHR. Report No. 91/12. Case 12.890. Admissibility. José Gregorio Mota Abarullo et al. (Deaths at the San Félix Prison) (Venezuela).
November 8, 2012. Admissible articles: 4, 5, 8, 19, and 25.
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