REPORT No. 42/14
CASO 12.453
MERITS
OLGA YOLANDA MALDONADO ORDOÑEZ
GUATEMALA
JULY 17, 2014

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On July 15, 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission" or "the IACHR") received a petition submitted by Olga Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez and the
lawyers Dr. Alejandro Sánchez and Dr. Jorge Raúl Rodríguez Ovalle (hereinafter "the petitioners") alleging
that the State of Guatemala (hereinafter "the State" or "the Guatemalan State") had violated Mrs. Maldonado
Ordóñez’ rights to a fair trial and judicial protection following her dismissal from her positions as an educator
and assistant in the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman (Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos).
2.
According to the petitioners, Mrs. Maldonado was dismissed by the Ombudsman based on
charges made by family members that were neither reported to nor investigated by the judicial authorities.
They said that Olga Maldonado challenged her dismissal by invoking the judicial remedy contained in the
Personnel Regulations of the Office of the Ombudsman (Reglamento de Personal de la Oficina del Procurador),
namely an appeal against the dismissal decision to the Court of Appeals in Labor and Social Security Matters
(Corte de Apelaciones de Trabajo y Previsión Social). They said that that organ declared that it lacked
jurisdiction to take up the matter, basing its decision on an interpretation that ran contrary to the
Constitution, which, in the petitioners' opinion, restricted Mrs. Maldonado's right of recourse to justice. They
added that they filed an action of unconstitutionality “in a specific case” in hopes that the Constitutional Court
of the Supreme Court of Justice would order the Court of Appeals in Labor and Social Security Matters to
admit the remedy invoked by Mrs. Maldonado. They said that the Constitutional Court ruled that the motion
was inadmissible merit because an appeal to the Court of Appeals in Labor and Social Security Matters was
not the appropriate mechanism for challenging her dismissal, without indicating, however, what recourse she
should seek. The petitioners said that, thus, Mrs. Maldonado was left bereft of protection.
3.
The State, for its part, contested the facts alleged by the petitioners. In the course of the
merits proceedings before the Commission, the State has altered its position on the remedy that Mrs.
Maldonado should have attempted in challenging her dismissal on a number of occasions. To begin with, it
said that an appeal to the Court of Appeals in Labor and Social Security Matters was not the suitable remedy
and that she had to take her case to the Office of the Inspector General in order to initiate a conciliation
proceeding. Then, it said that she should have filed suit at first instance with the Labor and Social Security
Court (Juzgado de Trabajo y Previsión Social). Finally, the state indicated that an appeal to the Court of
Appeals in Labor and Social Security Matters was the appropriate remedy, as established in the Ombudsman
Personnel Regulations, but that she should have filed an action for amparo, not an action of
unconstitutionality, to have her case reviewed by that organ.
4.
Having examined the information available, the Commission concluded that the State of
Guatemala was responsible for violation of the right to a fair trial, the principle of legality, and the right to
judicial protection recognized in Articles 8.1, 8.2, 9, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention”), in conjunction with Article 1.1 of said
instrument to the detriment of Olga Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION

5.
Olga Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez and the lawyers Alejandro Sánchez and Jorge Raúl
Rodríguez Ovalle lodged the initial petition by means of a communication dated July 15, 2002. The processing

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