REPORT No. 57/13 1
PETITION 12.229
ADMISSIBILITY
DIGNA OCHOA ET AL
MEXICO
July 16, 2013
I.

SUMMARY

1.
On November 2, 1999, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter
“Commission,” “Inter-American Commission” or “IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Center for
International Justice and Law (CEJIL) and the National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations “All
Rights for All” [“Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas”], alleging the violation of several rights provided
for in the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “American Convention” or “Convention”),
to the detriment of Digna Ochoa y Plácido, by the United Mexican States (hereinafter “State” or “Mexican
State” or “Mexico”). Initially, the petition was filed in connection with a string of alleged threats and
harassment perpetrated against the “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez” Center for Human Rights (hereinafter
“the PRODH Center”), in particular, for the alleged kidnapping and assaults sustained by Mrs. Digna Ochoa
y Plácido on August 9 and October 28, 1999 respectively, and the failure of the State to effectively
investigate. Following the death of Mrs. Digna Ochoa on October 19, 2001, Mr. Jesús Ochoa y Plácido,
CEJIL and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (hereinafter “the petitioners”) continued in the
proceedings as petitioners and made their case as to the death of Mrs. Digna Ochoa y Plácido and the
failure to effectively investigate and elucidate the truth as to this incident.
2.
During the processing of admissibility, the petitioners contended that the Mexican State
is responsible for the violation of the right to life, to humane treatment, privacy and judicial protection,
as recognized, respectively, in Articles 4, 5, 7, 11, 8 and 25 of the American Convention, all in connection
with Article 1 and 2 of this instrument. Additionally, as a consequence of the alleged abduction of and
assaults on Mr. Digna Ochoa in 1999, they alleged that the State is responsible for the violation of Articles
1, 2 and 3 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. The petitioners assert that
they have pursued and exhausted all available domestic remedies as provided in Article 46 of the
Convention, however, these remedies were not adequate and effective

In response, the State contends that the petition should not be admitted because the
petitioners did not exhaust domestic remedies. Specifically, because they did not challenge the decision
to “not bring criminal action” (no ejercicio de la acción penal), which concluded that the death of Mrs.
Digna Ochoa was a suicide. It further argues that the petitioners are seeking to make the IACHR a “fourth
instance” to hand down a de novo review of the decision taken by the Office of the Public Prosecutor,
which does not state facts that tend to establish violations of the American Convention.
3.

4.
Without prejudice to the merits of the matter, after reviewing the positions of the parties
and in keeping with the requirements set forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the
Commission finds the case admissible for the purpose of examining the alleged violation of the rights
enshrined in Article 5, 8 and 25 of the American Convention, in connection with Article 1.1 of said
1 Pursuant to Article 17.2.a of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, a Mexican
national, did not take part in the discussion or the decision-making process of the instant case.

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