REPORT No. 120/101
CASE 12.605
MERITS
JOE LUIS CASTILLO GONZÁLEZ ET AL.
VENEZUELA
October 22, 2010
I.

SUMMARY

1.
On March 20, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission” or the “IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Episcopal Vicariate of Human Rights of
Caracas and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) (hereinafter “the petitioners”), which
claimed that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “the State” or “the Venezuelan State”) bore
international responsibility for the killing in 2003 of the human rights defender Joe Luis Castillo González and
the gunshot wounds sustained by his wife, Yelitze Moreno de Castillo, and their son, the child Luis César
Castillo Moreno in the municipality of Machiques de Perijá, State of Zulia.
2.
The petitioners argue that the State is responsible for violation of the rights to life, to
humane treatment, to a fair trial, to freedom of expression, to freedom of association, of the child, and to
judicial protection recognized in Articles 4, 5, 8, 13, 16, 19, and 25 of the American Convention on Human
Rights (hereinafter the “American Convention”), in conjunction with Article 1(1) of the same treaty, to the
detriment of Joe Luis Castillo González, Yelitze Moreno de Castillo, the child Luis César Castillo Moreno, and
their next of kin, based on the conduct of agents of the state and the failure to provide an effective response
insofar as investigation of the attacks is concerned. For its part, the State rejected the claims of the
petitioners regarding the purported violations of rights protected by the American Convention and argued
that the obligation of the State to investigate and punish alleged human rights violations is not an obligation
of result but of means.
3.
Having analyzed the factual and legal arguments put forward by the parties, the Commission
concluded that the State is responsible for violation of Articles 4(1), 5(1), 8(1), 16(1), 19 and 25(1) of the
American Convention on Human Rights, as well as for the failure to discharge the general obligation to
respect and ensure rights recognized in Article 1(1) of said treaty, to the detriment of Joe Luis Castillo
González and his family. The Commission also found insufficient evidence to establish a violation of the right
protected in Article 13 of the American Convention.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION AFTER REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY 22/07

A.

Processing of Case 12.605

4.
After receiving the initial complaint, the Commission decided to open petition 259-06 and
start its processing. On March 9, 2007, after the admissibility procedure, the Commission declared the case
admissible in Report 22/072 in which it declared admissible the alleged violations of the rights to life, to
humane treatment, to a fair trial, to freedom of expression, to freedom of association, of the child, and to
judicial protection recognized in Articles 4, 5, 8, 13, 16, 19, and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction
with Article 1(1) of the same treaty. On March 26, 2007, the Commission forwarded the report on
admissibility to the parties and granted the petitioners two months to present their submissions on merits.
In the same communication, the Commission placed itself at the disposal of the parties with a view to
reaching a friendly settlement of the matter and it requested them to state their interest in that regard as
soon as possible.
1

Pursuant to Article 17(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, a
Venezuelan national, did not participate in the discussion or decision in the present case.
2

IACHR, Report on Admissibility 22/07, Joe Castillo et al., March 9, 2007. Annual Report of the IACHR 2007

Select target paragraph3