REPORT No. 76/17
CASE 11.686
ADMISSIBITY AND MERITS
ROBERTO GIRÓN AND PEDRO CASTILLO MENDOZA
GUATEMALA
JULY 5, 2017

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On July 111 and August 14, 1996,2 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission,” “the Inter-American Commission” or “the IACHR”) received two petitions
lodged, respectively, by The Magnus F. Hirschfeld Centre for Human Rights and the Instituto de Estudios
Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (Institute for Comparative Studies in Criminal Sciences of
Guatemala) in conjunction with the Centro para la Acción Legal en Derechos Humanos (Centre for Human
Rights Legal Action) (hereinafter “the petitioners.”) The petitions were submitted on behalf of Roberto Girón
and Pedro Castillo Mendoza (hereinafter “the alleged victims”) and alleged the responsibility of the Republic
of Guatemala (hereinafter “the State,” “the Guatemalan State” or “Guatemala”) for sentencing the alleged
victims to the death penalty, in the context of criminal proceedings carried out without due guarantees.
2.
The petitioners argued that several breaches of the due process guarantees were committed
in the frame of the criminal proceedings against the alleged victims for the crime of aggravated rape, which
provides for the death penalty in cases where the victim dies. They alleged that, despite the afore-mentioned,
the alleged victims were executed by firing squad and, therefore, they were subjected to an arbitrary
deprivation of their lives.
3.
The State argued that all due process guarantees were respected in the process against the
alleged victims. It stated that the death penalty sentence was applied for perpetrating a serious crime which
was established by the law in force at the time, and therefore it does not infringe the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention.”)
4.
After analyzing the parties allegations, the Inter-American Commission concluded that the
Guatemalan State is responsible for the violation of the rights enshrined in Articles 4(1,) 4(2) (Life;) 5(1,) 5(2)
(Humane Treatment;), 8(2,) 8(2)(c,) 8(2)(e) (Fair Trial;) and 25(1) (Judicial Protection) of the American
Convention in connection with the obligations set forth in Articles 1(1) and 2 of the same Convention to the
detriment of Roberto Girón and Pedro Castillo Mendoza. The Commission also concluded that the State is
responsible for the violation of Articles 1 and 6 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish
Torture (hereinafter “ICPPT.”)
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5.
The petition was received by the Commission on July 11, 1996, and the proceedings were
started on July 12, of the same year, following a series of submissions by the parties. On June 17, 2002, the
Commission informed the parties that pursuant to Article 37(3) of the Rules in effect then, it had decided to
defer the admissibility decision until the debate and decision on the merits. The Commission then requested
that the petitioners submit their additional observations on the merits within a period of two months. On
April 18, 2005, the petitioners submitted additional observations on the merits, which were forwarded to the
State on April 21, 2005. The State submitted its observations on the merits on June 29, 2005. The
Commission has continued to receive communications from the petitioners and the State, which have been
duly forwarded to the relevant party.

1

The petition of July 8, 1996 was submitted in English by The Magnus F. Hirschfeld Centre for Human Rights.

2 The petition of August 14, 1996 was submitted in Spanish by the Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de
Guatemala and the Centro para la Acción en Legal en Derechos Humanos, CALDH.

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