December 3, 2014

Case No. 12.453
Olga Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez

Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am pleased to write to you on behalf of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to
submit to the jurisdiction of the Honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case No. 12.453,
Olga Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez in respect of the Republic of Guatemala (hereinafter “the State,”
“the Guatemalan State,” or “Guatemala”).
The case involves an administrative proceeding which led to the dismissal of Mrs. Olga
Yolanda Maldonado Ordóñez, who was a civil servant in the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman
in Guatemala. The Commission considered that, as this was a disciplinary proceeding, not only were
the minimum guarantees established in Article 8.1 of the American Convention applicable, but also
the principle of strict legality, the presumption of innocence, and the necessary guarantees for her to
exercise her right to defense. The Commission concluded that although the applicable regulatory
framework gave the Human Rights Ombudsman the competence to carry out the proceeding, the
manner in which notification was made of the supposed grounds for this proceeding against Mrs.
Maldonado made it difficult for her to understand its objective. In this regard, she exercised her
defense without having the minimum amount of information needed to do so.
Likewise, the Commission concluded that Agreement No. 81-2000 of the Human Rights
Ombudsmen, the decision whereby she was dismissed, was issued in breach of the duty to state
reasons, the principle of legality, and the principle of the presumption of innocence. Said agreement
explained that Mrs. Maldonado was removed from her post because of a “reported situation,” with no
investigation conducted of whether or not the victim’s conduct fell within the respective grounds.
This fact was recognized by the State of Guatemala before the Commission. Lastly, the Commission
concluded that none of the appeals brought by Mrs. Maldonado resulted in a review of the sanction or
constituted an effective remedy for the due process violations.
The State ratified the American Convention on Human Rights on May 25, 1978, and accepted
the contentious jurisdiction of the Court on March 9, 1987.
Mr. Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, Secretary
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
P.O. Box 6906-1000
San José, Costa Rica

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