REPORT No. 141/10 PETITION 247-07 ADMISSIBILITY LUIS EDUARDO GUACHALÁ CHIMBÓ ECUADOR November 1, 2010 I. SUMMARY 1. On March 1, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission,” “the IACHR,” or “the Inter-American Commission”) received a petition presented by the Human Rights Clinic of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), the Regional Foundation for Assistance in Human Rights (INREDH), and the Ecumenical Commission on Human Rights (CEDHU) (hereinafter “the petitioners”), which alleges that the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “Ecuador” or “the State”) bears responsibility for the alleged disappearance of Mr. Luis Eduardo Guachalá Chimbó (hereinafter “Mr. Guachalá Chimbó” or “the alleged victim”) while he was an inpatient at a public hospital in the city of Quito, and for the lack of judicial clarification of the facts. 2. The petitioners argue that the State is responsible for the violation of the rights to life, humane treatment, personal liberty, and judicial protection established, respectively, in Articles 4, 5, 7, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”), in relation to the obligations to respect rights and adopt measures under domestic law established in Articles 1.1 and 2 of that treaty. In that connection, they argue that the disappearance of Mr. Guachalá Chimbó, who was at the public Julio Endara Hospital, constitutes a failure by the State to take the necessary measures to protect his life and ensure his humane treatment as a patient. They argue that none of the legal measures instituted has proven effective and that no serious investigation as to his whereabouts has been conducted. They also maintain that the right to humane treatment of Mr. Guachalá Chimbó’s mother, Zoila Rosario Chimbó Jarro, has been violated, in that she has suffered the consequences of his disappearance and the subsequent denial of justice. 3. The State, for its part, argues that a person’s admission to a mental health institution cannot be equated to confinement in a detention center and therefore the State would not bear the same obligations. It also argues that domestic remedies have not been exhausted because the petitioners should have instituted actions under civil jurisdiction for damages and for the presumption of death and pursued a constitutional action for noncompliance. The State also alleged that the complaint had not be presented within the proper timeframe. 4. Without prejudging the merits of the complaint, after studying the positions of the parties, and in compliance with the requirements set forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission finds the case admissible for purposes examining the alleged violation of the rights enshrined in Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, and 25, in keeping with Articles 1.1 and 2, of that convention. In addition, according to the principle iura novit curia, the Commission finds the petition admissible with respect to the alleged violation of the right to recognition as a person before the law enshrined in Article 3 of the American Convention, in keeping with Article 1.1 of the American Convention, and of Article 1 of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons. The Commission has decided to convey this decision to the parties, to publish it, and to include it in the Commission’s Annual Report to the OAS General Assembly.