REPORT No. 7/14
CASE 12.739
MERITS
MARÍA INÉS CHINCHILLA SANDOVAL
GUATEMALA
April 2, 2014
I.

SUMMARY

1.
On March 23, 2005, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission”, “the Inter-American Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Institute
for Comparative Studies in Criminal Sciences (Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales) through
its legal representative, Alejandro Rodríguez Barrillas (hereinafter “the petitioner”), against the State of
Guatemala (hereinafter “the State,” “the Guatemalan State,” or “Guatemala”) for acts connected with the death
of María Inés Chinchilla (hereinafter “the alleged victim”) on May 25, 2004, allegedly as a result of a failure to
receive proper medical attention at the facility where she was deprived of liberty.
2.
The petitioner says that in spite of the fact that the State was aware of the ailments and
illnesses from which Ms. Chinchilla suffered, they failed to provide her with adequate medical care, which
resulted in her being hospitalized on multiple occasions. The petitioner says that several times the judge
refused Ms. Chinchilla permission to go to medical appointments and that on the day she died she was not
received adequate medical care either. The petitioner holds that the State has not diligently investigated Ms.
Chinchilla's death. For its part, the State says that it is not responsible since it supplied adequate medical
care. It says that the illnesses from which Ms. Chinchilla suffered were not attributable to the conditions of
her detention, that she was granted leave on multiple occasions to go for medical appointments, and that she
was taken to the emergency room whenever that proved necessary. The State says that on the day she died
Ms. Chinchilla received adequate care from one of the nurses at the Female Orientation Center (Centro de
Orientación Femenino) (hereinafter “COF”) and since her death was from “natural” causes, there was no crime
to prosecute.
3.
Having examined the arguments as to fact and law offered by the parties, the Commission
has concluded that the State is responsible for the violations of the rights recognized in Articles 4, 5, 8, and 25
of the American Convention on Human Rights to the detriment of María Inés Chinchilla Sandoval, and of the
rights enshrined in Articles 8 and 25 thereof to the detriment of the next of kin named in the relevant section
of this report; all of these rights being taken in conjunction with Articles 1 (1) and 2 of the American
Convention.
II.

PROCESSING SUBSEQUENT TO ADMISSIBILITY REPORT 136/09

4.
After it received the initial complaint, the Commission proceeded to open it as petition 32105 and begin its processing. On November 13, 2009, the Commission adopted the Report 136/09 in which it
declared the case admissible.1 On December 2, 2009, the Commission transmitted the report on admissibility
to the parties and granted the petitioner two months to submit arguments as to 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.
5.
The Commission received the petitioner’s observations on merits on March 3, 2010, and
those of the State on July 13, 2010. On February 26, 2010, the petitioner notified the IACHR that Ms. Marta
María Gantenbein Chinchilla and Luz de María Juárez Chinchilla, daughters of Maria Ines Chinchilla Sandoval,
had expressed their desire to participate in the proceedings as victims in the case. In addition, the IACHR
1

IACHR, Report No. 136/09 Petition 321/05, Admissibility, María Inés Chinchilla Sandoval, Guatemala, November 13,
2009. Available at: http://www.cidh.oas.org/annualrep/2009eng/Guatemala321-05eng.htm

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