REPORT No. 66/10 CASE 12.444 MERITS EDUARDO NICOLÁS CRUZ SÁNCHEZ, ET AL PERU March 31, 2011 I. SUMMARY 1. On February 3, 2003, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Inter-American Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a complaint lodged by Juan Miguel Jugo Viera on behalf of the Association for Human Rights [Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH), Edgar Cruz Acuña and Herma Luz Cueva Torres, alleging the responsibility of the State of Peru (hereinafter “Peru,” or “the State,” or “the Peruvian State”). The petition claimed that the State is internationally responsible for the detention and summary execution of Eduardo Nicolás Cruz Sánchez and Herma Luz Meléndez Cueva (hereinafter “the alleged victims”), inasmuch as members of the Peruvian Army had retaken control of the residence of the Ambassador of Japan in Peru on April 22, 1997, which had been held by members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement [Movimiento Revolucionary Túpac Amaru] (hereinafter “MRTA”) since December 17, 1996. On January 28, 2005, the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR received the accreditation of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) as co-petitioner (they and the initial petitioners shall be referred to hereinafter as “the petitioners”). 2. On February 27, 2004, the Commission approved Admissibility Report No. 13/04, in which it concluded that it had competence to take up the complaint lodged by the petitioners and decided, based on the arguments of fact and law and without prejudging the merits of the matter, to declare the complaint admissible for the alleged violation of Articles 4, 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “American Convention”) in relation to Article 1(1) of that instrument. 3. During the proceedings on the merits, the petitioners claimed that after having retaken control of the residence of the Ambassador of Japan in Peru, members of the Peruvian Army summarily executed Eduardo Nicolás Cruz Sánchez, Herma Luz Meléndez Cueva and Víctor Salomón Peceros 1 Pedraza, while they were in a state of defenselessness. They also contended that members of the army removed the bodies and prevented the entry of the Public Ministry; that rather than transfer the corpses to the Institute of Forensic Medicine for an official autopsy, they took them to the National Police hospital which was not equipped to conduct such a procedure; they blocked the entry of third parties as well as the taking of photographs. They did not allow the next of kin to identify the bodies, which were buried in secrecy in different cemeteries. The petitioners added that following a jurisdictional challenge, the matter was taken up by the military justice system for the prosecution of the military personnel involved, which is not the adequate jurisdiction to prosecute the violations committed. They also claimed that the civilian jurisdiction responsible for trying “other agents” has not been effective. According to the petitioners, the aforementioned facts give rise to State responsibility for the violation of Articles 4, 8 and 25 of the American Convention, in relation to Article 1(1) of that instrument. They also alleged that the State is responsible for the violation of the personal integrity of the victims’ next of kin. 4. The State, for its part, claimed that the Chavín de Huántar operation was conducted in a responsible manner and “prioritized the life of the hostages and the terrorists.” According to Peru, the latter “knew from the start that an act of that nature carried with it the risks inherent to an illicit act.” In relation to the competence of the military justice system, the State pointed out that the matter was tried in 1 The IACHR determined in its Admissibility Report that the violations alleged in the case had also occurred with respect to Mr. Peceros Pedraza and although “the latter was not named in the petition … [his] rights also appear to have been violated in these same events and in the same way.” In the proceeding on the merits, therefore, the petitioners have referred to all three victims, including Mr. Peceros Pedraza.