REPORT No. 33/16 CASE 12,797 MERITS LINDA LOAIZA LÓPEZ SOTO AND RELATIVES VENEZUELA July 29, 2016 I. SUMMARY 1. On November 12, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission,” “the Inter-American Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition filed by Linda Loaiza López Soto and Juan Bernardo Delgado (hereinafter “the petitioners”)1 alleging that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “the State,” “the State of Venezuela,” “the Venezuelan State,” or “Venezuela”) was internationally responsible. 2. The petitioners alleged that Linda Loaiza López was abducted by Luis Carrera Almoina in Caracas on March 27, 2001, who kept her deprived of her liberty until July 19 of the same year at which time she was able to call for help and was rescued by local authorities. They held that during the kidnapping, Linda Loaiza López was subjected to a variety of kinds of physical, sexual and psychological violence, causing serious injuries whose effects persist to this day. They indicated that the State is responsible for having failed its duty to guarantee against these serious facts, although her sister tried unsuccessfully to report the disappearance. They alleged that the serious acts of sexual violence committed by a private individual remain in impunity, and that for the purposes of establishing the scope and content of the State’s obligations to investigate and assign punishment, said acts should be considered a form of torture. In light of this, they alleged that the State violated several rights enshrined in the the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention”),2 as well as in failure to comply with the obligations contained in the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication Of Violence against Women (hereinafter the “Convention of Belém do Pará”) and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture (hereinafter “ICPPT”). 3. The State of Venezuela held that it is not responsible for violations of the American Convention, the Convention of Belem do Para, or the ICPPT. Throughout the proceeding before the Commission, it submitted detailed information on the steps taken, the investigation, and the domestic legal proceedings. In reiterated that the facts were committed by a private individual—not an agent of the State— who was convicted and sentenced for the crimes of illegal deprivation of liberty and serious bodily injury, a sentence that effectively was served. The State indicated that all the competent authorities took action to protect the rights of Linda Loaiza López and guarantee due process for the parties in the trial, and that the length of the preceding was due to the procedural dynamic of the two parties and was not a delay for which the State could be held responsible. It also submitted general information on the framework and public policies on violence against women. 4. After analyzing the positions of the parties, the Commission concluded that the Venezuelan State is responsible for the violation of the rights to humane treatment (Article 5), personal liberty (Article 7), privacy, dignity and autonomy (Article 11), judicial guarantees (Article 8), equal protection and nondiscrimination (Article 24), to judicial protection (Article 25) established in the American Convention, 1 Later, on May 12, 2011, and June 20, 2014, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL in its Spanish acronym) and the Committee of relatives of victims of the events of February and March 1989 (Comité de Familiares de Víctimas de los sucesos de febrero y marzo de 1989, COFAVIC), respectively, were accredited before the Commission to act as co-petitioners in the case. 2 The State of Venezuela denounced the American Convention on September 10, 2012. The facts of this case took place before September 10, 2013, at which time entered into force the denunciation of the American Convention. As the Commission has stated, as a member State of the Organization of American States (hereinafter “OAS”), Venezuela continues to be bound by the obligations established in the OAS Charter and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, signed by the State of Venezuela in 1948. In light of this, the IACHR will take into account, when appropriate, the application of the American Declaration in this case.