REPORT No. 13/15
CASE 12.349
ADMISSIBILITY AND MERITS
MAYRA ANGELINA GUTIÉRREZ HERNÁNDEZ Y FAMILIA
GUATEMALA
MARCH 23, 2015

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 30, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the
“Commission,” the “Inter-American Commission,” or the “IACHR”) received a petition lodged by Nilda
Gutiérrez Hernández, Ángela María del Carmen Argüello Gutiérrez, and Greta Mancilla Chavarría, which
claimed that the Republic of Guatemala (hereinafter the “State,” the “Guatemalan State,” or Guatemala) bore
international responsibility for the alleged forced disappearance of Mayra Angelina Gutiérrez Hernández on
April 7, 2000, as well as the alleged lack of an investigation to determine her whereabouts and punish those
responsible. Subsequently, Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) became a petitioner.
2.
According to the petitioners, Ms. Gutiérrez was forcibly disappeared on April 7, 2000. They
claim that state agents committed the deed on the basis of: (i) Ms. Gutiérrez’s links to the San Carlos
University in Guatemala; (ii) her work in the area of gender and illegal adoptions; (iii) her former
membership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR); and (iv) the fact that two of her siblings were
disappeared during the armed conflict in Guatemala. They also said that the crime has been allowed to
remain in impunity given that no one has been punished for the deeds and Ms. Gutiérrez’s whereabouts are
still not known. With respects to admissibility requirements, they invoked the unwarranted delay exception
established in Article 46.2.c of the American Convention.
3.
The State contended that the petition was inadmissible on the ground that the criminal
proceedings connected with Mayra Angelina Gutiérrez’s disappearance remains ongoing. As to merits, it
maintained that it has not been demonstrated that state agents had a hand in her disappearance. It said that
despite multiple steps taken both in the criminal proceeding and through writs of habeas corpus, it had not
been possible to establish her whereabouts. The State added that there was an outstanding warrant in the
context of the criminal proceeding for the arrest of an alleged culprit in the deeds, namely Ms. Gutiérrez’s
former domestic partner.
4.
After analyzing the information available, the Commission determined that the admissibility
requirements set forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention had been met, and concluded that
the State was responsible for violation of the rights to life, humane treatment, a fair trial, equal protection,
and judicial protection recognized at Articles 4, 5, 8, 24, and 25 of the American Convention taken in
conjunction with the obligations enshrined in Article 1 (1) of that instrument, to the detriment of the persons
named in each section of this report. The Commission also found that the State was responsible for violation
of the duty to investigate recognized in article I(b) of the Inter-American Convention on Forced
Disappearance of Persons.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION

5.
Nilda Gutiérrez Hernández, Ángela María del Carmen Argüello Gutiérrez, and Greta Mancilla
Chavarría denounced the alleged facts in this case in a communication received by the Commission on
October 30, 2000. On December 6, 2000, the IACHR advised the family and Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM) that
processing of their petition had commenced and that the case had been assigned number 12.349. The State
submitted its response on June 13, 2001. The petitioners subsequently submitted comments on August 27,
2001.
6.
On October 30, 2006, the Commission informed the State of Guatemala and the petitioners
that it had decided to invoke Article 37.3 of its Rules of Procedure then in force and defer its treatment of
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