REPORT Nº 73/02 1
October 9, 2002



1. On January 28, 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition submitted by the Center for Justice and
International Law (CEJIL), the Guatemalan Institute of Comparative Criminal Science Studies
(ICCPG), and the Guatemalan Public Criminal Defense Institute (hereinafter “the petitioners”)
against the Republic of Guatemala (hereinafter “Guatemala,” “the State,” or “the Guatemalan
State”) for having imposed a death sentence on Ronald Ernesto Raxacacó Reyes (hereinafter
“the alleged victim”), in violation of Articles 1(1), 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 25 of the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”). On
that same occasion, the petitioners asked the IACHR to grant precautionary measures on
behalf of the alleged victim; these were extended on January 30, 2002, and remain in force as
of the date of this report. The Guatemalan State asked the Commission to refrain from hearing
the petitioner’s arguments and to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that no violations of
the Convention had been committed and that domestic remedies had not been exhausted. The
IACHR decided to admit the case and to continue with its analysis of the merits.


2. On January 30, 2002 the Commission opened the case, forwarded the relevant parts of the
complaint to the Guatemalan State, and asked it to submit information within the following two
months in compliance with the provisions of Article 30(3) of the Commission’s Rules of
3. The State submitted its comments on May 21, 2002.
4. In the aforesaid communication of January 30, 2002 the IACHR asked the State of
Guatemala to adopt precautionary measures on behalf of the alleged victim in order to
safeguard his life until such time as the Commission was able to rule on the merits of the case.
5. With regard to the precautionary measures, on May 21, 2002, the State informed the IACHR
that this case did not involve an imminent threat or an arbitrary affront to a human right and
so, in the State’s opinion, the Commission’s intervention would be unfortunate in light of the
erosion of the domestic legal system that it would cause.



The Petitioners

6. The petitioners claim that between August 5 and 6, 1997, the minor child P. A. L. W, aged 9
at the time, was kidnapped by a group of persons including Ronald Ernesto Raxacacó Reyes.
The boy was released after a police operation. Criminal charges were filed against the
kidnappers, which led to their being sentenced on May 14, 1999, when the Sixth Sentencing
Court for Criminal, Drug, and Environmental Offenses sentenced Jorge Mario Murga Rodríguez,
Hugo Humberto Ruiz Fuentes, and Ronald Ernesto Raxacacó Reyes to death after finding them
Commissioner Marta Altolaguirre, a Guatemalan national, did not participate in discussing and deciding on this case
in accordance with Article 17(2)(a) of the Commission’s new Rules of Procedure, which came into force on May 1,


Select target paragraph3