REPORT No. 22/091
PETITION 908-04
ADMISSIBILITY
IGMAR ALEXANDER LANDAETA MEJÍAS AND OTHERS
VENEZUELA
March 20, 2009

I.

SUMMARY

1. On September 20, 2004 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Inter-American Commission,” “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a complaint submitted
by a nongovernmental organization, the Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Justicia y Paz del
Estado Aragua ("Commission on Human Rights for Justice and Peace of the State of Aragua",
hereinafter “the petitioners”), representing the alleged victims, the late Igmar Alexander
Landaeta Mejías and his father Ignacio Landaeta Muñoz (hereinafter "the alleged victims")
against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “the Venezuelan State,” “the State,”
or “Venezuela”), for the alleged violation of the rights enshrined in articles 4.1 (life), 5 (humane
treatment), 7 (personal liberty) and 8 (judicial guarantees) of the American Convention on
Human Rights2 (hereinafter “the Convention,” or “the American Convention”), as well as the
alleged violation of the rights protected by articles 5.a, 5.b, 5.d, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 .b and 11.c of
the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law-Enforcement
Officials.
2. The petitioners alleged that the youth Igmar Landaeta had been arbitrarily deprived of his life
on November 17, 1996, in the town of Santiago Mariño, State of Aragua, by two police officers
of the Cuerpo de Seguridad y Orden Público (Security and Public Order Corps) of that state
(hereinafter “CSOPEA”). According to the petitioners, the State failed to conduct an adequate
investigation of the events, in that both the police and the Attorney General’s office responsible
for the investigation acted negligently. As a result, the officers were acquitted and the deeds
have gone unpunished. The petitioners drew up a list of the irregularities committed by the
authorities in the Attorney General’s office and the courts who were responsible for pursuing the
investigation. The petitioners also said that their financial situation and alleged irregularities in
notification prevented them from filing an appeal against the judgment issued on November 10,
2003, whereby the charges against the officers were dismissed.
3. The State of Venezuela alleged that the death of Igmar Landaeta occurred during an armed
confrontation between himself and the police officers, and that the officers were justified in their
action on grounds of "state of necessity" and "fulfillment of duty". With respect to admissibility
requirements, the State argued that the petitioners had not exhausted domestic remedies and
that they were not entitled to turn to the international body after having failed to file an appeal
within domestic jurisdiction.
4. After examining available information in light of the admissibility requirements established in
Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission concluded that it is competent
to hear the petition and that the petition is admissible in view of the alleged violation of the
rights embodied in Articles 4, 5, 8, and 25 of that Convention as they relate to the obligations
established in Article 1.1 of the same instrument. The Commission included the possible violation
of the right enshrined in Article 25 of the Convention, by virtue of the principle iura novit curia.
The Commission also concluded that the petition is inadmissible regarding the claim made in
relation to Article 7 of the American Convention. Accordingly, the Commission decided to notify
the parties, to publish the present Admissibility Report, and to include it in its Annual Report.

In accordance with Article 17.2 of the Commission's Rules of Procedure, Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía, a Venezuelan
national, did not participate in the discussion or in the decision in this case.
2
The petition also alleges violation of articles 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the Act Approving the American Convention on Human
Rights. The Commission assumes that the petitioners were referring to the provisions of the American Convention on
Human Rights.
1

1

Select target paragraph3