REPORT No. 17/15
PETITION 1139-04
ADMISSIBILITY
MASSACRE OF LOS JOSEFINOS VILLAGE
GUATEMALA
MARCH 24, 2015

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 27, 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission" or "the IACHR") received a petition lodged by the Association of Family Members of the DetainedDisappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) (hereinafter
"the petitioners") claiming that the State of Guatemala (hereinafter "Guatemala," "the State," or "the
Guatemalan State") bore international responsibility for alleged violations of rights recognized in the American
Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "the American Convention" or "the Convention") to the detriment of
the inhabitants of the village of Los Josefinos (hereinafter "the alleged victims") the village's survivors, and
their relatives, 1 as a result of the massacre of that village on April 29 and 30, 1982, and the ineffective
investigation of those events.
2.
In particular, the petitioners allege that by reason of the massacre of Los Josefinos and the
impunity that surrounded the events, the State violated the rights of the village's inhabitants and their relatives
enshrined at Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 17 (rights of the
family), 19 (rights of the child), 21 (right to property), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American
Convention, in connection with the general obligation to respect the rights established in Article 1(1) of that
instrument. As to the petition's admissibility, they invoke the exception to the requirement of prior exhaustion
of domestic remedies provided in Article 46(2)(c) of the American Convention. The petitioners also say that
the massacre of Los Josefinos was not an isolated incident, but part of a broader campaign of violence that the
Guatemalan army visited on the Department of Petén, where the village in question is located. Accordingly, in
their communication of February 2015, they said that the alleged victims in this case fall into the following four
categories: (a) alleged victims of the massacre: (b) alleged victims of attacks prior to the massacre; (c) alleged
victims of later attacks; and (4) alleged victims of forced displacement and dispossession of private property.
3.
For its part, the State admits its responsibility with respect to the events that occurred during
the massacre of Los Josefinos and indicates in relation to the investigation that it is necessary to wait and allow
the investigation to run its course and that it has taken "all the steps within its power to carry [it] out ...
effectively."
4.
Without prejudging the merits of the matter, having examined the positions of the parties and
compliance with the requirements provided in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the IACHR has
decided to declare the case admissible for the purposes of examination of Articles 4 (right to life), 5 (right to
humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 17 (rights of the family), 19 (rights of the child), 21 (right to
property), and 25 (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention, in connection with Article 1(1)
thereof. The Commission has also concluded that the petition is admissible for the purposes of analyzing the
applicability of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 25 of the American Convention in connection with Article 1(1) of that
treaty and Article I of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons. Finally, it has
decided to notify the parties of this report and order its publication in its Annual Report to the OAS General
Assembly.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION

1 In a communication of February 12, 2015, the petitioners submitted a list of 1191 alleged victims of the massacre and related
acts, which is enclosed with this report as Appendix A. The petitioners said that the above list could change in the future as the alleged
victims are more accurately identified.

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