REPORT No. 149/19
CASE 12.454
REPORT ON MERITS
WALTER GONZALO HUACÓN BAIDAL, MERCEDES EUGENIA SALAZAR CUEVA AND FAMILY
ECUADOR
September 28, 2019

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
On October 28, 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission," "the Inter-American Commission," or "the IACHR") received a petition lodged by José Ricardo
Villagrán (hereinafter "the petitioner") alleging that the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter "the Ecuadorian
State," "the State," or "Ecuador") is internationally responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Walter
Gonzalo Huacón Baidal and Mercedes Eugenia Salazar Cueva by State agents in March 1997 and for the
impunity still surrounding the facts of the case.
2.
The Commission approved Report on Admissibility No. 9/04 on February 26, 2004.1 On March 15,
2004, the Commission notified the parties of that report and placed itself at their disposal with a view to
reaching a friendly settlement, to no avail, given the absence of the conditions needed to resolve the case
through that procedure. The parties were allowed time, in accordance with regulations, to submit
additional observations on the merits. All the information received was duly relayed between the parties.
II.

POSITION OF THE PARTIES

A.

Petitioner

3.
The petitioner argued that the Ecuadorian State was internationally responsible for the
extrajudicial execution of Walter Gonzalo Huacón Baidal and Mercedes Eugenia Salazar Cueva by State
agents in the city of Guayaquil, on March 31, 1997. The petitioner stated that both victims had been in a
private automobile and that, after driving against the traffic, they had been chased by six state agents. The
petitioner adds that during the chase, shots were fired at the vehicle, killing Ms. Salazar. The petitioner
states that subsequently Mr. Huacón was shot at point-blank range by one of the State agents even though
he posed no risk to the authorities.
4.
The petitioner indicates that the State also violated the rights to judicial guarantees and judicial
protection because the criminal suit brought was heard by a police court, contravening the guarantee of
being tried by a competent court. The petitioner adds that the deaths of both victims have gone unpunished,
since none of those involved has yet been convicted.
5.
Furthermore, the petitioner argues that the next-of-kin of the victims had no appropriate and
effective remedy that would enable them to obtain civil reparation. The petitioner explains that he filed two
civil suits for damages that have still not been resolved. He adds that he is being asked to pay a very large
sum of money as a judicial fee for processing those suits.
B.

State

6.
The Ecuadorian State maintains that it is not internationally responsible for the facts reported,
inasmuch as, ex officio, it had initiated an investigation to determine responsibilities within a reasonable
period of time. It argues that following the death of Mr. Huacón and Ms. Salazar, the petitioner had not
brought any suit against those allegedly responsible.
7.
As regards the participation of state agents in the facts of this case, the IACHR takes note of the
differing versions presented by the State. In its written communication of May 2003, the State indicated
IACHR. Report No. 9/04. Petition 4409-02. Walter Gonzalo Huacón Baidal and Mercedes Eugenia Salazar Cueva. February 26, 2004.
In its report, the IACHR declared the petition admissible and pointed out that the alleged deeds could constitute violations of the rights
established in Articles 4, 8, 25, and 1.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
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