REPORT No. 119/18
CASE 12.814
MERITS
ORLANDO EDGARDO OLIVARES MUÑOZ AND OTHERS
(DEATHS AT THE VISTA HERMOSA PRISON)
VENEZUELA
OCTOBER 5, 2018

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 16, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Inter-American Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition presented by the
Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (hereinafter "the petitioners") alleging the international responsibility of
the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “the Venezuelan State", "the State" or "Venezuela") to the
detriment of Orlando Edgardo Olivares Muñoz, Joel Rinaldi Reyes Nava, Orangel José Figueroa, Héctor Javier
Muñoz Valerio, Pedro Ramón López Chaurán, José Gregorio Bolívar Corro, and Richard Alexis Núñez Palma,
along with their relatives. The number of alleged victims was later increased.
2.
The Commission approved admissibility report 14/11 on March 23, 2011.1 On April 6, 2011,
the Commission notified this report to the parties and placed itself at their disposal in order to reach a friendly
settlement. The parties enjoyed the time periods provided for in the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure to present
additional observations on the merits. All information received was duly transmitted between the parties.
3.
The petitioners argued that the alleged victims, inmates at the Vista Hermosa Prison in Ciudad
Bolívar, were extrajudicially executed by members of the National Guard during an operation carried out in the
prison in the early morning hours of November 10, 2003. The petitioners alleged torture and mistreatment of
the seven victims who died and of other prison inmates in the context of the same operation; a lack of due
diligence in the investigation and unjustified delay in trying the case; and violations of the personal integrity of
their family members.
4.
The State argued that the action was a riot control operation permissible under domestic law.
It rejected all the alleged violations on the grounds that the domestic legal proceedings were still ongoing,
arguing that the case had a “reasonable level of complexity” and emphasizing that the soldiers accused in the
case had obstructed the criminal process “in order to ensure facts that could perfectly be characterized as
extralegal, arbitrary, or summary executions remained in impunity.”
5.
Based on the findings of fact and of law, the Inter-American Commission concluded that the
State is responsible for the violation of articles 4.1 (life); 5.1 and 5.2 (humane treatment); 8.1 (fair trial); and
25.1 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American
Convention” or “the Convention”), in conjunction with the obligations established in articles 1.1 and 2 of the
Convention. The Commission issued the respective recommendations.
II.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

Petitioners

6.
The petitioners alleged that Orlando Edgardo Olivares Muñoz, Joel Rinaldi Reyes Nava,
Orangel José Figueroa, Héctor Javier Muñoz Valerio, Pedro Ramón López Chaurán, José Gregorio Bolívar Corro
and Richard Alexis Núñez Palma were inmates of the Vista Hermosa Prison in Bolívar State. They alleged that
on November 10, 2003, in the early morning hours, members of the National Guard (a military body that is part
of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces) entered the prison, and following series of violent actions, caused the
IACHR. Report No. 14/11. Case 12.814. Admissibility. Orlando Olivares et al. (Deaths at the Vista Hermosa Prison). March 23, 2011.
Admissible articles: 4, 5, 8, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights.
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