2 I 1. The instant Case was submitted in English to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter "the Court" or "the Inter-American Court") by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Commission" or "the Inter-American Commission") on January 30, 1997. It originated in a petition (Nº 11.383) received at the Secretariat of the Commission on September 15, 1994. 2. In submitting the case to the Court, the Commission invoked Articles 50 and 51 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter "the Convention" or "the InterAmerican Convention") and Article 32 et seq. of the Rules of Procedure. The Commission submitted this case in order for the Court to determine whether there had been a violation of the following articles of the Convention: 1 (Obligation to Respect Rights), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection). Those violations, according to the application, were the result of the kidnapping, torture and murder of Henry Giovani Contreras, Federico Clemente FigueroaTúnchez, Julio Roberto Caal-Sandoval, and Jovito Josué Juárez-Cifuentes; the murder of Anstraum Villagrán-Morales; and the failure of the State mechanisms to deal [appropriately] with those violations, and afford the victims' families access to justice. As two of the victims, Julio Roberto Caal-Sandoval and Jovito Josué Juárez-Cifuentes, were minors when they were kidnapped, tortured and murdered, and Anstraum Villagrán-Morales was a minor when he was killed, the Commission claimed that Guatemala also violated Article 19 (Rights of the Child) of the American Convention. The Commission also requested that the Court order the State to take the necessary steps to conduct a prompt, impartial and effective investigation of the facts "so that they may be set forth in an officially authorized report" in order to determine individual responsibility for the violations, and that "the persons responsible be appropriately punished." It requested that the State "[vindicate] the names of the victims and make fair payment to those persons damaged by the violations of the aforementioned rights" and pay costs to the victims and their representatives. In its petition, the Commission also postulated the violation of Articles 1, 6, and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. 3. The Inter-American Commission appointed John Donaldson and Claudio Grossman to act as its delegates and David J. Padilla and Elizabeth Abi-Mershed to serve as its attorneys. It appointed Ariel Dulitzky, Vivana Krsticevic, Alejandro Valencia-Villa, Francisco Cox-Vial, and José Miguel Vivanco to be their accredited assistants as the victims' representatives. 4. By note of March 6, 1997, the Secretariat of the Court (hereinafter "the Secretariat"), after a preliminary review of the application by the President of the Court (hereinafter "the President"), transmitted the application in English to the State, where it was received on the following day, and informed the State that it had four months in which to present its answer, two months to interpose preliminary objections, and one month to appoint an agent and alternate agent, all terms which would start from the date of notification of the application. By communication of the same date, the State was invited to designate a Judge ad hoc. The Spanish translation of the application was transmitted to the State on September 14, 1997. 5. On March 31, 1997, Guatemala informed the Court that it had designated Julio Gándara- Valenzuela, Ambassador of Guatemala to Costa Rica, as its agent.

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