REPORT Nº 13/08
PETITION 844-05
ADMISSIBILITY
COMMUNITY OF RÍO NEGRO OF THE MAYA INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND ITS MEMBERS
GUATEMALA
March 5, 2008

I.

SUMMARY

1. On July 19, 2005, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission," or "the IACHR") received a complaint submitted by
the Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral de las Víctimas de la Violencia en las Verapaces,
Maya Achí (hereinafter “ADIVIMA” or "the petitioners") 1 on behalf of the survivors of the
indigenous Community of Río Negro (hereinafter “Indigenous Community of Río Negro” or “the
village of Río Negro”) against the Republic of Guatemala (hereinafter the “Guatemalan State,”
“Guatemala,” or the “State”). The petition alleges the destruction, persecution, and elimination
of the members of the Indigenous Community of Río Negro through several massacres carried
out by the Guatemalan Army and the Civil Defense Patrols (hereinafter the “PAC” - Patrullas de
la Autodefensa Civil).
2. The petitioners allege that the Guatemalan State has violated Articles 4 (right to life), 5
(humane treatment), 11(1) (protection of honor and dignity), 19 (rights of the child), 24
(equality before the law), 8 (a fair trial), and 25 (judicial protection), in conjunction with
Article 1(1) (obligation to respect the rights) all of the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”), to the detriment of the
Indigenous Community of Río Negro and its members. In addition, they allege that it violated
Article 27(1) and (2) (suspension of guarantees) of the Convention in relation to Articles 3
(right to juridical personality), 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 6 (prohibition
on slavery and servitude), 12 (freedom of conscience and religion), 17 (protection of the
family), 18 (right to a name), and 20 (right to nationality). They also note that the State
breached the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Universal Declaration”)
at Articles 1 to 10, to the detriment of the Indigenous Community of Río Negro and its
members.
3. With respect to admissibility, the petitioners allege that their petition is admissible, applying
the exceptions to the exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement and the time for
submitting the petition provided for at Article 46(2)(c) of the Convention.
4. The State does not controvert the facts alleged by the petitioners; nonetheless, it argues
that domestic remedies have not been exhausted. The State requests that the inadmissibility
of the petition be declared, because it does not meet the requirements of Article 46 of the
Convention and Articles 31 and 32 of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure.
After analyzing the petition, and in keeping with the provisions at Articles 46 and 47 of
the American Convention, as well as Articles 30, 37, and others of its Rules of
Procedure, the IACHR concludes that it is competent to examine the complaint
submitted by the petitioners, for the alleged violation, to the detriment of the
Indigenous Community of Río Negro of the Maya People and its members, of Articles 3,
4, 5, 6, 8, 11(1), 12, 17, 18, 19, 24 and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction
with its Article 1(1). In addition, applying the principle of iura novit curia, the
Commission concludes that the petition is admissible in respect to the alleged violation
of Articles 2, 16, 21, and 22 of the Convention, and for the alleged violation of Article I
of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, all in relation to
Article 1(1) of the Convention. The Commission decides to find this petition inadmissible
1

The initial petition was received in Guatemala City on July 19, 2005, during the 125th special session of the IACHR.
1

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