REPORT No. 14/19 CASE 12.302 REPORT ON MERITS CASIERRA BROTHERS AND FAMILY ECUADOR February12, 2019 I. INTRODUCTION 1. On June 27, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the InterAmerican Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged by Alejandro Ponce Villacís (hereinafter “the petitioner”) alleging that the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “the State of Ecuador,” “the State,” or “Ecuador”) bore international responsibility for the killing of Luis Eduardo Casierra Quiñonez and the injuries caused to Alejandro Casierra Quiñonez by State agents, as well as the impunity for what occurred. 2. The Commission adopted Report on Admissibility No. 16/09 on March 19, 2009. 1 On April 1, 2009, the Commission notified the parties of that report and placed itself at their disposal with a view to initiating a friendly settlement procedure. The parties were afforded the regulation time limits to present additional observations as to merits. All information received was duly relayed between the parties. 3. Based on its determinations as to fact and law, the Inter-American Commission has concluded that the State is responsible for violation of Articles 4(1) (right to life), 5(1) (right to humane treatment), 8(1) (right to a fair trial), and 25(1) (right to judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the Convention”), taken in conjunction with the obligations set forth in Articles 1(1) and 2 of that instrument. The Commission formulated appropriate recommendations. II. SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES A. The Petitioner 4. The petitioner alleged that the brothers Luis Eduardo and Andrés Alejandro Casierra Quiñonez were shot with firearms by Ecuadorian Navy personnel on December 8, 1999, while fishing on the Atacames River in the Province of Esmeraldas. The petitioner explained that while the Casierra brothers and other fishermen were refueling their boat, a launch with Ecuadorian Navy personnel approached them in a violent manner. He said that upon attempting to move away peacefully, the agents opened fire with their weapons. The petitioner argued that the actions of the State agents engaged the State’s international responsibility for violation of the rights to humane treatment and life of Luis Eduardo Casierra and the right to humane treatment of Andrés Alejandro Casierra. 5. In relation to the alleged violation of the rights to a fair trial and judicial protection, the petitioner argued that the investigation was referred to the military criminal jurisdiction, which is contrary to the American Convention. He said that the way in which military criminal proceeding was structured precluded both their participation as a civilian party and their ability to be heard during the proceeding. The petitioner added that the case remains in impunity, as the persons responsible have not been punished. 6. The petitioner also argued that the State breached its duty to adopt provisions under domestic law, given that the rules and regulations on military justice are not compatible with the American Convention. In that regard, he explained that, under the Military Code of Criminal Procedure, military criminal judges of the Ecuadorian Navy report to the military hierarchy and are neither judicial officials nor lawyers. The petitioner states that the military justice (Servicio de Justicia Militar) is a part of the organizational structure of the armed forces and that all its members are subject to the discipline and obedience imposed by that structure. He held 1 IACHR, Report No. 16/09, Petition 12.302, Admissibility, Luis Eduardo and Andrés Alejandro Casierra Quiñonez, Ecuador, March 1 19, 2009.