that, consequently, the military courts are themselves subject to military authority, which curtails their
independence.
B.

The State

7.
The State said that while it recognized that the shots fired at the Casierra brothers were made
by State agents, the events occurred in the context of an operation. It explained that the Navy personnel had
received information about a vessel that was possibly being used for illegal activities. It said that in that context
the boat with the Casierra brothers onboard was spotted and that they began shooting at them and took flight.
The State said that the Ecuadorian Navy pursued the launch and fired at its engine. It said that those gunshots
struck the Casierra brothers. It added that both were immediately taken to a hospital and that Luis Eduardo
died shortly afterwards. The State said that given what had happened, it had not violated the rights to life and
humane treatment since the shots were fired in legitimate self-defense against attacks by the individuals on
the launch carrying the Casierra brothers.
8.
It added that an investigation was opened to clarify what had occurred and apportion
appropriate responsibility. It said that the juridical and legal framework in force at the time required the
holding of a military criminal proceeding that fully ensured a fair trial and judicial protection. It held that the
proceeding constituted a prompt, simple, and efficient process that protected the rights of the alleged victims, including
evidentiary due diligence in investigating the facts. The State said that the proceeding concluded with an order to
acquit the military personnel because it was found that they were “carrying out their duties in accordance to
law and that their actions were devoid of any intent to kill or injure people.” The State also reported that
proceedings were instituted in the regular criminal jurisdiction against a civilian who was with the military
patrol.
III.

FINDINGS OF FACT

A.

The Casierra Quiñonez family

20.
At the time of the events Luis Eduardo and Andrés Alejandro Casierra Quiñonez were 24 years
old and 21 years old, respectively.2 They both lived in Atacames, Esmeraldas Province,3 where they worked as
fishermen.4 The IACHR notes that, according to the documentation in the record of the proceedings in the
military criminal jurisdiction, the Casierra brothers’ relatives are: (i) their mother, Maria Quiñonez Bone; (ii)
their father, Sipriano Casierra; and (iii) their siblings Jhonny Jacinto Casierra Quiñonez, Darlin Sebastián
Casierra Quiñonez, and Shirley Lourdes Quiñonez Bone.
21.
The Commission finds that in a statement given in 1999, the neighbor and former employer
of Luis and Andrés said: “The Casierra family (...) have a fishing boat,” that he had “known them for 20 years
(...) and that [he had] never had any trouble with them, which is why they are held in very high regard by the
people of Atacames.”5 Likewise, the sister of Luis and Andrés said that her brothers, along with other locals,
would go fishing every 21 days in a boat that they owned. She added that her family had never been in any kind
of trouble with the law, much less any run-ins with Ecuadorian Navy personnel.6
B.

The events of December 8, 1999

22.
Shirley Quiñonez, the sister of Luis and Andrés, said that her brothers went out fishing on
December 7, 1999, setting off from Puerto Prado on the Atacames River at approximately 6:30 p.m. She said
that with Andrés and Luis were seven other fishermen, including her two other brothers, Jhonny and Darlin. 7
Annex 1, Citizenship Card of Luis Eduardo Casierra Quiñonez, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 95. Annex 1, Official letter from the Atacames
Chief of Police, December 8, 1999, p. 58.
3 Annex 1, Citizenship Card of Luis Eduardo Casierra Quiñonez, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 95. Annex 2, original petition
4 Annex 1, Death certificate of Luis Eduardo Casierra Quiñonez, undated, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 118. Annex 2, original petition
5 Annex 1, Statement of Eddy Rene Montaño Jijon, December 15, 1999, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 52.
6 Annex 1, Statement of Shirley Lourdes Quiñonez, December 14, 1999, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 23.
7 The names of the other fishermen were Freddy Zambrano Quiñonez, Cristian Jesús Sosa Quiñonez, Eguberto Arselio Padilla, Orlando
Olaya Sosa, and Jorge Olguín Ortiz. Annex 1, Complaint of Shirley Lourdes Quiñonez, December 13, 1999, Annex 1, record 07-2000, p. 7.
2

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