REPORT N°81/03
PETITION 12.288
ADMISSIBILITY
JUAN GARCÍA CRUZ AND SANTIAGO SÁNCHEZ SILVESTRE
MEXICO
October 22, 2003
I.

SUMMARY

1. On May 10, 2000 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“the Inter-American
Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a complaint lodged by Legal Services and Research and
Juridical Studies and the Center for Justice and International Law(SLIEJ and CEJIL, hereinafter,
jointly, “the petitioners”), alleging the international liability of the United Mexican States (“the
State”) for the illegal detention and torture of Juan García Cruz and Santiago Sánchez Silvestre,
as well as their subsequent sentencing to three years’ imprisonment in a trial that failed to
meet the standards of due process, including the use of a confession obtained under torture.
Subsequent to the filing of the petition, both persons were sentenced to 30 years’
imprisonment for homicide in another trial, using the same confession the petitioners allege
was obtained under torture.The petitioners also claim that the Mexican State is internationally
liable for failing to investigate and punish the reported facts.
2. The petitioners allege that the reported facts constitute a violation of a number of provisions
of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the “American Convention”): the right
to personal integrity (Article 5); personal freedom (Article 7); judicial guarantees (Article8); and
judicial protection (Article 25).They also allege that all the requirements for admissibility under
the American Convention have been met. For its part, the Mexican State maintains that there
have been no violations of the American Convention because Mr. García Cruz and Mr. Sánchez
Silvestre had access to a number of courts and proceedings in which the standards of due
process were observed, their right to a defense was respected, it was not established that they
were tortured, and their judicial sentence has the force of res judicata, which cannot be revised
by the IACHR.The Mexican State argues that no violation of the American Convention exists
because the facts of the report have not been demonstrated. It also alleges that domestic
remedies have not been exhausted with respect to the reported claims of torture, since a
preliminary inquiry was initiated to investigate said claims. Consequently, the State requests
that the Inter-American Commission declare the petition inadmissible.
3. Without pre-judging the merits of the case, the IACHR finds in this report that the case is
admissible because it meets the requirements of Articles 46 and 47 of the American
Convention, hence the decision by the Inter-American Commission to notify the parties of its
decision and continue to review the merits of the alleged violation of Articles 5, 7, 8, and 25 of
the American Convention; and Articles 1, 6, 8, and 10 of the Inter-American Convention to
Prevent and Punish Torture.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IACHR

4. The Inter-American Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the petition to the
Mexican State on June 2, 2000 and requested information by the deadline established in that
proceeding. 1 The parties continued to submit their comments and additional information until
the Inter-American Commission considered that the position of each party was sufficiently
clear. 2
1The Rules of Procedure of the IACHR in effect from April 8, 1980 to May 1, 2001 provided in Article 34(5) that “the
Commission shall ask the Government in question to provide the requested information within 90 days of the date on
which the request is made.”
2The Mexican State replied by note of September 1, 2000, the pertinent parts of which were transmitted to the
petitioners on September 18 of that year. On October 18, 2000, the petitioners requested an extension, which was
granted by the Inter-American Commission on October 26, 2000 for 15 days. On November 13, 2000, the petitioners
submitted a communication with their comments, which was received on December 7, 2000 and transmitted to the
State on November 13 of that year. On January 12, 2001, the State requested a postponement, granted on the 19th
of that month for 30 days. On February 20, 2001 the Mexican State requested a second postponement, which was
granted on March 26, 2001 for 30 days. On April 24, the Mexican State requested another extension, granted on May
30, 2001 for one month. The information from the State was received on July 3, 2001 and was make known to the
petitioners on the 24th of that month. On August 10, 2001, the petitioners requested a hearing, which could not be
scheduled at that time, as they were informed by the IACHR on August 27, 2001.On August 24, 2001 the petitioners
presented additional information, which was brought to the attention of the Mexican State on September 28 of that

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