REPORT Nº 1/09
PETITION 1491-05
ADMISSIBILITY
BENITO ANTONIO BARRIOS ET AL.
VENEZUELA
January 17, 2009
I.

SUMMARY

1. On December 30, 2005, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission") received a petition lodged by Eloisa Barrios, the Human Rights, Justice, and
Peace Commission of Aragua State, and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
(hereinafter "the petitioners"), in which they allege the responsibility of agents of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter "the State") for the illegal arrest and extrajudicial
execution of Benito Antonio Barrios on August 28, 1998, in the rural village of Guanayen in the
municipality of Urdaneta. While the petition was being processed they added submissions
concerning the alleged extrajudicial execution of Rigoberto Barrios, illegal arrests and
violations of the right to humane treatment of several Barrios family members by agents of the
State, and the subsequent displacement of those family members.
2. The petitioners allege that the State is responsible for violation of the rights to life, humane
treatment, personal liberty, a fair trial, and judicial protection established in Articles 4.1, 5.1,
5.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 7.4 ,7.5, 8.1, 22.1, and 25.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter "the American Convention" or "the Convention"), in connection with the general
obligation to respect the rights, set forth in Article 1.1 of the same instrument, to the
detriment of Benito Barrios, Rigoberto Barrios, and their family members1 (hereinafter "the
alleged victims").
3. After examining the parties’ positions and pursuant to the requirements stipulated in Articles
46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission decided to declare the case admissible
for the purpose of considering the alleged violations of Articles 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4,
7.5, 8.1, 22.1, and 25.1 and Article 19 of the American Convention, in application of the iura
novit curia principle, in connection with the obligations set forth in Article 1.1 of the same
instrument. It also decided to notify the parties of the report and publish it.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION

4. On December 30, 2005 the Commission received a petition, which was registered as P1491-05. On January 13, 2006 the Commission forwarded a copy of the relevant parts to the
State, giving it two months to submit observations, as provided in Article 30.2 of the Rules of
Procedure.
5. On March 9, 2006, the Commission received a request from the State for an extension. On
March 13, 2006 the Commission notified the parties that the petition had been joined to case
12.488 (Eloisa Barrios et al.), and that in application of Article 37.3 of its Rules of Procedure, it
had decided to defer treatment of admissibility of petition 1491-05 until the debate and
decision on the merits, asking the petitioners to submit their observations. On May 8, 2006,
the petitioners presented their observations on the merits, which were forwarded to the State
on May 16, 2006. The Commission requested the State to submit its observations and copies
of the files on the criminal investigations undertaken in connection with joined case 12.488
(Eloisa Barrios et al.).

1 The principal members of the Barrios family are Justina Barrios (mother of the deceased Benito Antonio, Narciso,
and Luis Alberto Barrios), her seven children Eloísa, Elvira, Luisa del Carmen, Oneida, Maritza, Inés Josefina Barrios,
and Pablo Solórzano and their spouses or live-in companions, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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