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. 1

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