REPORT NO. 22/15
MARÍA LUISA ACOSTA ET AL
March 26, 2015
On June 22, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the "InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission," or "the IACHR") received a complaint lodged by María Luisa
Acosta Castellón, the Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas [Center for Legal Assistance to
Indigenous Peoples - CALPI], the Centro por la Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Costa Atlántica de
Nicaragua [Center for Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua -CEJUDHCAN], and the
Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos [Nicaraguan Human Rights Center -CENIDH] (hereinafter "the
petitioners"), acting on behalf of María Luisa Acosta Castellón, Francisco García Valle, Ana María and Álvaro
Arístides Vergara Acosta, Leonor del Carmen Valle de García, and Rodolfo García Solari, against the Republic
of Nicaragua (hereinafter "the State," "the Nicaraguan State," or "Nicaragua.")
The petitioners alleged that on April 8, 2002, María Luisa Acosta's husband, Francisco José
García Valle, was murdered but that the murderers' real target had been to kill or intimidate Mrs. Acosta
because of her work as a defender of indigenous peoples. They alleged that there had been a series of
irregularities during the criminal proceedings instituted for the murder of Mr. García Valle, such as the
dismissal of the alleged instigators and one perpetrator of the murder, and judicial harassment of Mrs. Acosta.
Thus, the petitioners state that instead of seeing justice done for the crime against her husband, María Luisa
Acosta had suffered a series of abuses permitted by the State, such as being accused, sued, and displaced from
her place of residence.
For its part, the State maintained that the criminal proceedings for the murder of Mr. García
Valle had been conducted with full respect for domestic laws and international treaties and that all parties to
the proceedings had been treated equally and respectfully. It also reported that two people had been
convicted of the murder. It pointed out that the fact that the petitioners may not agree with the decisions
made by the Nicaraguan justice system, particularly the dismissal of proceedings against three of the accused
for the murder of Mr. García Valle, did not mean that their rights had been infringed. According to the State, it
was not up to the IACHR to act as a body reviewing judgments on the merits rendered by the domestic courts.
After analyzing the positions of the Parties, the Commission concluded that the Nicaraguan
State is responsible for violating the rights to humane treatment, a fair trial, and judicial protection
established in articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), and 25 (right to judicial
protection) of the American Convention, in conjunction with the obligations established in article 1.1 of the
same instrument, to the detriment of the persons named in the course of this report.
PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION SUBSEQUENT TO APPROVAL OF ADMISSIBILITY
The initial petition was received on June 22, 2007. On November 1, 2010, following
admissibility proceedings, the Commission declared the case admissible by approving admissibility report
148/10 regarding alleged violations of the rights protected under article 5, 8, and 25, in conjunction with
article 1.1 of the American Convention.1 The proceedings between presentation of the petition and the
admissibility report are detailed in that report. On January 10, 2011, the Committee transmitted the
admissibility report to the Parties and gave the petitioners three months to submit any additional
IACHR, Report No. 148/10 Petition 830-07, Admissibility, María Luisa Acosta et al, Nicaragua, November 1, 2010.