REPORT Nº 74/021
October 9, 2002



1. On June 9, 2000 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the InterAmerican Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a complaint submitted by
the Public Criminal Defense Institute (IDPP) (hereinafter “the petitioners”), on behalf of Mr.
Fermín Ramírez or Fermín Ramírez Ordoñez (hereinafter “the alleged victim”), against the
Republic of Guatemala (hereinafter “the State,” “the Government,” or “Guatemala”). The
petition addresses the death sentence handed down to Mr. Fermín Ramírez on March 6, 1998
by the Sentencing Court for Criminal, Drug, and Environmental Offenses in Escuintla
department, after the defendant was found guilty of the crime of murdering the minor child
Grindi Yasmín Franco Torres. On that same occasion, the petitioners asked the Commission to
grant precautionary measures to protect the alleged victim.
2. The petitioners maintain that the State is responsible for violating the right to life, the right
to a fair trial, and the right to judicial protection contained in Articles 4, 8, and 25 of the
American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention”) with respect
to Fermín Ramírez, along with its general obligation of respecting and ensuring the rights
enshrined in the Convention.
3. The State, in turn, holds that the trial that imposed the capital sentence on the alleged
victim was conducted within the strict framework of Guatemalan law and that in addition, the
alleged victim had access to all the means of defense necessary to challenge the unfavorable
court rulings. It therefore asks the Commission to rule the petitioners’ claim inadmissible.
4. Based on its analysis of the parties’ positions, the Commission concludes that it is
competent to hear this claim and that the petition is admissible under the provisions of Articles
46 and 47 of the American Convention.


5. The petition was lodged with the Commission on June 9, 2000. On that same occasion, the
petitioners also requested precautionary measures on behalf of the alleged victim. On June 27,
the petitioners once again contacted the IACHR, requesting that it ask the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights to adopt provisional measures on the convicted man’s behalf. In
consideration of that request, the IACHR forwarded the relevant documents to the Guatemalan
State on June 19, 2000, and asked it to submit information regarding the precautionary
measures sought within the following seven days. Shortly after, on June 21, 2000, the State
told the IACHR that its request would be satisfied as soon as possible by the competent courts
of law, to which the case file had already been forwarded.
6. In a communication dated August 11, 2000 the State informed the Commission that this
case entailed no violations of rights enshrined in the Convention and that, in addition, the fact
that the domestic remedies available to Mr. Ramírez had not been exhausted further
disqualified the IACHR from granting any kind of precautionary measures for the alleged victim


Commissioner Marta Altolaguirre, a Guatemalan national, did not participate in discussing and deciding on this case
in accordance with Article 17(2)(a) of the Commission’s new Rules of Procedure, which came into force on May 1,

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