II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5. On March 23, 2005, the Commission received a complaint dated February 25, 2005, lodged
by the Guatemalan Institute for Comparative Studies in Criminal and Social Science (ICCPG)
and assigned it No. 321-05. On May 12, 2005, the Commission forwarded the relevant parts to
the State and requested that it submit its response within two months in accordance with the
provisions of Article 30.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (hereinafter the “Rules of Procedure”). The State’s response was received on
March 7, 2006.
6. Furthermore; the IACHR received information from the petitioners on the following dates:
May 31, 2005; April 16, 2006; August 9, 2006; November 2, 2006; February 18, 2008; July 3,
2008; March 2, 2009 and on July 15, 2009. Those communications were duly forwarded to the
State.
7. The IACHR also received observations from the State on the following dates: June 12, 2006;
September 26, 2006; January 10, 2007; November 24, 2008; on May 29, 2008, and on
October 14, 2009. Those communications were forwarded to the petitioners.
III.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

The Petitioners

8. The petitioners allege that Mrs. María Inés Chinchilla, who was sentenced to 30 years in
prison for committing homicide, died on May 25, 2004, while serving her sentence at the
Female Orientation Center.
9. The petitioners contend that the death of the alleged victim was the result of two
interrelated causes. First, because the alleged victim suffered from diabetes mellitus and from
high blood pressure that became more serious due to the lack of proper medical care while in
prison, and, second, due to the negligence of the staff of the correctional institution after she
fell on May 25, 2004, and subsequently died.
10.Specifically, with regard to the medical care provided to the alleged victim, the petitioners
contend that the correctional institution did not have the proper medication, care or diet
needed to treat her illnesses. The petitioners point out that to schedule medical appointments
outside of the correctional institution required long and bureaucratic procedures that had to be
approved by the judge. They also point out that the alleged victim missed several medical
appointments because, in addition to the fact that often times the penitentiary system did not
have a sufficient number of guards to transport the alleged victim to the hospital, the National
Civil Police could not provide agents for the guard detail or did not have fuel for the vehicle.
11.With regard to diet, the petitioners allege that the State has the obligation to provide the
proper food and the diet established for each individual and that the diet must be
administrated by the penitentiary system staff in accordance with established national and
international standards. Therefore, when the State indicates that Mrs. Chinchilla did not follow
the diet and that she ate sugar and other inappropriate foods, the State demonstrates that it
did not fulfill its obligation to exercise control and provide care for the individual.
12.The petitioners maintain that the physical deterioration of Mrs. Chinchilla, as a result of the
poor medical care provided in the correctional institution, had led to the development of
tumors; diabetic comas on several occasions; the debridement of her feet; retinopathy; and, –
in August 2002– the supracondylar amputation of her right leg. The petitioners also point out
that because of the diabetes, the alleged victim had developed an infection in the amputated
limb which prevented her mobility and required her to resort to a wheelchair. The petitioners
further allege that those circumstances made it quite evident that the alleged victim’s health
demanded continuous specialized care outside of a correctional institution because the
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