observations on the merits. In the same communication, the Commission placed itself at the disposal of the
parties with a view to reaching a friendly settlement of the matter, for which purpose it requested them to
state their interest in that regard at their earliest convenience. In a document dated November 30, 2010, the
petitioners expressed their desire to avail themselves of the friendly settlement procedure. That information
was relayed to the State in a communication dated January 10, 2011. The State was given one month to reply.
However, the Nicaraguan State did not respond to the petitioners' proposal and submitted its observations on
the merits on March 17, 2011.
6.
The petitioners' observations on the merits were received on August 18, 2011 and on March
14, October 17, and December 6, 2013, all of which were duly remitted to the State. For its part, the State
presented additional briefs on October 18, 2011 and on September 6 and October 29, 2013. That information
was duly forwarded to the petitioners. The IACHR also conducted a public hearing on this case on October 29,
2013 during its 149th regular session.
III.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

The Petitioners

7.
During the merits phase, the petitioners continued to argue that the Nicaraguan State was
liable for violating the rights established in articles 4, 5, 8, 11, and 25 of the American Convention because of
the incidents related to the murder of Mr. Francisco García Valle.
8.
They stated that Mrs. María Luisa Acosta's husband, Mr. Francisco García Valle, had been
shot dead on April 8, 2002 at his home in Bluefields, Nicaragua. They asserted that the murderers' had really
wanted to kill or intimidate his wife, Mrs. María Luisa Acosta, because her work in defense of the ownership
rights of the indigenous peoples of the Pearl Lagoon basin (Cuenca de Laguna de Perlas) was against the
interests of businessman Peter Tsokos and his business partner Peter Martínez. They pointed out that it was
a well-known fact in Bluefields that CALPI, the legal assistance center headed by Mrs. Acosta "was in the
midst of a battle" against actions undertaken by Peter Tsokos and Peter Martínez. They said that this case
"illustrates the danger the human rights defenders face when doing their job, above all the impunity enjoyed
by those who attack them."
9.
They said that two people had been convicted for carrying out the murder of Francisco
García Valle: Iván Argüello Rivera and Wilberth José Ochoa Madariaga. They alleged that irregularities during
the proceedings meant that the third person responsible has not yet been identified, that proceedings against
the alleged instigators and one alleged perpetrator of the murder had been dismissed, and that the appeal
against that decision had been improperly rejected on formal grounds. They pointed out that the state of
affairs had resulted in partial impunity.
10.
They also declared that, based on a mere accusation by one of the alleged instigators, Peter
Martínez, Mrs. Acosta had been accused of the offense of complicity in the murder of her own husband. The
petitioners alleged that, as an accused in the proceedings, without a court-appointed counsel (her own legal
representative had not been allowed to intervene), María Luisa Acosta had been prevented from submitting
evidence against the alleged instigators of her husband's murder. They further pointed out that, even though
the Public Prosecutor's Office and Mrs. Acosta had informed the Criminal Court Judge in Bluefields
(hereinafter "Criminal Court Judge") that, for security reasons, she had moved to Chinandega, the judge
wanted to force her to appear before the Bluefields Court and indeed issued a warrant for her arrest on May
2, 2002. They stated that the judge in the case, before issuing his judgment dismissing proceedings against
María Luisa Acosta, had described her to the national press media, as an accessory after the fact in the murder
of her husband (la encubridora del asesinato de su esposo). They asserted that the accusation against her had
been intended to intimidate her and to get her to desist from requesting an impartial investigation into the
murder of her husband.
11.
They also indicated that, because of Mrs. Acosta's accusations against the alleged instigators,
in May 2002 those individuals had sued her for alleged damages and had had her home in Bluefields

Select target paragraph3