REPORT Nº 42/00
On December 23, 1992, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”), received a complaint
filed by the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Center
for Human Rights (hereinafter “the petitioners”), in which the United
Mexican States (hereinafter “the State,” “the Mexican State,” or
“Mexico”) is charged with international responsibility in the death of
citizen Pedro Peredo Valderrama, because of its failure to investigate the facts
surrounding the case and the resulting impunity of the perpetrators. On November 25, 1993, the Center for Justice and
International Law joined the case as a co-petitioner (CEJIL, hereinafter
included with the “petitioners”); Human Rights Watch/Americas joined as a
co-petitioner on October 17, 1996 (also included hereinafter with “the
petitioners”). The petitioners
allege the violation of several rights enshrined in the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention”); namely, the right to
life (Article 4); to physical integrity (Article 5); to judicial guarantees
(Article 8); to compensation (Article 10); to equal protection of the law
(Article 24); and to judicial protection (Article 25).
The report states that Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered on December
20, 1986, in the locality of Xochimilco, Federal District of Mexico, after being
attacked by three persons, who beat him until he became unconscious, and then
shot him three times at pointblank range as he lay on the ground. When the incident occurred, Pedro Peredo Valderrama was in
the company of his brothers Erick and Uriel, who reported to the Mexican
authorities that the brothers Israel Roberto, Pedro Horacio, and Sergio Aguilar
Díaz were the persons who actually carried out the murder, a charge that they
corroborated when they clearly identified these persons during the legal
proceedings. The prosecuting
authority of the Federal District (hereinafter “the Office of the Public
Prosecutor” or “the PGJDF”) started the investigation (preliminary) on
January 26, 1987, with the judicial inspection of the body, and submitted its
findings to the criminal court judge who issued a warrant for the arrest of the
Aguilar Díaz brothers, based on the available information that implicated them
in the crime. These orders were not
carried out until 1996, when Israel Aguilar Díaz was arrested in Switzerland
pursuant to an extradition request from the Mexican State; shortly thereafter,
Pedro Horacio and Sergio were arrested in Mexico.
During the proceedings before the Commission, this body highlighted the
importance of such actions, which were carried out within the framework of the
friendly settlement procedure. At
the date of approval of this report, Israel Aguilar Díaz is still in
prison--although his conviction is still subject to appeal--while the other two
presumed murderers are free. The
petitioners allege that the impunity enjoyed by the presumed criminals is due to
the political influence exerted by the Aguilar Díaz family.
As a result of its analysis of this report, the Commission concludes that
the case meets the requirements for admissibility set forth in Articles 46 and
47 of the American Convention. With
respect to the merits of the case, the IACHR concludes that the State violated,
to the detriment of the relatives of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama, the right to judicial guarantees and to judicial protection
under Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention, respectively, regarding the
general obligation to respect and guarantee rights, set forth in Article 1(1) of
this international instrument. However,
the IACHR concludes that there are no elements in the record to establish in
this case the responsibility of the Mexican State for violation of the right to
life, to humane treatment, to compensation for the miscarriage of justice, and
to equal protection of the law, as guaranteed by Articles 4, 5, 10, and 24 of
the American Convention. As a
result of these violations, the IACHR recommends that the State conduct a
serious, impartial, and exhaustive investigation in order to determine the
criminal responsibility of all those involved in the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama; and in order to determine whether there are other offenses that
prevented a full investigation and sanctioning of those guilty of the act
described above. Also, the Commission recommends that, as appropriate, the
pertinent legal sanctions be imposed on those guilty of the illegal acts
established. Lastly, the Commission
recommends that the Mexican State adequately compensate the relatives of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama for the violation of their rights.
PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION
On January 28, 1993, the Commission requested information from the State
on the pertinent parts of the complaint and assigned the number 11.103 to the
case. The response of the State was
received on April 28, 1993, and forwarded to the petitioners, who provided their
comments on July 22, 1993. On
August 19, 1994, the petitioners informed that they had filed a claim with the
Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, but “there was no favorable
response” from that institution.
After the exchange of communications between the parties, whereby the
respective positions on admissibility and merits were defined, the Commission
made itself available to the parties on January 13, 1995 in order to begin the
proceedings described in Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention.
The friendly settlement proceedings started when both parties gave their
consent in July 1995, and lasted until March 1999, when the petitioners
confirmed their decision to withdraw from these proceedings.
During the friendly settlement proceedings, there was a constant exchange
of information between the parties, and several meetings were held at the IACHR
headquarters and in Mexico. The
most notable progress that occurred within the framework of these proceedings
was the execution of warrants for the arrest of Israel Roberto, Pedro Horacio,
and Sergio Aguilar Díaz in 1996, which resulted in the completion of the
process of extradition to Mexico of Israel Roberto, who had been detained in
On April 10, 1996, the Commission asked the Mexican State to adopt
precautionary measures to protect the life and physical integrity of the Peredo
Valderrama family, when it was reported that they had received threats. On April 24, 1996, the State informed the IACHR that the
PGJDF took steps to provide surveillance of the family's home.
After the communications received from the parties, the IACHR has not
received any additional information regarding threats made to the Peredo
The National Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the CNDH")
sent a note to the IACHR on July 2, 1996, that provides information on the
actions taken to carry out the arrest warrants for the Aguilar Díaz brothers.
On August 15, 1996, the CNDH sent a new communication with updated
On October 18, 1996, the Commission informed the parties that it had
decided to suspend temporarily the processing of the case pending the final
judicial decision in the matter. On
December 16, 1996, the IACHR requested updated information on the proceedings
from the Mexican State, which led to an exchange of observations between the
On October 6, 1997, the parties went to a working meeting at the IACHR
headquarters at which the status of the friendly settlement procedure was
discussed. In its note of December
11, 1997, to the Mexican State, the Commission stated its interest in holding a
meeting in Mexico City in order to make progress in the friendly settlement
proceedings in several cases, including this one.
On January 14, 1998, the State indicated that "it takes the liberty
of proposing that the visit in question be postponed for the time being,"
yet it also noted, on that occasion, that it was interested in making headway at
the Commission's subsequent regular session.
On February 2, 1998, the petitioners asked that the IACHR continue to
take cognizance of this case until the necessary conditions attain for arriving
at a solution based on respect for human rights.
On February 24, 1998, another working meeting was held in Washington,
D.C., with the presence of the parties and the IACHR.
The petitioners reported on April 21, 1998, that Pedro Horacio and Sergio
Aguilar Díaz had been acquitted on April 10 by the judge in the case, and asked
that the State report to the IACHR any steps taken to prevent the case from
remaining in impunity. The Mexican State answered on May 29, 1998, asking that
the IACHR declare that the friendly settlement agreement had been carried out
with the arrest of the Aguilar Díaz brothers.
In their observations of August 18, 1998, the petitioners considered that
the case "is still in a grave state of impunity," and so they asked
the Commission to declare that the State had not carried out the commitments it
took on in the friendly settlement, and to issue a report on the merits.
The State submitted its observations in this regard on September 23,
1998, indicating that "the efforts of the Mexican Government to solve this
case" should not be ignored.
On December 1, 1998, a meeting was held on Mexican cases in which
friendly settlement was being sought, at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign
Relations of Mexico. On that
occasion, timelines were mapped out and meetings scheduled for continuing the
proceedings in this case under Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention.
During the hearings held on March 1, 1999, at the headquarters of the
IACHR, the petitioners stated their decision to withdraw from the friendly
settlement proceedings and asked the Commission to issue a statement on the
merits. The petitioners forwarded
their final observations on March 1 and 5, 1999.
The State did the same on April 13, 1999.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The petitioners allege that the State of Mexico is responsible for
violation of the right to life of Mr. Peredo Valderrama and for the impunity of
the aggressors. They charge that
this situation is the result of a lack of will by the police authorities, who
waited for almost ten years to execute the arrest warrants, and of the violation
of the right to due process that resulted in the acquittal of the brothers Pedro
Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz.
In response to the State's argument on failure to exhaust domestic
remedies, the petitioners argue the following in their communication, which was
received on July 22, 1993:
assertion that not all domestic remedies (regular) have been exhausted, put
forth by the representatives of the Mexican Government, is unfounded and
contrary to law, if one considers that the legal representative of the victims
is the Agent of the Public Ministry, who is the representative of the interests
of society at large (Representante Social)
and exercises a monopoly over the power to prosecute criminal offenses, as
provided by Article 21 of the Constitution....
is obvious that the Public Ministry, under the PGJDF, as representative of
society, is the one who should protect the interests and rights of victims and
take all steps necessary to be able to press criminal charges against the
murderers, for it is irresponsible and criminal to allow one or several
criminals to go free, and that merely by dint of being the children or relatives
of some government official, they have the right to take the life of whoever
they wish, with no fear that the Public Ministry will take any action against
regards the State's position on reparations:
339 of the Code of Criminal Procedure ... indicates as it should that reparation
for damages is to be claimed with the PROCEDURE, and if not claimed there, may
be claimed in a civil proceeding, but once the procedure has concluded, when the
persons tried have been convicted, i.e. that they were found guilty of the
charges made by the representative of society (Representación
Social), for in the event that they were to press claims for reparation for
damages, before the accused were given the guarantee of a hearing, to be heard
and become the losing party at trial, it would be a violation of the guarantee,
and unlawful, for, while it is true that there are sufficient grounds for
imposing criminal liability on the individuals who go by the names of PEDRO
HORACIO, SERGIO, AND ISRAEL AGUILAR DIAZ, it is also true, according to Mexican
law, that they should be subjected to criminal proceedings, for it cannot be
considered that the Mexican Government is asserting that claims for reparations
for damages were not made pursuant to the legal rules cited for causes imputable
to the interested persons, if the criminal proceedings have not been initiated.
[sic] [upper case in the original]
18. In their
communication of May 11, 1994, the petitioners state:
As we have been arguing since our initial written submission, in this
case, since our State is required to afford its citizens judicial protection,
offering effective remedies before judges and courts, and must guarantee that
the competent authorities carry out every decision where it has been considered
legal to do so in the exercise of such remedies.
Such an opportunity, as has been shown, was not duly afforded by the
Mexican State, due, we repeat, to the negligence of the Public Ministry Agent
under the court, of the Judicial Police personnel, and of the judge in the case,
who by their conduct have kept justice from being done, and in particular have
violated the victims' guarantees of juridical security, depriving them of their
right to have justice done in this case. [sic]
The position of the petitioners vis-à-vis
the proposed friendly settlement was that it should "necessarily include
the execution of arrest warrants for SERGIO, PEDRO HORACIO, AND ISRAEL ROBERTO,
all of them with the last names AGUILAR DIAZ, so as to prevent the consummation
of an act of grave impunity" (emphasis in the original).
The petitioners stated in the communication of October 4, 1995, that
carrying out these orders was "the first step in the friendly settlement
procedure accepted by the parties." They
added, on November 15, 1995, that "the negligence of the Judicial Police
and of the PGJDF, together with the lack of will of the Mexican authorities, has
resulted in impunity in the homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama almost nine
years after the crime occurred."
On finding out through the IACHR that Israel Aguilar Díaz had been
arrested in Switzerland, the petitioners said that it was an "extremely
encouraging" development, but that it "is insufficient," which is
why they requested specific information about the arrest and the extradition
proceeding. In the course of the
hearing held October 6, 1997, the petitioners argued that extradition is
"the first step towards reaching a solution in the case," but they are
of the view that it is not the last. In
the same regard, the petitioners stated as follows in their communication of
February 2, 1998:
to the intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the arrest
warrants, neglected for years, were executed, as it was taken into account that
insofar as the persons responsible for the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama are
not punished, the Mexican government is in breach of its international
we consider it of vital importance that this Commission continue to take
cognizance of the case, so long as the following conditions, necessary for
reaching a settlement of the case based on respect for human rights, do not
a fair resolution be issued, in keeping with due process guarantees, and that it
be administered impartially.
the Mexican authorities make a commitment to ensure that the statements issued
against the Peredo Valderrama family are studied in keeping with the law, and
that at the appropriate procedural moment they be declared unlawful.
The petitioners argue that the judgment of April 10, 1999, that acquitted
Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz is arbitrary, that it did not take into
account the criteria for weighing the evidence provided for in Mexican
legislation and case-law, and that it was issued under the pressure brought to
bear by the Aguilar Díaz family. In
the hearing held at IACHR headquarters on March 1, 1999, the petitioners
expressed their decision to withdraw from the effort to reach a friendly
settlement, as they consider the time elapsed since the underlying events to be
excessive, especially in view of the impunity that has prevailed in the case.
The petitioners state the following in their correspondence received on
March 6, 1999:
years and three months have gone by since Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered,
and to date the perpetrators have not been duly sanctioned and the relatives
have not been fairly compensated.
years and eleven months have gone by since the petitioners have appeared before
the Commission to report the violation of Articles 4, 5, 10, 24, and 25 of the
American Convention and the influence peddling that has prevented those
responsible from being punished, to request guarantees of protection for the
Peredo Valderrama family, as well as … the right to swift justice and to the
payment of compensation for damages.
22. In its
initial correspondence related to the case, the State requested a declaration of
inadmissibility because, in its view, there was no proof of acts that violated
the American Convention, and because domestic legal remedies in Mexico had not
been exhausted. The State indicated
that the arrest warrant for the Aguilar Díaz brothers was not executed at first
because they filed an amparo action (recurso de amparo) suspending its effect, but that "once the
amparo was ruled on, the arrest warrant was modified and issued again, this time
for the crime of unaggravated intentional homicide."
The State adds:
regards reparation for the damages, it should be noted that according to the
Code of Criminal Procedure for the Federal District, "civil liability for
reparations for damages may not be decreed other than by the offended party
taking the procedural initiative..." and this must be done "... before
the judge or court that has taken cognizance of the criminal action...."
(Articles 533 and 532 respectively.)
Code of Criminal Procedure provides, at Article 539, that "when the party
in interest with respect to the civil liability does not file the motion ...
after the ruling in the respective proceeding, it may seek to enforce it by
filing a claim as per the requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure ... before
the civil courts."
23. In its
response to the petitioners' observations, the State reiterated its initial
arguments. In addition, it reported
that the CNDH had intervened in the matter and that on November 21, 1991, it
communicated to Mrs. Valderrama that "no acts violative of human rights
appear, based on the investigation, and, therefore, the case will be closed as a
concluded matter." Nonetheless,
it clarified that the CNDH "has stated that it is most willing to hear the
complainant once again and, as appropriate, reopen the case and carry out the
investigations needed to fully clarify the facts set forth in the
response to the proposal to initiate the procedure provided for in Article
48(1)(f) of the American Convention, the State asks in its communication of May
31, 1995, that the IACHR "take into consideration the disposition of the
authorities and corresponding offices to reach a friendly settlement."
It further indicates that constitutional amendments have been adopted,
including the possibility of challenging the decision of the Public not to press
criminal charges. Another reform
the State highlights is the creation of the Office of Human Rights and Community
Services within the PGJDF, and it adds that "as evidence of the good faith
of the Mexican authorities to solve the case, a copy of Report Nº SGDH/3734/95
and its attachments shall be delivered to the Commission, which reflect the
interest of the authorities in carrying out the arrest warrants in
December 7, 1995, the State informed the IACHR:
October 16 of this year, a Special Group of the Judicial Police was formed whose
main objective is take the appropriate steps leading to execution of the arrest
warrants. This Special Group has
undertaken the task of collecting information that will make it possible to
determine with greater certainty the whereabouts of the accused Sergio, Israel
Roberto, and Pedro Horacio, all by the last names of Aguilar Díaz.
In addition, the Special Group has undertaken the task of trying to
determine whether these persons have changed identity.
In addition, one element that will no doubt be most helpful for the work
of the Special Group refers to the composites sketches that were prepared by the
experts of the PGJDF, in which Professor María Concepción Valderrama widow of
Peredo, the mother of the deceased, participated significantly.
26. In the
same communication, the Mexican State reiterates that "it has been possible
to confirm that the fugitives have not sought visas to the United States,"
yet even so "the Mexican authorities are remaining on the alert in this
respect, for as is publicly known, there is large-scale emigration to the United
States of America, and not having documents is no guarantee that one is not in
the country that neighbors Mexico to the north."
In addition, the State indicates that the petitioners "do not take
into account the physical impossibility, recognized by the legislation and by
the doctrine, of carrying out the arrest warrants when the persons named therein
have not been located." (sic) It adds that "the Government of Mexico
has accorded priority to executing these arrest warrants and is making every
effort within its reach to achieve this."
27. Once the three Aguilar Díaz brothers had
been detained and turned over to the Mexican judicial authorities, the Mexican
State maintains that it made every effort to sanction the perpetrators, and, for
this reason, it asked the IACHR on numerous occasions to declare the case
resolved and to close it. On July
11, 1996, the State expressed that "the alleged murderers of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama have been pursued for nine years with tenacity and perseverance by
members of the judicial police of the PGJDF," and that the petitioners'
argument on the possibility of the
Aguilar Díaz brothers evading judicial action is "baseless and without
support." It adds that
"there should be no concern on the part of the petitioners, for the
authorities, in this matter as in all cases under its jurisdiction, will apply
the principle of impartiality, legality, and justice."
The State argues that:
a result of the intense inquiries made in the case of the homicide of the young
man Pedro Peredo Valderrama in Xochimilco, at this time none of the arrest
warrants issued against the Aguilar Díaz brothers is pending execution.
Consequently, this matter is ripe for solution pursuant to Article 49 of
the American Convention on Human Rights.
respect to the delay in the proceedings against Israel Aguilar Díaz, the
Mexican State indicated on January 3, 1997 that "if there has been a delay,
it is only attributable to the defense that was presented by Mr. Aguilar Díaz,
which is within due process." On
September 3, 1997, he reported to the IACHR that the Swiss government granted
extradition of the alleged murderer, and it considers that with this, "the
mutually agreed upon bases for arriving at a friendly settlement have been
carried out." Consequently, the State asks the Commission "to consider
this matter to have been reached a satisfactory conclusion."
This position was put forth in the following communications, as well as
in the hearings and meetings held on the case.
29. On May
29, 1998, the Mexican State informed the IACHR that the case against brothers
Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz was dismissed by the court that took
cognizance of the case on appeal. It
clarified that the Ministry of Foreign Relations "does not have powers to
intervene in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, nor may it urge any
judge to issue his or her rulings in one or another direction," but that
"it has stated its positive disposition to reach a friendly settlement in
this case, in the terms agreed upon before the IACHR; it has closely followed
the case, and will be awaiting the final outcome."
It once again asks that the Commission "declare that each and every
one of the commitments taken on by the Government of Mexico in the friendly
settlement that was pursued in Case 11.103 has been carried out."
response to the petitioners' position, that the agreement was not carried out
because of the persistence of impunity, the State indicates that they
"claim to be unaware of the efforts made by the Government of Mexico to
solve this case." With respect
to the role of the PGJDF, it states:
The Public Ministry, in carrying out its constitutional function as the
entity entrusted with criminal indictments, with the means available to it, the
responsibility of the accused, and it took recourse to the challenges afforded
it by the law of criminal procedure, thanks to which, in the end, two of the
accused were found guilty. From
that point on, actions were undertaken to carry out the judicial warrants for
them to be arrested again.
the hearing held on March 1, 1999, in the course of which the petitioners
requested that a report be adopted on the merits in this case, the State opposed
such a measure, insisted on its good faith displayed during the effort to reach
a friendly settlement, and noted that "there is good will to continue
advancing." Furthermore, it
argued that the conviction is a sine qua
non for discussing reparations in this case.
32. In its
final comments submitted on April 13, 1999, the State “expressed its regret
over the decision of the petitioners to end the friendly settlement
proceedings” and stated that “the process had been complex and had come up
against a number of stumbling blocks.” Despite
this, the State noted that the persons accused of the homicide had been
detained, prosecuted, and sentenced. Furthermore,
is well-established that the State was not involved in the events that led to
the loss of life by Mr. Peredo Valderrama; that a serious, exhaustive, and
effective investigation had been launched immediately; and that the appropriate
action had been taken through the appropriate legal organs, which had led to the
apprehension of the perpetrators, to their prosecution, and to their conviction.
friendly settlement agreed to on the basis of the proposal of March 1995 cited
as a main point execution of the warrants for the arrest of the alleged
perpetrators, which took place in 1996. The
decision regarding their guilt is one to be made exclusively by the judiciary.
practice of the Commission in recent years has been to rule beforehand and
separately on the admissibility of petitions related to individual cases.
However, the IACHR has also made exceptions to this practice in those
cases, such as this one, when the charge of the violations of the right to
judicial guarantees and judicial protection is linked to the analysis of the
exhaustion of domestic remedies within a reasonable timeframe, as well as its
To that end, the Commission will analyze below compliance with the
requirements set forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
State argued that in this case, there was no proof of human rights violations.
As seen above, the allegations in this case describe acts that would
constitute a violation of the rights recognized and enshrined in the American
Convention, and which took place when the obligation to respect and guarantee
the rights established in this instrument was in effect with respect to Mexico.
For this reason, the IACHR has rationae
personae, rationae materiae, and ratione
temporis competence to hear the merits of the complaint.
Exhaustion of domestic remedies
the exceptions to the rule on the exhaustion of domestic remedies, Article
46(2)(c) of the American Convention makes provisions for the unjustified delay
in decisions related thereto. The
murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama occurred on December 20, 1986, and after 13
years, the domestic legal bodies still have not made a definitive determination
of how the incident occurred, nor has any final sentence been imposed on the
into account the time period that elapsed since the murder, the IACHR considers prima
facie that the exception of Article 46(2)(c) applies to the instant case.
The unreasonable delay in the proceedings alleged by the petitioners
shall be the subject of a more complete analysis in the section of the report
pertaining to the investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
Time period for submission
State did not avail itself of the exception set forth in Article 46(1)(b) of the
American Convention, nor did it analyze it in this report, since the parties
agree that proceedings in the Mexican legal system have not yet been concluded.
Duplication of proceedings
Mexican State did not avail itself of the exception provided for in Article
46(1)(d) of the American Convention, nor is it apparent based on the information
contained in the case file.
proceedings provided for in Article 48(1)(f) of the American Convention were
instituted in July 1995, as soon as both parties expressed agreement on that
matter. In the course of efforts to reach a friendly settlement,
which lasted almost four years, several meetings and hearings were held between
the parties, with the Commission present. Finally,
the IACHR ended the friendly settlement stage at the express request of the
petitioners, made during a hearing that took place on March 1, 1999.
In view of the fact that most of the
developments related to this case occurred while these friendly proceedings were
taking place, details on the information received during that period will be
analyzed together with the merits of the case.
establishing that the complaint is admissible, the Commission will proceed with
an analysis of the arguments on the basis of fact and law related to the merits
of this complaint.
Right to life (Article 4)
4(1) of the American Convention states:
Every person has the right to have his life respected.
This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of
conception. No one shall be
arbitrarily deprived of his life.
42. In the
case under analysis, the petitioners have not accused State agents of being
directly responsible for the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, in their view, it results from the failure on the part of the
authorities to investigate the facts. In
that regard, the Inter-American Court has stated
illegal act which violates human rights and which is initially not directly
imputable to a State (for example, because it is the act of a private person or
because the person responsible has not been identified) can lead to
international responsibility of the State, not because of the act itself, but
because of the lack of due diligence to prevent the violation or to respond to
it as required by the Convention.
43. Based on
the information provided in the complaint, Pedro Peredo Valderrama was killed
when he was attacked by armed individuals on a public road.
The information in the IACHR file does not reveal that Peredo Valderrama
had been threatened before by the alleged killers or by other persons, or that
his life had been in danger for any reason.
For this reason, it is not possible to find that the Mexican State failed
to do its duty by preventing the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
IACHR does not have any basis on which to establish responsibility of the
Mexican State for violation of the right to life of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, the question of whether the investigation into this homicide was
conducted in accordance with the rules of due process and whether the right of
his relatives to effective judicial protection was guaranteed will be analyzed
Right to humane treatment (Article 5)
5(1) of the American Convention guarantees that “every person has the right to
have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected.”
The analysis of this case shows that the petitioners reported, on various
occasions, both to the Mexican courts and to the IACHR, that the family of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama had been harassed from the time they
accused the Aguilar Díaz brothers of his murder.
For its part, the Mexican State indicated from the start of the
proceedings before the IACHR, its willingness to investigate and settle this
Commission requested precautionary measures from the Mexican State on April 10,
1996, in regard to which the State responded that it had ordered protection of
the home of the Peredo Valderrama family. The
petitioners disputed the effectiveness of these measures and charged that the
State had not treated the matter with due seriousness.
information contained in the record does not show direct responsibility on the
part of State agents in events that may have jeopardized the physical, mental,
or moral integrity of the Peredo Valderrama family members.
In this case, it is also not possible to charge the State with violation
of this right by individuals acting with the protection of government officials,
or what may have happened because of their negligence.
The IACHR therefore concludes that the Mexican State bears no
international responsibility for violation of the right protected under Article
5 of the American Convention, which, according to the petitioners, occurred in
the case of Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama and her family.
foregoing notwithstanding, in the view of the Commission, there are sufficient
factors to analyze, in the relevant part of this report, whether the State
failed in its duty to investigate the threats made against the Peredo Valderrama
Right to equal protection of the law (Article 24)
24 of the American Convention states:
All persons are equal before the law.
Consequently, they are entitled, without discrimination, to equal
protection of the law.
petitioners charge that the right of the family of Pedro Peredo Valderrama to
equal protection of the law has been violated.
They argue that the political power of the Aguilar Díaz family provided
its members with an unfair advantage in relation to the relatives of the victims
in this case. In its
correspondence, the State makes no reference to this claim.
Commission reiterates what it stated earlier, after analysis of the alleged
violation of the right to life, regarding the ways in which States can bear
international responsibility for the violation of human rights.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has maintained the following:
no discrimination exists if the difference in treatment has a legitimate purpose
and if it does not lead to situations which are contrary to justice, to reason
or to the nature of things. It follows that there would be no discrimination in
differences in treatment of individuals by a state when the classifications
selected are based on substantial factual differences and there exists a
reasonable relationship of proportionality between these differences and the
aims of the legal rule under review. These aims may not be unjust or
unreasonable, that is, they may not be arbitrary, capricious, despotic or in
conflict with the essential oneness and dignity of humankind.
The IACHR notes that in this case, no State agent was accused of engaging
in discriminatory conduct with respect to any member of the Peredo Valderrama
family, and that it is also impossible to establish that responsibility based on
negligence of the authorities. Furthermore,
the petitioners have not provided the most basic evidence to establish a
standard for comparison
and, for this reason, the Commission concludes that there is no colorable claim
of a violation of the right to equal protection of the law.
Right to compensation because of a miscarriage of justice (Article 10)
10 of the American Convention states that every
person “has the right to be compensated in accordance with the law in the
event he has been sentenced by a final judgment through a miscarriage of
justice.” The Commission notes that although the petitioners in this
case cited this provision, neither the facts nor the charges indicate that the
victims were sentenced through a miscarriage of justice.
Therefore, in the view of the IACHR,
a ruling in this report on the right protected by Article 10 of the American
Convention would not be appropriate.
e. Right to judicial
guarantees (Article 8) and to judicial protection (Article 25) in relation to
the obligation to respect and guarantee rights (Article 1(1))
of the obligations imposed under Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention is
linked to the applicability of the exceptions related to the exhaustion of
This is the determination made by the Commission with respect to this case, in
concluding that the application of the exception to the exhaustion of domestic
remedies set forth in Article 46(2)(c) of the American Convention is admissible.
right to judicial guarantees and the right to judicial protection are tied to
the obligation set forth in Article 1(1) of the American Convention.
The following assessment made by the IACHR should be borne in mind:
obligation contained in Article 1 (1) is a necessary corollary of the right of
every individual to recourse to a tribunal to obtain judicial protection when he
believes he has been a victim of violation of any of his human rights. If this
were not so, the right to obtain effective recourse set forth in Article 25
would be absolutely without content.
Commission considers that the right to a recourse set forth in Article 25,
interpreted in conjunction with the obligation in Article 1(1) and the
provisions of Article 8(1), must be understood as the right of every individual
to go to a tribunal when any of his rights have been violated (whether a right
protected by the Convention, the constitution or the domestic laws of the State
concerned), to obtain a judicial investigation conducted by a competent,
impartial and independent tribunal that will establish whether or not a
violation has taken place and will set, when appropriate, adequate compensation.
The Inter-American Court, in analyzing the duty to investigate human
rights violations, makes it clear that this is difficult to determine in certain
circumstances. However, it is defined as a duty in terms of means or conduct,
which “must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality
preordained to be ineffective.” According
to the Court, the obligation to investigate “must have an objective and be
assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private
interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon
their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the
In a decision relevant to the analysis of the instant case, the Inter-American
is evident from Article 8 of the Convention that the victims of human rights
violations or their next of kin should have substantial possibilities of being
heard and acting in the respective proceedings, both in order to clarify the
facts and punish those responsible, and to seek due reparation…. It is clear
that those responsible have not been punished, because they have not been
identified or penalized by judicial decisions that have been executed.
This consideration alone is enough to conclude that the State has
violated Article 1.1 of the Convention, since it has not punished the
perpetrators of the corresponding crimes. In
this respect, there is no point in discussing whether the defendants in the
domestic proceedings should be acquitted or not.
What is important is that, independently of whether or not they were the
perpetrators of the unlawful acts, the State should have identified those who
were responsible, and it did not do so.
obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the persons liable for human
rights violations is a non-delegable duty of the State, especially when its
penal system makes it solely responsible for criminal proceedings.
This is the case of Mexico, where the execution of criminal proceedings
are assigned exclusively to the State in its domestic laws.
Commission will proceed with an analysis of the information available in the
record regarding the investigation into the violation of the right to life of
Pedro Peredo Valderrama, and of the investigation into the threats and
harassment of the members of the family when they reported the homicide, in
order to determine whether they meet the aforementioned requirements of the
Investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
obligation to investigate human rights violations in a complete, independent,
and impartial manner is inherent in the duty to protect human rights, recognized
in the American Convention.
The investigation must meet all the requirements for due process, defined
in Article 8(1) of the American Convention:
Every person has the right to a hearing, with due
guarantees and within a reasonable time, by a competent, independent, and
impartial tribunal, previously established by law, in the substantiation of any
accusation of a criminal nature made against him or for the determination of his
rights and obligations of a civil, labor, fiscal, or any other nature.
As stated earlier, another fundamental element of an investigation is
effectiveness. Under the terms of
Article 25 of the American Convention: “Everyone has the right to simple and
prompt recourse, or any other effective recourse, to a competent court or
tribunal for protection against acts that violate his fundamental rights.” This case involves the right of the Peredo Valderrama family
to ensure that the facts are investigated, the perpetrators are punished, and
they are compensated for damages suffered.
regard to the duration of the legal proceedings, consideration must be given to
the fact that Pedro Peredo Valderrama was killed on December 20, 1986, that is,
almost thirteen years as of the date of this report, and no determination has
yet been made regarding how the incident occurred, the perpetrators have not
been definitively identified or punished, and compensation has not been paid for
the consequences of these violations. The
Commission already established above, with regard to the admissibility of the
case, that this time period is unreasonable. In this section, consideration will
be given largely to the factors established for this purpose by the
Inter-American Court: the complexity of the case; the procedural action of the
interested party; and the conduct of the judicial authorities.
An analysis will be done of the effectiveness of the investigation later
in this report.
62. It has
already been seen that the facts and documentation available indicate that this
case is not a complex one. There is
only one victim, the events took place in a public road and in the presence of
several eyewitnesses, and the persons alleged to have actually committed the
crime were identified by these witnesses.
complaint was filed by the Peredo Valderrama family with the PGJDF on January 2,
1987, a few days after the murder. The
Office of the Public Prosecutor started preliminary investigation 27A/2343/986
after judicial inspection of the body of Pedro Peredo Valderrama. As part of the proceedings, when the alleged killers went to
the PGJDF, they were protected by a writ of amparo
that prevented their detention at that time.
However, when the preliminary investigation was turned over to the
judiciary, the competent judge issued warrants for the arrest of the Israel
Roberto, Pedro Horacio, and Sergio Aguilar Díaz, brothers, on February 4, 1987.
64. In the
view of the IACHR, one of the central issues of this case is the failure to
execute the arrest warrants from early 1987 to March and June 1996 when Israel
Aguilar Díaz was arrested in Switzerland, and Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar
Díaz were arrested in Mexico, respectively.
According to the petitioners, non-execution was linked to the influence
exercised by the Aguilar Díaz family over the local authorities.
The State writes in its correspondence of October 12, 1993, that “thus
far, it has not been possible to execute the arrest warrant because the
whereabouts of the alleged perpetrators are unknown.”
Procedural activity by the Peredo Valderrama family
complaint processed by the IACHR contains copious documentation, the validity or
relevance of which has never been disputed by the Mexican State, regarding the
procedural activity conducted by the Peredo Valderrama family to ensure
execution of the arrest warrant. These
documents include a large volume of correspondence and reminders to the PGJDF,
to the competent judge, and to the Director General of the Investigative
Police for the Federal District (entity directly responsible for executing the
arrest warrant). The petitioners
mention in the initial complaint that, as a result of their actions, the judge
sent official reminders pertaining to execution of the arrest warrant to the
Federal District Investigative Police on June 2, 1987, March 18, 1988, June 9,
1988, February 26, 1989, and May 3, 1991.
Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama also went to the PGJDF on many
occasions to report negligent conduct on the part of the investigative police,
who, according to her, had gone as far as to prepare false reports on
proceedings that had never been held. For
example, mention should be made of the correspondence of April 24, 1990, by Mrs.
Valderrama to the PGJDF, summarizing the actions taken to date, which produced
no results, and which included very specific information on the movements of the
alleged killers. Mrs. Valderrama
mentions in her correspondence three homes frequented by the Aguilar Díaz
family, the business activities of the bothers who were fugitives from justice,
and the vehicles that they were driving, with the respective tag numbers.
According to her, several relatives and witnesses had seen the Aguilar Díaz
brothers personally conducting activities related to these businesses.
State has indicated on several occasions that Mrs. Peredo Valderrama had not
cooperated with the authorities, and that the delay and ineffectiveness of the
investigation was attributable to her. In
the view of the Commission, not only did the victim’s family refrain from
obstructing the process but rather it cooperated actively with the investigation
into the murder. It should not be
forgotten that States cannot transfer to individuals the obligation to
investigate imposed on them by the instruments of the inter-American human
Proof of this lies in the fact that the members of the Peredo Valderrama
family provided important information and personally participated in the search
operations, despite alleged threats from the Aguilar Díaz family.
Conduct of the judicial authorities and the PGJDF
it must be stressed that the Mexican State has not disputed the fact that
Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz was identified in 1988 in the Xochimilco, Federal
District area by the uncle of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, but fled with the
complicity of the agents of the investigative police, who had been called to the scene to arrest him.
The seriousness of this incident, together with the failure to punish the
perpetrators, are enough to establish the responsibility of the Mexican State in
its failure to perform its duty to investigate the facts related to this case.
It is perhaps not surprising therefore, that several years have gone by
without anything being achieved by the domestic legal system. During its on-site visit to Mexico in July 1996, the
Commission was informed by the authorities of the Federal District on the
advances in the extradition proceedings, as well as on the investigation and the
prosecution of the alleged murderers. While
the case was being processed by the Commission, particularly during the friendly
settlement stage, very significant progress was made in the judicial
investigation, with the arrest of the three alleged killers in 1996. In its letter of April 23, 1996, the Mexican State indicated:
Israel Roberto Díaz Aguilar (sic), for whom an arrest warrant has been
issued in the murder of young Pedro Peredo Valderrama, was located and detained
in Switzerland, and proceedings have been instituted for his extradition.
On July 11, 1996, the State informed the IACHR that:
Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz, 30 and 31 years old respectively, were
detained on June 27, 1996 in Mexico, D.F. after an exhaustive investigation by
members of the investigative Police of the PGJDF, pursuant to arrest warrants
issued for the murder Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
However, at no time did the State inform the IACHR whether the Mexican
authorities had investigated certain matters that were very important in
establishing the truth about this case. It
did not provide any information on how the three brothers were able to elude the
Mexican justice system for such a long time.
It did not provide information on how Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz was
able to travel to Switzerland when an arrest warrant had been issued for him,
whether an investigation had been carried out to determine how the three
brothers remained fugitives all that time, or whether an effort had been made to
determine whether there had been complicity on the part of the authorities,
apart from the incident already related involving Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz,
to block execution of an arrest warrant for nine years.
Execution of the arrest warrants in 1996 did not lead to definitive
clarification of the facts surrounding the case, let alone the punishment of
those responsible, since the alleged killers were freed less than two years
after their arrest. On April 21,
1998, the petitioners provided the following information:
Last April 10, the Judge of the Thirty-second Criminal Court of the
Federal District, Sebastián Moreno Olin, by operation of law,
handed down a ruling acquitting Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz,
against whom criminal proceeding 111/97 had been instituted for the aggravated
homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama…This decision of the Mexican State, handed
down through its judiciary, is yet another act of grave impunity that has come
to characterize this case, since more than ten years have gone by without the
imposition of any criminal sanctions on the persons responsible for the homicide
of Pedro Peredo. With this
decision, the fears that we, the petitioners, have expressed regarding the
arbitrary acts committed by the Judge processing the case, the failure to
respond to various claims, and the indifference of the Executive have been shown
to be well-founded.
The petitioners submitted detailed information regarding irregularities
allegedly committed by the first instance judge who handed down this decision,
such as the fact that he confused the name of one of the witnesses (Hernández
instead of Fernández); he referred to the statement of another witness (Carlos
Rioja Walber) who did not appear; he referred to expert topographical evidence
that had not been included in the mass of evidence entered in the proceedings;
he referred to the expansion of the statement of another witness (Fidelia López
Sánchez) who was already dead on the date of the alleged proceedings, and whose
death certificate had been included in the case file; and he quoted from sworn
statements provided by Araceli Contreras Díaz, Ernesto Aguilar Cordero, Pedro
Aguilar Cordero, and Juan Manuel Peña Jiménez as if these statements had been
provided for the defense of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz, when, in
reality, this evidence had been provided in defense of the other person charged,
namely, Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz. The
petitioners charge that all of this “suggests that the judge a
quo has absolutely no knowledge of the evidence pertaining to criminal case
111/97,” “the result of which is the violation of Article 17 of the
Constitution of the United Mexican States, since his conduct is hindering
justice from being duly dispensed in a prompt manner.”
Furthermore, the petitioners allege that the judge,
“in handing down a sentence for an acquittal, is flagrantly violating
the guiding principles pertaining to the assessment of evidence” for the
judge] is rejecting the mass of evidence contained in criminal case 111/97 that
is prejudicial to those being prosecuted individually and separately; contrary
to the stipulations of Article 261 of the Code of Criminal Procedure; that is,
jointly and after weighing in a natural and logical manner the mass of evidence
entered during the preliminary proceedings.
Magistrate is giving full consideration to the evidence of the sole witness for
the defense, who, in this case, is none other than the father of the defendants,
namely Pedro Aguilar Cordero. Therefore,
the judge assigned to the case is
once again violating the guiding principles pertaining to the assessment of
evidence, since, at no time has there been compliance with the provisions of
Article 255(III), given the fact that Pedro Aguilar Cordero, because of his
family ties to the accused, was incapable of acting with complete impartiality.
Furthermore, his testimony for the defense was provided more than 10 years after
the occurrence of this act. In other words, the testimony provided by the father of the
persons who have now been convicted is, beyond a doubt, testimony designed to
provide an alibi, the aim of which is to disassociate the defendants from the
acts with which they have been charged.
According to the petitioners, Erick and Uriel Peredo Valderrama, “fully
and fearlessly identified the individuals who have now been prosecuted for
beating and killing their brother, Pedro Peredo Valderrama.”
The Mexican case law provided by the petitioners to the IACHR notes, one
the one hand, the evidentiary force of the statements of the relatives of
victims, and reduces, on the other hand, the value of the statements by
relatives of the accused. For
example, it is pointed out that the Mexican Supreme Court has maintained that
“the statement of the victim of a crime casts a strong presumption of
responsibility on the person accused of causing the prejudice, since it is
logical to assume that the person who suffered the prejudice has an interest in
ensuring that the perpetrator is punished rather than a third party.”
Despite this, the
petitioners stress that the judge acquitted Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz
precisely because he rejected the testimony of Erick and Uriel Peredo Valderrama
because they are the victim’s brothers, which he alleged makes them unable to
“view the situation dispassionately.”
The State reported on May
29, 1998 that the PGJDF had appealed the acquittal of Pedro Horacio and Sergio
Aguilar Díaz before the Tenth Division of the Superior Court of the Federal
District, and added:
prosecution is fulfilling its duty by insisting on the punishment of the alleged
perpetrators by referring the matter to the court above the one that handed down
the first instance ruling, which means that the matter remains sub
judice, thanks to the appeal filed by the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
should be noted that if the Tenth Division determines the existence of
irregularities that are established from the ruling, which means that the
proceedings were not dealt with in an impartial and objective manner by the
judge handling the case, this ruling will be changed or overturned.
Roberto Aguilar Díaz is still at the Southern Temporary Detention Center, since
proceedings 111/97, which are being handled by the thirty-second criminal court,
instituted against him for the crime of homicide, is still in the preliminary
Furthermore, the PGJDF has started an investigation to determine the
possible commission of a crime related to this case by the judge of the first
instance court, the clerk of the court, and one witness, in addition to the
complaint before the Federal District Judicature Council for possible
administrative irregularities in the decision related to this case.
The foregoing is being conducted in accordance with the mechanisms set
forth by the Mexican legal system for that purpose, safeguarding at all times
With regard to the analysis and case law provided by the petitioners, the
State indicates that “this information could have been added to the arguments
submitted by the Office of the Public Prosecutor when the aforementioned ruling
was being appealed, if it had been provided in a timely manner.”
The State makes it clear that “The Department of
Foreign Relations does not have the authority to intervene in the
investigation into and prosecution of crimes, nor can it urge a judge to hand
down rulings favorable to one party or another. Thus, there is no basis for the request of the petitioners in
this regard.” Finally, it
stresses that the accused have been detained, and, for this reason, it asks the
IACHR “to rule that all the commitments assumed by the Government of Mexico in
the friendly settlement that started with case Nº 11.103 had been fulfilled.”
Finally, in its correspondence of April 13, 1999, the Mexican State
informed the IACHR that the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District
had overturned the acquittal sentence of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Díaz,
pursuant to which the Judge of the thirty-third criminal court issued warrants
for their rearrest on June 12, 1998. These
warrants were not executed due to the fact that the Aguilar Díaz brothers
instituted direct amparo
proceedings against the judicial decision.
The petitioners note that they had asked the authorities to execute the
arrest warrant immediately, in light of the distinct possibility of the
institution of direct amparo
proceedings; however, “regrettably, although this request was filed two months
after the aforementioned decision, no steps were taken to execute these
warrants.” The petitioners add
that Israel Aguilar Diaz was sentenced to 22 years 6 months in prison on March
3, 1999, and they claim that “although this is favorable in terms of solving
the case, there is no guarantee of full compliance,” since the ruling was
handed down by a court of first
instance, and it may appealed and later be the subject of direct amparo
proceedings, which may lead to a delay of more than six months before an
enforceable ruling is obtained. Finally,
they indicate the following:
the process, various irregularities were noted, which should have been reported.
For this reason, the intervening party thought it necessary to file
appeals that were not supported by the PGJDF, which was an indication of its
lack of interest in maintaining the conditions necessary for a proper trial.
In the view of the Commission, it should be recalled that “with respect
to the human rights protected by the Convention, the competence of the organs
established by it pertains exclusively to international responsibility of the
State rather than of individuals.
For this reason, the analysis of this report does not seek to establish
whether the persons accused in Mexico of the homicide of Pedro Peredo Valderrama
are guilty or innocent.
82. The Commission is, however, fully competent
to establish whether the Mexican State bears international responsibility for
violation of the right to judicial guarantees and judicial protection, to the
detriment of the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
The Inter-American Court has stated that:
in principle, any violation of rights recognized by the Convention carried out
by an act of public authority or by persons who use their position of authority
is imputable to the State. However, this does not define all the circumstances
in which a State is obligated to prevent, investigate and punish human rights
violations, nor all the cases in which the State might be found responsible for
an infringement of those rights. An illegal act which violates human rights and
which is initially not directly imputable to a State (for example, because it is
the act of a private person or because the person responsible has not been
identified ) can lead to international responsibility of the State, not because
of the act itself, but because of the lack of due diligence to prevent the
violation or to respond to it as required by the Convention.
( … )
The State is obligated to investigate every situation involving a
violation of the rights protected by the Convention. If the State apparatus acts
in such a way that the violation goes unpunished and the victim's full enjoyment
of such rights is not restored as soon as possible, the State has failed to
comply with its duty to ensure the free and full exercise of those rights to the
persons within its jurisdiction. The same is true when the State allows private
persons or groups to act freely and with impunity to the detriment of the rights
recognized by the Convention.
In light of the foregoing, the Commission confirms its preliminary
assessment with respect to the unreasonable length of the judicial proceedings.
The file shows that the relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama did not
prevent the investigation from moving forward.
On the contrary, they provided very important information which they made
available to the judicial entities of the Office of the Public Prosecutor for
the purpose of fulfilling its duty to dispense justice.
Under standards of international human rights law and the jurisprudence
of the control organs, the main elements of the instant case are not very
complex. However, it is not
possible to establish that the conduct of the judicial authorities and the
authorities of Office of the Public Prosecutor was carried out in accordance
with the diligence required by an investigation such as the one under analysis.
Quite the opposite: the evidence shows that the investigative police
officers engaged in complicity by permitting the flight of an individual for
whom an arrest warrant had been issued, and that a judge acquitted two of the
alleged killers by handing down a ruling whose alleged flaws, reported by the
petitioners, have not been disputed by the Mexican State.
The Commission considers that that conduct has been extremely harmful to
The State maintained the following in its correspondence of April 13,
María Concepción Peredo Valderrama reported possible irregularities by
officials of the thirty-second criminal court to the Office of the Public
Prosecutor, related to the second instance sentence that acquitted two of the
PGJDF started preliminary investigation DGSP/075/98-05 into the clerk assigned
to Judge Juan Sebastián Moreno Olin for possible responsibility in the
commission of offenses affecting the administration of justice.
On January 27, 1999, a decision was made to institute criminal action
against that person. This decision
led to criminal proceedings Nº 11/99, instituted in the Twenty-eighth Federal
District Criminal Court.
proceedings represent yet another legal procedure conducted at the request of
the petitioners, which is in progress and cannot be considered exhausted thus
The foregoing reveals numerous irregularities in the conduct of the
judicial authorities and the PGJDF (including the investigative police, who are
under the oversight of the Office of the Public Prosecutor) in this case.
A number of the irregularities which have been established in this report
were never investigated, and some that occurred more recently are being reviewed
by the appropriate authorities. Lastly,
the conduct of the authorities has clearly had a negative effect on the outcome
of the investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
The information analyzed above also shows that the investigation has been
completely ineffective, and that there is an undeniable link between the delay
of justice and the lack of definitive results of the investigation.
As has been reiterated throughout this report, the period taken by the
authorities since Pedro Peredo Valderrama was murdered until the alleged killers
were captured, is unreasonable, and the facts reveal the serious implications of
impunity in this case.
During the proceedings of this case, the Commission underscored the
progress represented by the arrest of the presumed assassins, although it
expressly stated that their capture did not, in itself, constitute the final
solution to the case:
Commission plenary has decided today to suspend temporarily the proceedings of
the above mentioned case, since it considers that the arrests the presumed
murderers of Pedro Peredo Valderrama pursuant to the warrants issued to that
effect, constitute clear progress in the friendly settlement process, which is
pending the decision of the competent judicial body in order to evaluate full
Almost thirteen years after the crime was committed, it is obvious that
the arrest of the Aguilar Díaz brothers has not shed light on the murder of
Pedro Peredo Valderrama. As was mentioned above, the record does not show any
investigation by Mexican authorities into the facts surrounding the Aguilar Diaz
brothers’ escape from justice for such a long time.
Despite the specific questions to that effect formulated repeatedly by
the petitioners to the State,
it did not inform either if there was an
investigation into the possible complicity of the authorities to frustrate the
execution of the arrest warrants for nine years.
The lack of effectiveness of the investigation is linked to the current
status of the case in the internal jurisdiction: two of the alleged killers have
been released by a Mexican court; a warrant issued for their rearrest was
blocked before it could be executed by the authorities; and no final ruling has
been handed down with respect to the third individual.
The IACHR concludes that the State of Mexico has failed to perform its
duty in providing simple and effective recourse, which would facilitate the
investigation into the violation of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s right to life,
together with the proper guarantees, within a reasonable timeframe. As a result, the Mexican State bears responsibility for
violation of the right of the Peredo Valderrama family to judicial guarantees
and judicial protection, provided for in Articles 8 and 25 of the American
Convention, in relation to the general obligation set forth in Article 1(1) of
this international instrument.
Investigation into the threats made against the Peredo Valderrama family
The petitioners maintain in their correspondence of November 15, 1995,
The Peredo Valderrama family has been the victim of continuous harassment
by persons linked to the Aguilar family, in regard to whom an unexecuted arrest
warrant has been issued for three of its members by the PGJDF and by members of
the investigative police.
The harassment, which has not ceased even during these friendly
settlement proceedings, consists of a number of acts. The first is the institution of civil and criminal
proceedings that are completely unfounded.
The second takes the form of blatant hostility, which goes as far
physical aggression by the members of the judicial police.
With regard to legal proceedings, the petitioners indicate that the
relatives of the Aguilar Díaz brothers filed a complaint for defamation in the
court of first instance Nº 33, based on the public complaint of the murder and
its cover-up. Also, Mr. Felipe
Arenas López sought, in the civil court, compensation from Mrs. Concepción
Peredo de Valderrama for damages resulting from her criminal accusation of the
homicide. In the view of the
petitioners, this action is designed to intimidate the mother of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama and to punish her from a financial standpoint, since in Mexico
criminal action falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Office of the
Public Prosecutor. Also, an
employee of the Aguilar Díaz brothers filed a complaint against Erick Peredo
Valderrama for threats, and the petitioners state that the accused was in school
at the time that the threats were allegedly made.
Insofar as physical aggression is concerned, the petitioners allege that
on June 28, 1989,“three persons who appeared to be members of the
investigative police” struck Uriel Peredo Valderrama, the brother of Pedro,
and as a result, he had to be hospitalized.
According to the petitioners, “preliminary investigation ACI/62/989-06
initiated as a result of this incident did not produce any results.”
The petitioners also state that the investigative police went to the home
of the Peredo Valderrama family on October 17, 1995, and acted in an arrogant
manner when they requested information pertaining to the alleged killers, which
they considered to be an act of intimidation.
In their correspondence of December 5, 1995, the petitioners allege that
“between November 17 and 21, , members of the investigative police
appeared unannounced at the home of the mother of victim, and asked her to
accompany them in order to identify the alleged perpetrators.”
The petitioners had asked the representatives of the Mexican State,
within the context of the friendly settlement proceedings before the IACHR, that
requests from the members of the investigative police addressed to the members
of the Peredo Valderrama family be made through the Fray Vitoria Human Rights
Center, in order to avoid harassment.
In a note sent on December 7, 1995 to the Commission, the Mexican State
provided the following response:
With regard to the charge of harassment of the Peredo Valderrama family,
the Government of Mexico would like to reiterate the commitment made through the
PGJDF to take the actions necessary to provide the Peredo Valderrama family with
the protection expressly requested by the petitioners, as indicated in the
response of April 28, 1993. However,
the Government of Mexico finds its unacceptable that the claimants would charge
that the alleged physical aggression mentioned on page 2, paragraph 4, was
carried out “three persons who appeared to be members of the investigative
police,” since this claim is totally subjective and unfounded.
Despite the foregoing, in correspondence of March 29, 1996, the
petitioners reported new acts of harassment that allegedly occurred at midnight
on March 16, 1999:
Valderrama was in her home and received a telephone call from a young male, who,
in an intimidatory tone and rude manner threatened to kill Mrs. Concepción
Valderrama and her family, warning them that “they would all be killed.”
Mrs. Valderrama hung up the telephone.
The threats were repeated when the person called twice after this, and,
in the last of these calls, the person shouted that “we are ready to kill
March 21, Mrs. Valderrama, accompanied by the first visitor of the National
Human Rights Commission, went to the PGJDF in order to file a complaint related
to new incidents, despite the fact the PGJDF has been totally ineffective in
investigating earlier complaints related to acts of intimidation that targeted
the Valderrama family. Furthermore,
as we have informed the Commission, many of the acts of intimidation have their
origins in the Office of the Public Prosecutor.
On April 10, 1996, the Commission asked the Mexican State to adopt
precautionary measures to protect the life and physical integrity of the Pedro
Valderrama family. In its request,
the IACHR states that “in addition to the serious nature information obtained
is the fact that friendly settlement procedures are currently under way with
respect to this case” and that “in order to achieve any kind of conciliation
based on respect for human rights, a proper atmosphere of calm must exist
between the parties, something that is difficult to achieve if the threats
described above continue.”
On April 24, 1996, the Mexican State reported that the PGJDF has started
“a surveillance operation of the home of the Peredo Valderrama family in order
to protect the lives and safety of its members.”
In that correspondence, the State asserted that no acts had been reported
to the Office of the Public Prosecutor and that agents of that institution had
“repeatedly tried to communicate personally with Mrs. Valderrama or some
member of her household, … but, unfortunately, they refused to see them.”
It stressed the importance of cooperation on the part of the Peredo
Valderrama family and reaffirmed their “desire to reach a friendly
settlement” of the case.
The petitioners disputed the claims of the Mexican State and submitted a
copy of the complaint filed by Mrs. Valderrama on March 21, 1996, which led to
preliminary investigation 50/00334/9603. According
to the petitioners, this complaint “was not taken seriously or treated with
the urgency that it deserved.” Also,
they maintain that the police officers who were allegedly guarding the Peredo
Valderrama family home did not communicate with its members, and that “it is
odd that a system of protection would be implemented without consulting or
informing the alleged beneficiaries.” At a meeting held on March 2, 1996 with the PGJDF officials
and the National Human Rights Commission (hereinafter the CNDH),
five police officers who were “responsible for the operations related
to the case” were introduced to the Peredo Valderrama family.
However, the relatives stated that they did not see these policemen in
the area where they live.
In its comments, the State notes that protection had been offered to Mrs.
Valderrama, and that she had refused it. It
asked the Commission to urge her “to keep the channels of communication with
the authorities open,” and that her advisors adopt a cooperative attitude
towards the proceedings.
The following communication from the petitioners, submitted on May 29,
1996, contained reports of new threats, this time allegedly made by Pedro
Aguilar Cordero, the father of the persons accused of the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama, and even of attempted murder:
May 20, 1996, while Mrs. Valderrama was walking at Violeta and Pino streets in
Xochimilco, she saw the father of the accused.
Later on, at Josefa Aguilar street, he drove the car towards her suddenly
with the clear intention of running her over.
Mrs. Valderrama managed to flee and went to her home to seek help.
However, when she went back out, the car of Aguilar Cordero was not
Ms. Carmona went to the Central Office of the PGJDF seeking to add this
information to the preliminary investigation being conducted into threats made
against Mrs. Valderrama, the person responsible for receiving the documents
indicated that the preliminary investigation was not being handled by that
agency. When Ms. Carmona spoke with
Mr. García Villalobos [General Supervisor for Human Rights at the PGJDF], the
latter indicated that he could not find a record of the preliminary
In the view of the petitioners, these actions demonstrate the absence of
seriousness and political will to investigate the threats made against the
Peredo Valderrama family. In this
regard, they indicate that the lack of trust of the family members in the
investigative police stems from the fact that they witnessed “how an officer
allowed the persons suspected of the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama to
flee.” The petitioners noted that the assistance provided by Mrs. Valderrama
to the PGJDF has no bearing whatsoever on the need for the authorities to adopt
measures to protect the lives and safety of herself and her family.
the petitioners provide information in their correspondence of May 20, 1997
pertaining to another complaint filed by Pedro Aguilar Cordero against the
relatives of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, which led to a summons for several
relatives of the victim to provide a statement at the Xochimilco Office of the
Public Prosecutor. The petitioners
It seems clear to us that this new development constitutes yet another
attempt to intimidate the family, and to create financial and physical hardship
for them. It should be noted that
the Deputy Prosecutor for Preliminary Investigations, Mr. José Elías Apís, is
a close relative of the alleged perpetrators.
its subsequent correspondence to the Commission, the petitioners did not mention
any other threats or acts of intimidation, nor did they reiterate their wish for
the State to adopt preventive measures with respect to the members of the Peredo
information summarized above shows that the petitioners reported various acts of
harassment since the initial phases of processing of this case.
Some were attributed by the petitioners to the Aguilar Díaz brothers and
their relatives, and others, to members of the investigative police of the
Federal District. With regard to
the judicial proceedings instituted by persons connected to the Aguilar Díaz
brothers --which the petitioner view as intimidatory--, the information
available in the IACHR record does not show that any ruling whatsoever was
handed down, in the criminal or civil courts, against the relatives of Pedro
Peredo Valderrama. In any case, the
evidence is not enough to demonstrate, for example, that the persons filing the
suits may have any kind of support from State agents that resulted in
irregularities in these proceedings --in violation of the right to due process--
nor that this action was prejudicial to the Peredo Valderrama family.
the evidence available is sufficient to establish that the Peredo Valderrama
family was subject to several threats, and that it fulfilled its duty to report
them. In April 1996, the IACHR
asked the Mexican State to adopt preventive measures with respect to the members
of this family, since, in its view, the urgency of this had been established and
the Peredo Valderrama family was subject to real danger of irreparable harm,
pursuant to Article 29 of the Regulations of the Commission.
light of these circumstances, the State had an obligation not only to adopt the
protective measures sought by the Commission, but to conduct a serious,
thorough, and impartial investigation into the serious threats and acts
reported. It should be borne in
mind that the Inter-American Court requested, in a decision related to
provisional measures, that the State in question adopt “effective measures to
investigate the acts reported, and, as appropriate,
to sanction the perpetrators” as “an essential component of the right
to protection” imposed by the American Convention.
State informed the Commission that it had taken steps to protect the victim’s
family, “despite the lack of cooperation of Mrs. Concepción Peredo de
Valderrama;” and the petitioners
questioned the effectiveness and seriousness of these measures. In the view of the IACHR, an important element in the
adoption of protective measures consists of consulting with the persons to
receive protection in order to determine the most appropriate action in the
specific case. The Commission has
explicitly formulated in those terms its recent requests for precautionary
measures to OAS member States. In
this case, there was no evidence of this consultation, although it is not clear
whether this was due to a lack of initiative on the part of the authorities of
the Federal District investigative police or to the lack of trust on the part of
the persons who were supposed to receive protection.
should be pointed out that the State did not provide any information on the
action taken to investigate the threats, despite the repeated complaints filed
by the petitioners in this regard. In
one of its letters to the IACHR, the State even denied that the family had ever
reported the threats in Mexico, something that was contradicted by the documents
submitted by Mrs. Valderrama, and there is nothing in the record that casts
doubt on the validity of these documents. With
regard to the attack on Uriel Peredo Valderrama in June 1989 allegedly at the
hands of the investigative police, the State did not provide any information
either to indicate that the incident had been investigated.
On the contrary, it merely dismissed it as being “unfounded and
Commission holds the view that, in the context of the present case, the fear and
mistrust by the Peredo Valderrama family of the Federal District investigative
police are reasonable. In this
regard, it has been reiterated throughout this report that Pedro Horacio Aguilar
Díaz was located in July 1988 by the family of the victim, when there was an
outstanding warrant for his arrest, and that he managed to escape with the
assistance of the very police officers who were at the scene.
This serious incident took place in the area where the Aguilar Díaz
family lived and had its business, one and a half years after the murder of
Pedro Peredo Valderrama.
light of the foregoing, in addition to the situation created by the stymied
investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, the IACHR thinks that
the failure to investigate repeated threats against the Peredo Valderrama family
is an additional violation of the rights of these persons to judicial guarantees
and to judicial protection, pursuant to the duty to provide protection imposed
by Article 1(1) of the American Convention.
ACTIONS FOLLOWING REPORT Nº 92/99
109. On September
28, 1999, the Commission adopted Report Nº 92/99 in this case, pursuant to
Article 50 of the American Convention, and it transmitted it to the Mexican
State with the corresponding recommendations. The State’s comments of December
3, 1999, began as follows:
of all, the Government of Mexico wishes to note that the petitioners appear
unaware of the efforts that have been made to resolve this matter. These efforts
have been constant and if reaching a final result has taken time, this is
because of the very nature of the case.
110. Regarding the
question of whether the delay was reasonable, the State quoted the
Inter-American Court’s jurisprudence in the Genie Lacayo Case
and went on to note that:
delay was thus caused by the time spent searching for the suspects, at home and
abroad, arresting them, and extraditing one of them from Switzerland, the time
taken by the initial criminal trial and the appeal, the time taken to process
and rule on the amparo proceedings
filed by the accused, together with the different obstacles placed by the
accused to prevent their sentencing, the elimination of which has been complex
this in mind, the Government of Mexico rejects any and all allegations that it
has voluntarily delayed the proceedings.
into further detail on this point, the Inter-American Court has said that:
addition to the examination of possible delays at the various stages of the
proceeding, in determining what constitutes a reasonable time throughout the
entire process, the European Court has employed what it refers to as a global
analysis of the proceeding.” (Genie Lacayo Case, Ibid.,
global analysis shows that the time taken should not be used as an indication of
the authorities’ effectiveness, particularly when they have been making
constant efforts to resolve the matter.
111. With regard
to the Commission’s recommendations in Report 92/99, the State again reported
that the Aguilar Díaz brothers, Sergio and Pedro Horacio, were convicted of the
murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama in June 1998 and ordered to pay “the fine
covering reparations.” It also noted that under the amparo
suits filed by the Aguilar Díaz brothers’ lawyers on August 21, 1998, the
“rearrest warrants” were suspended pending resolution of those relief
proceedings. Similarly, the State repeated what it said during the processing of
this case regarding the procedural situation of Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz. It
added that his conviction by the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal
District was appealed against on August 13, 1999, and “is pending
112. The recommendation that the harassment suffered by
the Peredo Valderrama family be investigated and punished in accordance with law
was commented on by the Mexican State in the following terms:
Several national agencies, such as the National Commission on Human
Rights, have at all times been available to the Peredo Valderrama family,
through which they could have entreated the competent authorities to adopt
113. Regarding the
recommendation that any crimes committed against the administration of justice
in this case be investigated and punished, the State repeated the information
regarding the preparation of criminal suit 11/99
and noted that “the steps necessary to determine how the law applies are
currently being taken.”
114. The IACHR’s
third recommendation said that the Peredo Valderrama family should receive
adequate compensation for the violations described in this report. In connection
with this, the State offered its comments and conclusions:
The Mexican authorities cannot speed up proceedings to the detriment of
the defendants’ rights to defense and due legal process. In addition, with
full respect for the principle of an independent judiciary, neither can the
State influence the substance of decisions made by the courts.
To conclude, the matter will arrive at its final stage once the amparo
proceedings filed by the accused have been resolved; hence, the petitioners’
claims that make the matter out as being finalized and totally concluded are not
only meaningless, but also reveal a clear bias.
From this it follows that domestic remedies are still operating and,
consequently, the objections alleging a failure to exhaust said remedies are
inadmissible. Hence, and on the basis of this document’s contents, the State
believes that the case should be filed since there has been no violation of
rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights.
Finally, the Government of Mexico would like to point out the following:
The Inter-American Commission is perfectly aware of each and every
measure and effort made by the Government of Mexico to resolve this case. The
Commission is also aware of the difficulties it has entailed, together with the
nature of those difficulties, the elimination of which has necessarily been very
complex and time-consuming.
The Government of Mexico agreed to a friendly settlement of the case and
took the necessary steps for enforcing it with good faith, transparency, and
commitment. Nevertheless, in the final stages and at a time when the agreement
was practically finalized, the petitioners decided to withdraw from the process
and to ask the Commission to issue the report to which this is a reply. While
their withdrawal is formally allowed, in the Mexican Government’s opinion it
was an nontransparent development that could well reflect a different interest
or go beyond the resolution of the case in hand.
For the Government, developments of this kind are disappointing and they
discourage cooperation with the Commission and the petitioners. The Mexican
authorities will continue to spare no efforts, but in accordance with domestic
legal procedures, pursuant to the terms and provisions set by Mexican law, and
according to the decisions handed down by the judges hearing this case.
115. In this
report the Commission has analyzed the scope of the jurisprudence of the
Inter-American and European human rights systems to determine whether the time
the investigations took to establish the details of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s
murder, identify the perpetrators, and punish them in accordance with due legal
process was reasonable or not.
during the processing of this case nor in its reply to Report 92/99 did the
Mexican State dispute one relevant fact that has been cited several times in
this report: the complicity of the judicial police when Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz
escaped arrest in 1988.
The Commission holds that this grave event in itself justifies a serious
investigation of the possible involvement of other State agents in the failure
to establish the facts of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s homicide and the resulting
impunity enjoyed by his killers. However, the Mexican State provided the
Commission with no information indicating whether or not such an investigation
has been carried out.
117. In addition
to omitting information about the incidents described in the previous paragraph,
the Mexican State’s “global analysis of the proceeding” offers no
explanation of what occurred between December 1986 and early 1996, when, with
only a few months separating them, the three individuals accused of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama’s murder were imprisoned. The “authorities’ effectiveness”
cannot be assessed without considering the serious crime committed by the agents
of the State by thwarting the capture of one of Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s
suspected killers in 1988.
118. For the same
reason, the IACHR does not agree with the general claim that “the authorities
. . . have been making constant efforts to resolve the matter.”
Throughout this report the Commission has emphasized and expressed its
satisfaction with the positive results attained during the friendly settlement
process, including the extradition of one of the suspects from Switzerland.
Nevertheless, it was precisely the global analysis of the proceedings that made
the IACHR aware of the violations committed by the agents of the Mexican State
in obstructing the investigation and of the unwarranted delay that ultimately
gave rise to the denial of justice and the failure to compensate Pedro Peredo
Valderrama’s family. This situation still prevails today and, as indicated by
the Mexican State’s reply, the authorities have taken no steps to remedy it.
119. The State
offered some specific thoughts regarding the friendly settlement procedure,
which are reproduced in full above. In this regard, the Commission feels the
need to note that the procedure set forth in Article 48(1)(f) of the American
Convention presupposes that the mutual consent of the parties is an
indispensable element therein. The petitioners in this case exercised their
right to withdraw at any point in the proceedings; the other party, the Mexican
State, enjoyed the same right at all times. The Commission’s role in the
friendly settlement process is not restricted to observing the parties’
actions; instead, it is there to actively encourage them.
importantly, the IACHR is obliged to ensure that the friendly settlement is
reached with respect toward the human rights enshrined in the American
Convention, which was not possible in the case at hand.
The Commission could not
therefore consider this case settled even were the parties to agree to such a
resolution, since it is clear that the positive developments brought about
through the intervention of officials from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the good will of the petitioners have not been effective in ending
the impunity, the denial of justice, and the failure to compensate those
this report, the IACHR has evaluated the allegations of the parties based on
fact and law, linked to the investigation into the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama. The analysis shows that
the judicial proceedings were vitiated by numerous irregularities, and that they
have gone well beyond the length of time that can be considered reasonable.
In fact, almost thirteen years after the perpetration of the crime, no
final sentence has been imposed on the persons actually responsible for the
crime, the irregularities mentioned have not been duly investigated, and the
relatives of the victim have not been compensated for losses sustained.
The passage of time has clearly benefited the killers of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama, and has led to the denial of justice and of compensation to the
relatives, who have endured additional suffering because of the failure to
investigate the threats reported in connection with the case.
Commission concludes that the State violated, to the detriment of the relatives
of Pedro Peredo Valderrama, the right to judicial guarantees and judicial
protection, protected by Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention, with
respect to its general obligation to respect and guarantee the rights provided
for in Article 1(1) of this Convention. On
the other hand, the IACHR record in this case contains no elements to find
responsibility of the Mexican State for violation of the right to life, personal
integrity, or equal protection of the law.
on the analysis and conclusions contained in this report,
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS REITERATES TO THE MEXICAN
STATE THE FOLLOWING RECCOMMENDATIONS:
Conduct a complete, impartial, and effective investigation to determine
the criminal responsibility of all those involved in the murder of Pedro Peredo
Valderrama, and into the harassment subsequently endured by his family.
Conduct a complete, impartial, and effective investigation to determine
whether there was any cover-up and crimes related to the administration of
justice that have prevented a full investigation into the acts that led to this
report; and, if necessary, impose the appropriate criminal, administrative,
and/or disciplinary sanctions.
Provide adequate compensation to the relatives of the Pedro Peredo
Valderrama family for the human rights violations established herein.
On February 24, 2000, the Commission sent Report Nº 3/00 --the text of
which is above-- to the Mexican State and to the petitioners, in keeping with
Article 51(2) of the American Convention; and it set a deadline of one month for
the State to comply with the foregoing recommendations.
On March 24, 2000, the State sent a letter to the Commission in which it
reiterated several of the considerations on the facts and the law it had
expressed during the processing of this case, and which the IACHR has analyzed
at the appropriate procedural stage. Pursuant
to Article 51(2), at this stage the Commission must evaluate the measures
adopted by the Mexican State to comply with the recommendations and to make
reparations for the violations established herein.
125. With respect
to the first of the recommendations above, the State makes a summary of the
judicial proceedings carried out between 1986 and 1999, and it points out that
the decision is still pending on the amparo
writs filed by the brothers Sergio, Pedro Horacio and Israel Roberto
Aguilar Díaz, in the respective trials. The
State adds that “the Peredo Valderrama family still has available several
remedies at the domestic level, such as the National Commission on Human Rights,
to request, if appropriate, the adoption of precautionary measures” and that
the General Directorate for Human Rights of the Office of the Public Prosecutor
of the Federal District (PGJDF) “was instructed specifically to establish
personal contact with Ms. María Concepción Peredo Viuda de Valderrama, with
the purpose of taking the appropriate measures with respect to the alleged
harassment”. As to the second
recommendation, the State has provided no information on measures of compliance
after report Nº 3/00 was adopted. Finally,
with respect to reparations, the State mentions that the sentence issued in the
case of Sergio and Pedro Horacio Aguilar Díaz orders them to “jointly cover
the amount of $ 22,046.00 Mexican pesos for reparations”; and that for the
same concept, Israel Roberto Aguilar Díaz was ordered to pay $24.966.00 Mexican
pesos. In its “final considerations” the State affirms that
“the case is not closed” and that “it is necessary to wait for the Federal
Judiciary to decide the writs of amparo”
presented by the brothers Aguilar Díaz.
information available to the IACHR shows that the recommendations set forth in
Report Nº 3/00 have not yet been complied with. Accordingly, and pursuant to
Articles 51(3) of the American Convention and 48 of the Commission’s
Regulations, the Commission decides: to reiterate the conclusions and
recommendations contained in Chapters VI and VII supra; to publish this report; and to include it in the
Commission’s Annual Report to the General Assembly of the OAS.
Pursuant to the provisions contained in the instruments governing its
mandate, the IACHR will continue to evaluate the measures taken by the Mexican
State with respect to those recommendations, until the State has fully complied
Approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on April 13,
2000. (Signed) Hélio Bicudo, Chairman; Claudio Grossman, First Vice-Chairman;
Juan Méndez, Second Vice-chairman; Marta Altolaguirre, Robert Goldman, Peter
Laurie and Julio Prado Vallejo Commissioners.
 In this regard, see the
IACHR 1996, 1997, and 1998 Annual Reports, Chapter III “The system of
individual petitions and cases.”
 The Mexican State deposited
its instrument of ratification of the American Convention on April 3, 1982.
 Inter-American Court of
Human Rights, Velásquez Rodríguez Case, July 29, 1988,
para. 172. See also, in
that regard, Asdrúbal Aguiar, Derechos humanos y responsabilidad internacional del Estado [Human
rights and the international responsibility of the State].
Monte Avila Editores
Latinoamericana/Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Caracas, Venezuela,
1997, para. 359, page 202.
 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Advisory Opinion
OC-4/84 of January 19, 1984 (Proposed Amendment to the Naturalization
Provisions of the Constitution of Costa Rica), (Series A) No. 4 (1984), para
 In that regard, see the
IACHR 1997 Annual Report, Report Nº 8/98 (Case 11.671 – Carlos García
Saccone), Argentina, OAS/Ser. L/V/II.98 Doc. 6, rev., April 13, 1998, paras.
 See, for example, the IACHR 1997 Annual Report, Report Nº
3/98 (Case 11.221 – Tarcisio Medina Charry), Colombia, OEA/Ser. L/V/II.98
Doc 6 rev., April 13, 1998, para 80.
 IACHR 1995 Annual Report,
Report Nº 5/96 (Case 10.970 – Fernando and Raquel Mejía), Peru, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.91
Doc. 7 rev., February 28, 1996.
 Inter-American Court of
Human Rights, Velásquez Rodriguez case, Sentence of August 29, 1988,
 I-A Court, Villagrán Morales et al case (The “street children case”), Judgment of November
19, 1999, paras. 227 and 228.
 See for example, IACHR 1997 Annual Report, report Nº
52/97, Case 11.218 (Arges Sequeira Mangas), Nicaragua, OEA/Ser. L/V/II.98
Doc. 6 Rev., April 13, 1998, paras 96 and 97.
The IACHR has also said that:
that no one has been convicted in the case or that, despite the efforts
made, it was impossible to establish the facts does not constitute a failure
to fulfil the obligation to investigate. However, in order to establish in a
convincing and credible manner that this result was not the product of a
mechanical implementation of certain procedural formalities without the
State genuinely seeking the truth, the State must show that it carried out
an immediate, exhaustive, serious, and impartial investigation.
IACHR, 1997 Annual Report, Report Nº 55/97 (Juan
Carlos Abella et al), Argentina,
para 412, page 375.
In this regard see the IACHR,1997 Annual report, Report Nº 48/97, Case
11.411 (Severiano Santíz Gómez et al
– “Ejido Morelia”), Mexico, para 50, page 647; and Report Nº 49/97,
Case 11.520 (Tomás Porfirio Rondin et
al – “Aguas Blancas Massacre”), Mexico, para 67, page 674.
Also, the IACHR 1998 Annual Report, Report Nº 48/99 (Case 10.545 –
Clemente Ayala Torres et al),
Mexico, paras 127-130; and Report Nº 50/99 (Case 11.739 – Héctor Félix
Miranda,) Mexico, paras, 34 and 35.
 In this regard, see IACHR
Annual Report 1995, Report Nº 10/95 (Case 10.580), Ecuador, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.91
Doc. 7 rev., February 28, 1995, paras 46 and 48. In that report, the Commission notes that despite the fact
that the investigation by the Ecuaradorean authorities lasted almost three
years, all possible avenues for
determining the truth had not been exhausted.
Furthermore, the Commission concluded that the investigation was
inadequate, which, in addition to the excessive delay, resulted in the
violation of the right to justice and to determination of the truth
regarding the whereabouts of the victim.
 Inter-American Court of
Human Rights, Case of Genie Lacayo, sentence of January 29, 1997, para. 77.
 In their complaint of
November 16, 1992, the petitioners describe the initial phase of the
proceedings as follows:
The accused appeared to provide a statement to the
official in the Office of the Public Prosecutor, head of the processing unit
Nº 17 of the central division of the Office of the PGJDF, under the
protection of the federal justice system, since they had instituted
proceedings for the protection of their civil rights, and they had been
granted a temporary suspension, and with that, they went to the Office of
the Public Prosecutor.
that occasion, they were accompanied by Lic. Ernesto Aguilar Apis and Dr.
Ernesto Aguilar Cordero, the cousin and paternal uncle of the accused
respectively, who were, at that time, federal representatives for the XXIV
electoral district (at the moment, the cousin is a council member for the
XXIV electoral district). Since
that time, a change was noted in the behavior of
the judicial authorities towards the family of the deceased, and they
even went so far as to shout at them each time they went to find out how the
investigation was proceeding.
 With regard to this
obligation, the inter-American Court has stated:
An investigation must have an objective and be assumed
by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests
that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their
offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government
This is true regardless of what agent is eventually found responsible
for the violation. Where the
acts of private parties that violate the Convention are no seriously
investigated, those parties are aided in a sense by the government, thereby
making the State responsible on the international plane.
Court of Human Rights, Velásquez Rodríguez case, Sentence of July 29,
1988, para. 176.
 The incident was related by
the petitioners as follows:
At the eighth district headquarters, headed at that
time by Commander Felix Chávez
Pérez, together with the officers under his supervision, at 9 p.m. on July
26, 1988, members of the Peredo Valderrama family provided information
regarding the whereabouts of C. Pedro Aguilar Díaz, after the closing of
“El Bosque” bar (owned by his father), located at Nº 471 Calzada
Xochimilco Tuyehualco, on one side of the Nativitas woods, in Xochimilco,
Federal District, so that he could be arrested.
He was in his red Volkswagen sedan vehicle, license plate 413-BRX,
identified by the relatives of the deceased who asked that the individual be
stopped and his identification requested.
This was done, and after identifying himself, he presented
identification that showed him to be one of the persons against whom charges
has been made by the Peredo Valderrama family.
Despite the fact that this individual had been fully
identified, since the relatives of the
deceased had been persistent in their calls for justice from the
investigative police, Commander Félix Chávez Pérez and his colleagues
asked the uncle of the deceased, since he was the one who took them to the
scene, ex profeso, so that the arrest could be made, to go to his car to
get a tool to open the windows of the car,
since the occupant had refused to open the car for them and had
locked it. In trying to respond to the request of the investigative police,
the officers let the killer escape by moving out of his way and blocking the
path of the uncle of the deceased so that he could not follow him.
The patrol car was gray in color, with license plate 189-DRM.
This incident is contained in the documentation
prepared at the internal inspection unit of the Investigative Police, under
the Number 39/88, headed at that time by Commander José Garay Márquez,
internal inspector, dated July 27, 1988.
of July 14, 19994, from Mrs. Concepción Peredo de Valderrama and the
Vitoria Center to the President
of the Federal District Human Rights Commission.
 The evidence that was
rejected by the judge includes, according the petitioners, the statement by
complainant Carlos Valderrama Rosas, the testimony provided by Erick Peredo
Valderrama, the “deposition” from Uriel Peredo Valderrama, the testimony
from José Luis Valderrama Rosas and José Encarnación Rosas, the report
from investigative police officer Enrique Montes, the statements of
Florencia Ramírez Barrón, Fidelia López Sánchez, Ernesto and
Enrique Aguilar Najera, Carlos Rioja Walberg, Demetrio Catalán Escobar, and
María Garcia Vázquez, the medical certificate signed by Dr. Miguel Angel
Molina Soriano, the identification of the body, the list of injuries and
partial identification data pertaining to Pedro Peredo Valderrama prepared
by the investigating entity, the chemical/forensic report issued by expert
Arturo Martínez Hernández, the post-mortem certificate signed by medical
forensic experts Ramón Fernández Cáceres and Roberto Cervera Aguilar, the
criminal field report and photograph signed by experts Manuel León Mendoza
and Mario López Reyes, the list of clothing prepared by the investigating
Office of the Public Prosecutor, and the list of partial identification data
of Pedro Horacio and Sergio Aguilar Diaz, prepared by the social worker.
 Albores Jenao, Page 4603,
Volume LXXX, June 30, 1994, 4 opinions.
 The inter-American Court has
stated repeatedly that it “has attributions, not to investigate and punish
individual conduct, but to establish the international responsibility of
states as a result of human rights violations” (I-A Court, Villagrán
Morales et al case Judgment of
November 19, 1999, para. 223. The IACHR has analogous attributions under the
procedure set forth in Articles 44 to 51 of the American Convention.
 Inter-American Court of
Human Rights, Case of Velásquez Rodríguez, paras. 172 and 176.
 The IACHR has expressed its
concern on the problem of impunity in Mexico at the end of its on-site
visit to that country:
The Commission believes that to strengthen the rule of
law arbitrary acts must be condemned and their perpetrators punished.
On the basis of the information it received, the IACHR was able to
determine that impunity is still a serious problem despite the prosecution
and dismissal of some public officials who have violated human rights...The
IACHR will continue to insist that the fight against impunity is an
essential component in achieving public security and is an internationally
recognized obligation under Article 1 of the American Convention on Human
Press release Nº 15/96 issued by the Commission on
July 24, 1996. Those
considerations were further developed by the IACHR in its Report on the
situation of human rights in Mexico, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.100 Doc. 7 rev.1,
September 24, 1998, pars. 357 to 392. In
that regard, a recent report on the judicial investigation into alleged
human rights violations in
It is clear that time plays an important role in
impunity in Mexico, because the justice system’s slowness in prosecuting
perpetrators allows them to flee, valuable evidence is lost, or family
members and human rights groups are forced to give up.
Rights Watch, Systemic Injustice: Torture, “Disappearance”, and
Extrajudicial Execution in Mexico, January 1999, page 20.
 Communication forwarded by
the Executive Secretary of the IACHR on October 18, 1996 to the Minister of
Foreign Affairs of Mexico.
 In their letter dated May 1,
1996, the petitioners describe the capture of Israel Aguilar Díaz as
“highly encouraging”, but they requested information on the following
date of the arrest;
specific place of arrest;
manner in which the Mexican
authorities learned that Aguilar Díaz was in Switzerland ;
who carried out the arrest;
whether or not he was arrested for
the aggravated murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama;
place where he is currently
specific actions taken toward
whether the extradition is
requested for the aggravated murder of Pedro Peredo Valderrama;
whether there is an extradition
treaty between Mexico and Switzerland;
who informed the Mexican
authorities about the arrest.
petitioners reiterated their request for information on the above, because
they considered the State’s responses insufficient.
 In its correspondence of
June 11, 1996, the Mexican State requested that the IACHR:
In the exercise of its authority as an conciliatory
entity … stress to Mrs.
Valderrama’s advisors that they should provide their assistance with a
view to smooth progress of the proceedings, conduct themselves in a serious
and professional manner, refrain from telling the authorities how they
should perform their functions, and, in general, contribute to maintaining
an atmosphere that is conducive to the friendly settlement of the case, to
the benefit of the two parties concerned.
petitioners responded, among other things, that their “obligation and
duty” as representatives of Mrs. Valderrama consist of seeking her
interest and reporting actions on the part of the Mexican Government which,
in their view, violate her human rights, such as the delay in the execution
of arrest warrants and the failure to investigate the threats made against
that family. (Correspondence of
July 9, 1996).
 Inter-American Court of
Human Rights, Case of Vogt (Guatemala), Provisional measures, Decision of
June 27 1996 (http:\\corteidh.nu.or.cr/ci/) paragraph 5 of the
whereas clause. The provisional
measures in this case were requested as a result of threats targeting Father
Daniel Joseph Vogt, a catholic priest who was performing evangelical work in
the communities in the interior of Guatemala, and who had been threatened
and harassed in various ways for this activity.
The Court analyzed the arguments of the government and the
Commission, and stated that, despite the fact that the government had
adopted measures to protect him, they were “not sufficient or
effective,” in relation to the investigation of the acts.
Subsequently, the IACHR stated that the situation of extreme gravity
and urgency that led to the request for provisional measures no longer
existed, and, for this reason, the Court decided on November 11, 1997 “to
lift and terminate” these measures
 The State’s citation is
the same one used in this report by the IACHR in its analysis of whether the
time taken to investigate Pedro Peredo Valderrama’s murder was reasonable
or not. See paragraph 61 above.
 See paragraph 84 above.
 See paragraphs 68, 83, and
 In recent years, the IACHR
has worked toward a number of friendly settlements with the Mexican State
and different petitioners, including the representatives of the Peredo
Valderrama family in the case at hand. In this regard, it should be noted
that one agreement was recently reached, by means of which the State and the
petitioners asked the Commission to conclude proceedings in one individual
case. See IACHR Press Release Nº 29/99, December 3, 1999. The Commission
will continue to actively seek friendly settlements in individual cases with
the respect due to the human rights protected by the American Convention.
 On March 22, 2000 the petitioners sent a letter in
which they informed the IACHR that they had forwarded a copy of Report Nº
3/00 to the Head of the Government of the Federal District, to the President
of the Superior Court of Justice of the Federal District and to the
President of the Supreme Court of the Nation, “requesting compliance with
the recommendations in their respective jurisdiction”.
The Secretariat of the Government of the Federal District responded:
Head of the Government of the Federal District shall accept the above
mentioned recommendation for all legal effects…we shall immediately
proceed to analyze the contents of Report Nº 3/00 which you have kindly
sent us in order to implement the pertinent measures within our legal
framework, and we will notify you about it in due course.