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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Jaime Ricaurte Hurtado González and Mr. Pablo Vicente Tapia Farinango, a member and substitute member of the National Congress of Ecuador, respectively, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking account of the information provided on 13 August 2002 by the Prosecutor General, including a copy of the summing-up for the prosecution, and on 5, 8 and 13 August and 3 and 19 September 2002 by the Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI),

Recalling that the two MPs concerned and their assistant, Mr. Wellington Borja Nazareno, were shot dead on 17 February 1999 in the vicinity of the National Congress; the preliminary police report concluded that the motive for the killing was Mr. Hurtado's links with the Colombian guerrilla movement; however, the Special Commission of Inquiry set up by Executive Decree 636 of 25 February 1999 to establish the truth has gathered evidence suggesting that Mr. Hurtado's investigations into corruption cases involving high-profile figures from both business and political circles may have been the motive for the crime; Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Merino and Mr. Ponce were arrested immediately after the murder and sentenced in August 2000 by the Pichincha Court to six years' imprisonment for criminal association for their participation in the crime as accessories,

Considering that the prosecution only summed up on 19 July 2002, after two prosecutors had refused to do so and a third one had been replaced, and concluded that Mr. Aguirre and Mr. Ponce were accountable as perpetrators of the murder and Mr. Merino as an accessory; the CEI has strongly criticised these conclusions, which it considers to be inaccurate and incomplete, and more importantly, failed to take into account the evidence suggesting inter alia the participation of a third person, Mr. Contreras, in the crime and the role played by certain police officers in relation to the crime; the CEI reported on 19 September that its President would intervene the following day in a crucial judicial hearing which he had requested,

Recalling that by 18 May 2001, all three accused had been granted early release in the criminal association judgment and that Mr. Ponce and Mr. Aguirre have since failed to appear before the investigating judge; recalling that, in her letter of 25 September 2001, the Prosecutor General reiterated her continuing determination to bring to justice those responsible for the triple murder,

Recalling that on 21 February 2002 Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López, the Commission's adviser, presented his report Crime and Silence to Congress; the following day he was intercepted by two vehicles and, after being blindfolded and beaten by three men, left unconscious in the Metropolitano park; on 4 March 2002, the President of the Commission requested the Prosecutor in Pichincha to investigate the matter and punish the perpetrators of the crime,

Recalling finally that, despite two Congress resolutions requesting it to pay pensions to the families of the victims in accordance with past practice, the Government has failed to do so, claiming that no corresponding budgetary provision had been made,

  1. Thanks the Prosecutor General for the information provided; deeply regrets that it does not address the attack on the Special Commission's adviser, and therefore reiterates its wish to ascertain whether an investigation has been instituted and to be informed of any results;

  2. Takes note with satisfaction that the prosecution has finally summed up; is alarmed however at the observations made by the CEI that the indictment is inaccurate and incomplete, thereby adding further weight to fears that the trial may fail to establish the full truth;

  3. Fails to understand that the Prosecution has, throughout the investigations and in its final conclusions, disregarded many of the recommendations coming from a body set up by the Government for the sole purpose of shedding light on the murder;

  4. Is shocked that, given what is now known about the line of inquiry on which it relied, the prosecution, before granting Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Ponce and Mr. Merino early release, did not take measures to ensure that they would obey court summons and stand trial; wishes to ascertain whether such measures have meanwhile been taken;

  5. Notes that a special judicial hearing took place on 20 September 2002; wishes to ascertain its outcome, and would appreciate information about the progress of the trial proceedings;

  6. Deeply regrets the continued lack of response of the parliamentary authorities for more than two years; calls once again on the National Congress, in particular its Human Rights Committee, to lend its full support to the CEI in this crucial phase of the proceedings;

  7. Recalls that, in accordance with generally accepted standards of human rights, the families of victims are entitled to adequate material compensation; therefore urges the Government to act without further delay on the two resolutions from the National Congress requesting it to pay pensions to the victims' families;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the President of the Republic, the President of the National Congress, the Minister of Justice, the Prosecutor General, the Special Commission of Inquiry and the source;

  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003).

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