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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of the assassination of Mr. Jaime Ricaurte Hurtado González and Mr. Pablo Vicente Tapia Farinango, a member and substitute member of the National Congress of Ecuador, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/173/11(b)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 171st session (September 2002),

Taking account of the observations provided by the President of the Specialised Permanent Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress at the hearing held on the occasion of the 109th Assembly, and of the letters from the judicial authorities he conveyed; taking account also of a communication from the Prosecutor General dated 1 September 2003,

Recalling that Mr. Hurtado, Mr. Tapia and Mr. Wellington, a legislative assistant who accompanied them, were shot dead on 17 February 1999 shortly after leaving the morning plenary sitting of Parliament; recalling also that strong criticism has been voiced by the Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI), a monitoring commission set up by the Government, of the conduct of the investigation and the conclusions of the prosecution,

Recalling in particular the following information on file which has given rise to concern:

  • By 18 May 2001, the three accused, Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Merino and Mr. Ponce, who had been sentenced by the Pichincha Court to six years' imprisonment for criminal association for their participation in the crime as accessories, had been granted early release and have since failed to appear before the investigating judge;

  • The Special Commission of Inquiry has strongly criticised the prosecutor's summing-up in this case because it failed to take into account the evidence suggesting inter alia the participation of a third person, Mr. Contreras, in the crime and the dubious role played by certain police officers;

  • On 21 February 2002, Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López, the Commission's adviser, was attacked after presenting the Commission's report Crime and Silence to Congress; according to the Prosecutor General, a preliminary investigation (N 3998-2002-RF) has been launched in the Office of the Pichincha District Prosecutor;

  • Despite two Congress resolutions requesting it to pay pensions to the families of the victims in accordance with past practice, the Government has so far failed to do so;

  • The judge in the case has yet to give a ruling even though the pre-trial proceedings have been closed, and the latest step in the proceedings dates back more than a year,

Considering that, according to the Prosecutor General, her Office had fulfilled the role assigned to it by the former Code of Criminal Procedure applying in this case; further action had now to be taken by the judge in the case, the President of the Higher Court of Quito; considering in this respect that, according to a communication from the latter to the President of the Supreme Court, the proceedings are at the intermediate stage and he hoped to arrive at a decision in the course of September 2003,

Considering also that the Special Commission of Inquiry met, at its request, with the President of the Republic on 25 April 2003 to inform him of its work and to seek his support and assistance, including on the need to act upon the request of the National Congress that financial support be granted to the widows and under-age children of the victims; according to the President of the CEI, the President of the Republic expressed support of the CEI, albeit in very general terms, so that no firm commitment was made,

  1. Thanks the President of the Specialised Permanent Committee on International Affairs and National Defence for his observations and the documents he provided, together with his assurance of continuing cooperation;

  2. Also thanks the Prosecutor General for her communication; notes that her Office has at present completed its procedural role in the Hurtado case; would nevertheless be pleased to receive information on progress made in the investigation into the attack on Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López;

  3. Takes note of the meeting of the Special Commission of Inquiry with the President of the Republic; trusts that the Government will give full support to the CEI, convinced as it is that such support is essential to establishing the truth and preventing the recurrence of such cases;

  4. Is confident that the trial judge will take the required procedural decision without delay to allow the proceedings to progress and advance to the next stage;

  5. Urges the Government to act on the two resolutions adopted by the previous National Congress and, in accordance with past practice, grant pensions to the families of Mr. Hurtado, Mr. Tapia and Mr. Wellington;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities, inviting them to keep the Committee informed of the proceedings;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly.

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