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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

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/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

Taking account of a letter from the President of the Standing Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress, dated 5 January 2004, and of a letter from the Prosecutor General dated 26 March 2004,

Recalling that Mr. Hurtado, Mr. Tapia and Mr. Wellington, a legislative assistant, were shot dead on 17 February 1999 after leaving the morning plenary session of Parliament; the prosecution summed up its investigation in July 2002 and concluded that Mr. W. Aguirre and Mr. C. Ponce, who had both been sentenced in August 2000, along with Mr. S. Merino, for criminal association for their participation in the crime as accessories, were accountable as perpetrators and Mr. Merino as an accessory; the Special Inquiry Commission (CEI) set up by the Government to monitor the investigation strongly criticised those findings and, by means of a special judicial hearing provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code, submitted to the judge on 20 September 2002 the evidence it possessed to the effect that the summing-up was inaccurate, incoherent, incomplete and failed to take account of evidence suggesting the participation of a fourth person, Mr. Contreras, and the dubious role played by some police officers,

Considering that, on 8 October 2003, the President of the High Court of Quito, the judge in the case, declared the trial proceedings (auto de llamamiento a juicio) open against the accused Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Ponce, Mr. Contreras, Mr. Martínez Arbeláez alias “Milanta” or “Skipper Germán Sánchez”, and Mr. Gil Ayerve alias “Henry”, as the presumed masterminds and perpetrators of the crime, and Mr. Merino as an accessory to the crime, and ordered their arrest and detention; he ordered a stay of proceedings against Mr. Ordóñez, Mr. Cevallos Gómez and Mr. Bravo Mera, alias "Victorino" and ordered the dismissal of proceedings for want of evidence in the case of 18 other accused persons, mainly police officers,

Considering further that, according to the Prosecutor General, the Judge granted on 30 October 2003 the appeals lodged by both Mr. Lenin Hurtado, the lawyer of the victims, and the lawyer of the defendants against the decision to open the trial proceedings; both appeals are pending before Justice Fernando Casares Carrera of the Sixth Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Quito; moreover, the Prosecutor in the case rejected on 9 February 2004 a request for the reopening of the investigation, referred to her on 6 February on the ground that it would delay the trial and obstruct the course of justice,

Recalling that, on 21 February 2002, Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López, the CEI’s adviser, was attacked after presenting its report Crime and Silence to Congress; according to the Prosecutor General, a preliminary investigation (N° 3998-2002-RF) was launched in the Office of the Pichincha District Prosecutor; noting in this respect that no further information has been provided on this matter and that the President of the Specialised Permanent Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress, at his meeting with a Committee member on the occasion of the 110th Assembly, stated that he was unaware of the incident,

Recalling also that, although the previous Congress requested that, in accordance with past practice, pensions be granted to the families of the three victims, the Government does not yet seem to have taken any action in this respect,

  1. Thanks the President of the Specialised Permanent Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress for the information he provided and his cooperation;

  2. Also thanks the Prosecutor General for her constant cooperation;

  3. Notes that the judge in the case issued the decision required for the case to pass on to the trial stage, and that appeals against that decision are pending;

  4. Earnestly hopes that the judge hearing the appeals will give a decision as early as possible in order that the case, which has been pending now for more than four years, may indeed pass on to the trial stage; calls on Parliament to follow the proceedings closely;

  5. Insistently reiterates its wish to receive information on progress made in the investigation into the attack on the special adviser to the Special Enquiry Commission, Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López, perpetrated on 21 February 2002;

  6. Also reiterates its wish be informed as to whether the Government has in the meantime granted pensions to the families of Mr. Hurtado, Mr. Tapia and Mr. Wellington;

  7. Calls on the competent authorities to continue supporting the Special Inquiry Commission, inter alia by providing the necessary financial means, until completion of the judicial proceedings to ensure that it can continue providing its input, which has been crucial throughout the proceedings;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its forthcoming session, to be held on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004).

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