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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 175th session (Geneva, 1st October 2004)

The Governing 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, member and substitute member of the National Congress of Ecuador who were murdered on 17 February 1999, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/175/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 174th session (April 2004),

Taking account of the information and documents provided by the Chairman of the Specialised Standing Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress on 15 September 2004 and by the President of the Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI) on 20 September 2004 and the communication of the Director General for Legal Advisory Services of the Prosecutor General's Office of 9 August 2004,

Recalling that the CEI set up by Executive Decree 636 of 25 February 1999 to help establish the truth in this case has sharply criticised the conduct and conclusions of the investigating authorities, including the indictment and the decision of 8 October 2003 by the judge in this case to pass on to the trial stage and to declare the trial proceedings open against five suspects, including someone, Mr. Contreras, currently imprisoned for another crime, and to stay proceedings against three other persons; that the lawyers of the victims and of the defendants filed appeals against that decision which are pending before the Sixth Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Quito,

Recalling that the Office of the Pichincha District Prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation into the attack on Mr. Marcelo Andocilla López, the CEI’s adviser, which took place shortly after his presentation of the Commission’s report Crime and Silence to Congress on 20 February 2002; that Mr. Andocilla was beaten up and left unconscious by the attackers, who sped off in his car,

Considering that the Chairman of the Specialised Standing Committee on International Affairs and National Defence affirms that, while a link between the presentation of the report and the attack should not be ruled out, at present the incident has not been termed a purely politically motivated crime by the authorities or the victim; that the documentation shows that, on 6 February 2003, Mr. Andocilla's car was found and impounded by the police, who apprehended the driver, a relative of the current owner, both of whom were said to be unaware of the illegal origin of the car; that the investigation was still at its preliminary stage and had not yet determined the identity of the attackers,

Noting also that, according to the President of the CEI, none of the presumed culprits in the murder of Mr. Hurtado and Mr. Tapia had been arrested and that only Mr. Contreras was currently in detention; recalling in this connection that the three suspects, Mr. Aguirre, Mr. Ponce and Mr. Merino, who were arrested immediately after the murder and in August 2000 sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for criminal association for their participation in the murder as accessories, were all granted early release in early 2001 and have since then failed to obey court summons,

Considering that, according to the President of the CEI, the Minister of Justice, unlike his predecessors, has not yet agreed to meet with the CEI; the Ministry of Justice has not been forthcoming with financial assistance and has suggested that a date be fixed for the dissolution of the CEI,

Considering finally that, despite an earlier request from the National Congress, the subsequent governments have failed to take any action to provide pensions for the victims’ families,

  1. Thanks the Chairman of the Specialised Standing Committee on International Affairs and National Defence of the National Congress, the Prosecutor General's Office and the President of the CEI for the information and documents provided;

  2. Notes that the investigation into the attack on Mr. Andocilla has progressed; trusts that the discovery of the stolen car will enable the authorities to identify the culprits and establish whether there is a link between the attack on him and his work for the CEI; would appreciate being kept informed of progress in the investigation;

  3. Is deeply concerned that five of the six persons currently accused in the murder remain at large and may even have fled abroad; considers this all the more worrying with respect to Mr. Ponce, Mr. Aguirre and Mr. Merino, who were released after serving only one third of their sentence for criminal association in connection with the murder, and who, according to the CEI, given the strong clues and outstanding questions at the time regarding their overall responsibility in this crime, should have been kept at the disposal of the authorities;

  4. Calls on the authorities to do their utmost to ensure that all the accused indeed stand trial and that Mr. Contreras remains in detention should he have served his sentence before the trial is completed; wishes to ascertain what steps are being taken, including through Interpol, to locate the other presumed culprits;

  5. Trusts that the appeals lodged by the parties concerned will be dealt with swiftly and that due account will be taken of the evidence gathered by the CEI, so that the case will finally pass on to the trial stage; would greatly appreciate being kept informed in this respect;

  6. Expresses deep concern at the alleged lack of support from the Ministry of Justice for the work of the CEI; calls on the Government to provide the CEI with all necessary assistance, including financial, to enable it to continue providing its crucial input until completion of the judicial proceedings;

  7. Remains concerned that, more than five years after the murder, the authorities have yet to grant pensions to the victims’ families; urges the authorities to remedy this situation without further delay;

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

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 112th Assembly (April 2005).

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