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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Jaime Ricaurte Hurtado González and Mr. Pablo Vicente Tapia Farinango, member and substitute member respectively of the National Congress of Ecuador, who were murdered in broad daylight in the centre of Quito on 17 February 1999 along with a legislative assistant, Mr. Wellington Borja Nazareno, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/184/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 183rd session (October 2008),

Taking into account the communications of the Attorney General and his Office of 2 February and 13 March 2009,

Recalling that the Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI) set up immediately after the murder to help elucidate the crime has from the outset sharply criticized the conduct of the investigation authorities, pointed to numerous inconsistencies in the police investigation, and expressed its strong disapproval of the passive attitude of the prosecuting authorities and the courts when it came to shedding full light on the murder, in particular of the fact that they took the findings of the preliminary police investigation at face value; none of the serious leads regarding the line of inquiry presented in the CEI's extensive reports, focusing on the fact that Mr. Hurtado had uncovered a web of corruption involving high-profile personalities, have so far been seriously investigated or taken into account by the prosecuting authorities,

Recalling that on 20 December 2005, the President of the High Court sentenced Mr. Contreras Luna to 16 years' imprisonment for the crime of murder, while the case was suspended for the other accused who were at large; on 3 February 2007, Mr. Ponce was arrested in the United States of America; he was extradited to Ecuador to stand trial and subsequently sentenced in January 2008 by the President of the High Court to 16 years in prison for his part in the crime; Mr. Contreras and Mr. Ponce appealed against their sentences, as did the families of Mr. Hurtado and Mr. Tapia as civil parties to the cases, arguing that the basis for Mr. Contreras's conviction in fact invalidated the preliminary findings of the police regarding the motive of the murder; they requested the Court to take full account of the CEI conclusions in both cases; considering that the High Court of Quito dismissed the appeals and upheld the sentence against Mr. Contreras and Mr. Ponce on 23 July 2008,

Recalling that the CEI prepared a submission to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to obtain a ruling to the effect that the State of Ecuador has failed to comply with its duty to advance the cause of justice in this case and to provide the victims' families with reparation,

Considering that Mr. Washington Aguirre, one of the accused at large, was apprehended in the United States of America in January 2009 and recalling in this respectthat in Ecuador the crime of murder is subject to a ten-year statute of limitation,

  1. Thanks the Attorney General and his Office for their extensive information and cooperation;

  2. Notes with satisfaction that the main suspect, Mr. Aguirre, has finally been found and taken into custody; supposes that, given that his arrest took place before the expiry of the ten-year limit, he will be prosecuted for his alleged participation in the triple murder; and trusts that he has meanwhile been extradited to Ecuador to stand trial; would appreciate receiving further particulars on both points;

  3. Reaffirms its conviction that the findings of the CEI have not only revealed serious contradictions and omissions in the conduct of the competent authorities in this case, but also offer substantive leads for an alternative line of inquiry and more particularly a motive for the murder; trusts that, should a cassation petition be pending in the criminal proceedings regarding Mr. Ponce and Mr. Contreras, critical consideration in this final stage is given in court to the work of the CEI; would appreciate information in this respect;

  4. Would appreciate being kept informed of developments regarding the petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to inform the competent authorities, the CEI and the source of this resolution and to seek the requested information from them;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009).
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