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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 188th session
(Panama, 20 April 2011)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Jaime Ricaurte Hurtado González and Mr. Pablo Vicente Tapia Farinango, a 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/188/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 187th session (October 2010),

Taking into account the information provided by the President of the National Assembly on the occasion of the 124th IPU Assembly,

Recalling the following:

  • The Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI) set up immediately after the murder to help elucidate the crime has from the outset sharply criticized the way in which the investigation has been conducted and the prosecution authorities, including their scant consideration of the serious leads it has presented linking Mr. Hurtado's murder to his uncovering of a web of corruption involving high-profile figures;

  • On 23 October 2003, the President of the High Court of Quito declared the plenary trial proceedings open and accused Mr. Washington Aguirre, Mr. Cristián Ponce, Mr. Freddy Contreras, Mr. Martínez Arbeláez and Mr. Gil Ayerve of being the presumed masterminds and perpetrators of the crime, and Mr. Merino as an accessory to the crime, and ordered their arrest and detention; except for Mr. Contreras, who was already in detention in connection with another crime, the other suspects absconded;

  • Mr. Ponce was subsequently located in and extradited from the United States of America and sentenced at final instance, like Mr. Contreras, to a 16-year prison sentence for his role in the murder, which sentence they are both serving;

  • In 2009 and 2010, Mr. Aguirre and Mr. Gil Ayerve were arrested in the United States of America and Colombia respectively, which led the Ecuadorian authorities to request their extradition,
Considering that on 7 July 2010, the Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Colombia granted the request to extradite Mr. Gil Ayerve; however, on 8 November 2010, the Second Criminal Chamber of the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ruled that, pursuant to Articles 101, 108 and 114 of the Criminal Code, the statute of limitations, which in Ecuador is 10 years for the crime of murder, had expired, thereby barring any criminal proceedings against Mr. Gil Ayerve; it therefore ordered the national Police not to arrest him,

Considering that the National Assembly of Ecuador, in its resolution adopted on 25 November 2010, points out that the ruling disregards paragraph (g) of the Disposición Transitoria Décima del Código Orgánico de la Función Judicial (Tenth Transitional Provision of the Organic Code of the Judicial Function), which states that for the periods during which the Supreme Court of Justice was suspended owing to the extraordinary events of 2005, 2006 and 2008, the running of the statute of limitations was likewise suspended for the same periods of time; the National Assembly also affirms that the ruling is in breach of Article 23 of the Constitution (of 1998), which states that political crimes are not subject to the statute of limitations, and calls on the National Court of Justice to take all necessary legal measures to ensure that those responsible for the murder are held to account,

Considering that, according to information provided by the President of the National Assembly on the occasion of the 124th IPU Assembly, the ruling by the Second Criminal Chamber of the National Court of Justice of Ecuador has been challenged, and that Mr. Gil Ayerve was meanwhile extradited and is currently detained in Ecuador,

  1. Thanks the President of the National Assembly for his cooperation and for the information provided;

  2. Takes note with satisfaction of the recent breakthrough in putting one of the suspects at the disposal of the judicial authorities of Ecuador and the definite continued interest shown by the National Assembly in the pursuit of justice in this case;

  3. Points out that, in addition to the arguments found in Ecuadorian legislation in support of continued criminal legal action against Mr. Gil and Mr. Aguirre, in many jurisdictions across the world, murder, as one of the most heinous crimes, has an indefinite statute of limitations or a time limit far exceeding 10 years, and that there are specific circumstances under which it is tolled, most commonly when the suspects are on the run to evade justice, such as in the case of both Mr. Aguirre and Mr. Gil Ayerve;

  4. Sincerely hopes therefore that trial proceedings can and will indeed soon take place against Mr. Gil Ayerve, particularly since they would provide a crucial opportunity to give due consideration to the work of the CEI; recalls in this respect that not only have the CEI’s findings revealed serious contradictions and omissions in the competent authorities’ handling of this case, but they also offer substantive leads for an alternative line of inquiry that would enable the authorities to identify the instigators of and the motive for the crime;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent Ecuadorian authorities and to the source;

  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 125th IPU Assembly (October 2011).
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