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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 189th session
(Bern, 19 October 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/189/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 188th session (April 2011),

Recalling the following:

  • The Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI) set up immediately after the murder to help elucidate the crime has from the outset been sharply critical of how the investigation has been conducted and of the prosecution authorities, notably 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;

  • Two culprits, Mr. Ponce and Mr. Contreras, were sentenced at final instance to a 16‑year prison term for their role in the murder, which they are both serving;

  • In 2009 and 2010, two suspects, Mr. Washington 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; Mr. Ayerve was extradited in April 2010; 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 him; it therefore ordered the national police not to arrest Mr. Ayerve; in response, the National Assembly of Ecuador, in its resolution adopted on 25 November 2010, pointed out that the ruling disregarded the Organic Code on the Function of the Judiciary, 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 statute of limitations was likewise suspended for the same periods; the National Assembly also affirmed that the ruling was in breach of Article 23 of the Constitution (of 1998) and called on the National Court of Justice to take all necessary legal steps to ensure that those responsible for the murder were held to account,
Considering that, according to information provided by the source on 23 and 24 August 2011, Mr. Ayerve is currently in detention in Ecuador in connection with his alleged involvement in the murder, as well as in drug trafficking, and that his defence counsel is challenging his prosecution with the argument that the statute of limitations has expired regarding the first charge and that the extradition was not related to the second charge; the source fears that Mr. Ayerve may soon be released as a result,
  1. Remains deeply concerned that, more than 12 years after this high-profile murder was committed, the authorities have failed to identify the instigators and hold to account all the alleged perpetrators of the crime;

  2. Considers that trial proceedings against Mr. Ayerve are crucial to the pursuit of truth and justice, particularly since they would offer an important opportunity to give due consideration to the work of the CEI, including the substantive leads it has offered for an alternative line of inquiry to shed full light on the crime;

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

  4. Calls therefore on the competent authorities to give the widest possible interpretation to applicable legal provisions and jurisprudence so that Mr. Ayerve will indeed stand trial for his alleged involvement in the murder; wishes to be kept informed of any judicial decisions that may be taken with respect to his legal status;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent Ecuadorian authorities and to the source 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 during the 126th IPU Assembly (March/April 2012).
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