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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 192nd session
(Quito, 27 March 2013)

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, and to the resolution it adopted at its 189th session (October 2011),

Taking into account the information provided by the source on 22 March 2013,

Recalling the following:

  • The Special Commission of Inquiry (CEI) set up immediately after the murders to help elucidate them has from the outset been sharply critical of the conduct of the investigation and of the prosecution authorities, notably their scant consideration of the serious leads it 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 convicted in March 2009 at final instance and are currently serving a 16-year prison term for their role in the murders;

  • In 2009 and 2010, two suspects, Mr. Washington Aguirre and Mr. Gil Ayerve, were arrested in the United States of America and Colombia respectively, and their extradition requested by the Ecuadorian authorities; Mr. Ayerve was extradited in April 2010 in connection with a drug-trafficking case; 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 for the murders; it therefore ordered the national police not to arrest Mr. Ayerve; in response, the National Assembly of Ecuador, in a 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; the National Assembly also affirmed that the ruling was in breach of Article 23 of the 1998 Constitution, which states that political crimes are not subject to the statute of limitations, and called on the National Court of Justice to take all necessary legal steps to ensure that those responsible for the murders were held to account,
Considering that, according to the latest information provided by the source, Mr. Ayerve is still in detention in Ecuador, that Mr. Hurtado’s family is advocating for the murders to be considered a crime against humanity, for which there is no statute of limitations, that the matter is before the courts, which have yet to issue a final ruling on this point, and that attempts to have Mr. Aguirre extradited to Ecuador have been complicated inter alia by the fact that he holds Italian citizenship,
  1. Remains deeply concerned that, more than 14 years after these high-profile murders were committed, the authorities have failed to identify the instigators and bring to trial all the alleged perpetrators;

  2. Considers that criminal proceedings against Mr. Ayerve and Mr. Aguirre are crucial to the pursuit of truth and justice, particularly since they provide a crucial opportunity to give due consideration to the work of the CEI, including the substantive leads it presented for an alternative line of inquiry to shed full light on the crime;

  3. Reaffirms that, in addition to the arguments to be found in Ecuadorian legislation in support of continued criminal legal action against both suspects, in many jurisdictions across the world, the statute of limitations for murder, one of the most heinous of crimes, far exceeds 10 years and is suspended in specific circumstances, most commonly when the suspects, as in this case, are on the run;

  4. Calls, therefore, on the judicial authorities to interpret the applicable legal provisions and jurisprudence as broadly as possible, so that both suspects will indeed stand trial for their alleged involvement in the murders; wishes to be informed of the decision by the court in the case of Mr. Ayerve regarding the legal qualification of the crime;

  5. Sincerely hopes that the extradition process for Mr. Aguirre, four years after his arrest, can soon be completed; wishes to be kept informed of progress in this regard;

  6. 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;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.
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