Castillo Páez v. Peru
Judicial Protection | Right to Know the Truth | Duty to Investigate | Guarantees Against Impunity
The Court found the State responsible for violating the right to life, given the time that had elapsed since the victim's arbitrary detention, and the State's denial of information on his whereabouts. The Court found the State's claim that the body is needed to argue a deprivation of life inadmissible, due to the fact that frequently, the perpetrators of enforced disappearances hide or destroy a victim's body. The Court stated that if domestic difficulties prevent the identification of the individuals responsible for crimes, the State is nonetheless responsible for establishing the fate and, if appropriate, the whereabouts of the victim's remains. The Court highlighted the use of habeas corpus by the next of kin and found that its ineffectiveness was imputable to the State, which violated the right to judicial guarantees.
November 27, 1998
Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 4 [ACHR], Article 5 [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 25 [ACHR]
Facts of the Case
Mr. Ernesto Rafael Castillo Páez was 22 years old and a student at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and a mathematics professor at the Institute of Theological Studies. On 21 October 1990, Mr. Castillo Páez was arrested by agents of the General Police in the district of Villa El Salvador, Lima, in the context of an operation to arrest the leaders of the "Shining Path" guerrilla group. According to witnesses, the agents beat him and put him in the boot of a police vehicle. At the time of proceedings, his whereabouts remained unknown.