García and Family Members v. Guatemala

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Obligation to Prevent | Deprivation of Liberty | Reparations

Themes: Memory and Reparations | Persons and Groups Affected | Justice and Truth

The Court recalled that the State has a special position of guarantor of the rights of those detained - as such, the deprivation of liberty in legally-recognised centres and the existence of detainee records represent essential safeguards, including against enforced disappearance.

The Court recognised that where violations of the rights to life, personal integrity or liberty are intended to prevent the legitimate exercise of another right protected by the Convention, such as freedom of association and expression (as in this case), there is also an autonomous violation of that other right.

As a reparation measure, the Court ordered the state to promote the construction of memorial-cultural spaces in which the memory of the victims of human rights violations of the internal armed conflict is dignified.

Judgment Date

November 29, 2012

Country

Guatemala

Judicial Body

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 3 [ACHR], Article 4(1) [ACHR], Article 5(1) [ACHR], Article 5(2) [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 8(1) [ACHR], Article 26 [ACHR], Article 25(1) [ACHR], Article 1(a) [IACFDP], Article 1(b) [IACFDP]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 13 [ACHR], Article 17 [ACHR], Article 19 [ACHR], Article 23 [ACHR]

Facts of the Case

Mr. Edgar Fernando García was 26 years old and was an administrative employee at a worker's union called "CAVISA". On 18 February 1984, he was intercepted by several uniformed police officers, tried to flee, was injured, and was subsequently arrested. When he was searched, they found papers from the trade union which allegedly identified him as a communist. The fact is recorded in a confidential Guatemalan state intelligence document known as the "Diario Militar", which contains, among other things, a list of 183 persons with their personal data, affiliation to organisations, activities and, in most cases, also a passport photo of the person. The document also contains information about the actions perpetrated against each person between August 1983 and March 1985, including secret detentions, kidnappings and assassinations.

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