Padilla et al. v. Mexico


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Refusal to Disclose Fate | Relatives as Victims | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute | Deprivation of Liberty | Burden of Proof | Evidence | Judicial Protection | Juridical Personality | Systemic Practice

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Related Crimes

The Committee was satisfied that the victim was subjected to enforced disappearance, particularly in light of the background of similar human rights violations happening at the relevant time and place. The Committee found a violation of the victim's right to life, due to the fact that the State failed to take any measures to preserve his life when he was detained by the authorities. It also made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim due to the suffering, uncertainty and infringement of his physical and psychological integrity which resulted from the enforced disappearance. It also made such a finding with respect to his family and partner, in light of the fact that the victim's disappearance and the pursuit of justice caused them distress and suffering. The Committee found that the victim's deprivation of liberty was a violation of his right to liberty and security, as he was arrested without a warrant and without being brought before a judicial authority. Finally, in light of the absence of any convincing explanation concerning the victim's fate or whereabouts, and of the fact that when last seen he was in the hands of the authorities, the Committee found that the enforced disappearance removed the victim from the protection of the law and deprived him of his right to recognition as a person before the law.

Judgment Date

September 17, 2019

Country

Mexico

Judicial Body

Human Rights Committee

Articles violated

Article 2(3) [ICCPR], Article 6(1) [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR], Article 16 [ICCPR]

Facts of the Case

In October 2010, Mr. Christian Téllez Padilla's car was put into a patrol car of the inter-municipal police at gunpoint. In the hours following the disappearance, Mr. Téllez Padilla’s family tried in many ways to obtain information about his whereabouts without success. A preliminary investigation into the disappearance was initiated but no urgent search for Mr. Téllez Padilla was launched. The day after the disappearance, Mr. Téllez Padilla’s car was found in a vacant lot, but the experts informed his family that they could not take fingerprints because of dust. Mr. Téllez Padilla’s partner was able to identify three police officers as being among those responsible for the disappearance. In November 2010, a complaint was filed against them for the crime of illegal deprivation of liberty in the form of kidnapping, but no concrete action was taken. In September 2015 it was established that two calls had been made from Mr. Téllez Padilla’s telephone in the weeks following his disappearance. Over the years, Mr. Téllez Padilla’s family filed a number of complaints seeking both judicial and administrative remedies, but none of the actions succeeded in establishing his whereabouts.

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