Inter-American Court of Human Rights



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2) The fire on February 5, 2001
134.33 The Center had another fire on February 5, 200153 that left the following nine inmates injured or burned: Claudio Coronel Quiroga, Clemente Luis Escobar González, Julio César García, José Amado Jara Fernández, Alberto David Martínez, Miguel Ángel Martínez, Osvaldo Mora Espinola, Hugo Antonio Vera Quintana and Juan Carlos Zarza Viveros.54
3) The fire on July 25, 2001, and the closing of the ‘Panchito López’ Juvenile Reeducation Institute
134.34 The Center had another fire on July 25, 2001. The chain of events began when a riot broke out when one inmate, Benito Augusto Adorno, was shot and wounded by a member of the Center’s staff. The conduct of Benito Augusto Adorno and the shot fired at him as a result, triggered a disturbance involving a number of inmates, who set the fire in the Center.55
134.35 Young Benito Augusto Adorno died on August 6, 2001.56
134.36 The fire left the following eight inmates either burned or injured: Eduardo Vera, Cándido Ulises Zelaya Flores, Hugo Olmedo, Oscar Rafael Aquino Acuña, Nelson Rodríguez, Demetrio Silguero, Carlos Raúl Romero Giacomo and Aristides Ramón Ortiz Bernal57.
134.37 In official communications addressed to their superiors in the weeks leading up to the fire, a number of staff members and guards had warned that tensions at the Center were running very high and the situation was extremely dangerous.58
134.38 After the July 25, 2001 fire, the State shut down the Center once and for all.59
Assistance provided by the State after the fires
134.39 The State covered various expenses occasioned by the deaths of some inmates and injuries to others, such as a certain amount for medical and psychological care60 and funeral expenses.61 But these measures did not help everyone affected. Some families of the alleged victims also had to provide them with medications and pay funeral expenses.62

The transfers of inmates from the Center



134.40 After the February 11, 2000 fire, 40 inmates from the Center were transferred to the Itauguá Comprehensive Education Center (hereinafter “CEI Itauguá”), an institution for children designed by the State in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and located in the city of Itauguá.63 CEI Itauguá was officially opened in May 2001. Another group of inmates was sent to the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary, an adult penal institution.64 The other inmates remained at the Center.65
134.41 Later, sporadic transfers of inmates to the CEI Itauguá started in mid 2000.66
134.42 After the July 25, 2001 fire, there was a massive and immediate transfer of inmates from the Center to the CEI Itauguá and to the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary. There were also smaller-scale transfers to other regional adult penal institutions in the country.67
134.43 Some children transferred from the Center to Emboscada on July 25, 2001, complained of having been beaten by the guards during transit.68

Children living side-by-side with adults in some prisons

134.44 After the Center’s closing many children were transferred to other prisons (supra paragraphs 134.42 and 134.43) where, in some cases, they shared physical space with adult inmates, such as bathrooms, the dining hall, and the prison yard, since these institutions did not have separate infrastructure for juveniles.69 Moreover, the directors of those penal institutions sometimes assigned one or two adult prisoner trustees “of proven good conduct” to serve as guards over a given number of children, to avoid any fighting among them or abuse by other adult prisoners.70


134.45 At the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary, the children were in two cellblocks: one in which they were segregated from adults and another that housed adults and children alike.71
The deaths of two children72 at the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary
134.46 On September 10, 2001, Richard Daniel Martínez, age 18, died from a wound inflicted by a bladed weapon in the juvenile cellblock at the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary.73 He was sent to the local health center, where he was declared dead.74
134.47 On March 14, 2002, Héctor Ramón Vázquez, age 17, was also stabbed at the Emboscada Regional Penitentiary.75 He was sent to the Emergency Medical Hospital and died on March 15, 2002.76 Both of the deceased had been transferred from the Panchito López Center.77

The suffering of the inmates at the Center and the suffering of their next of kin
134.48 The conditions under which inmates at the Center between August 14, 1996 and July 25, 2001 had to live not only demoralized them but also had both physical and psychological after-effects.78 The psychological after-effects include, inter alia, anxiety, aggressiveness, despair, frequent bouts of depression, a feeling of disgrace, stigmatization, lower self-esteem, forgetfulness and insomnia.79
134.49 The next of kin of the deceased and injured inmates have also suffered psychological and emotional effects as a result of the deaths of the inmates and/or the injuries they sustained.80

Domestic judicial proceedings

134.50 A petition of generic habeas corpus was filed in the domestic courts (supra paragraphs 134.27 and 134.28), and two civil and criminal cases.



1) The civil actions

134.51 In November 2000, the next of kin of Sergio David Poletti Domínguez, who died in the February 11, 2000 fire, filed civil suit against the State in the Civil and Commercial Law Court for the Asunción Judicial Circuit, claiming damages and injuries.81


134.52 On January 7, 2002, the next of kin of Diego Walter Valdez, Carlos Raúl de la Cruz and Sergio Daniel Vega Figueredo, who died in the February 11, 2000 fire, filed a civil suit against the State, also in the Civil and Commercial Law Court of the Asunción Judicial Circuit. They, too, were claiming damages and injuries.82
134.53 Proceedings in the two civil suits are still in their initial stage.83

2) The criminal cases


134.54 In February 2000, the Criminal Court of First Instance conducted a preliminary inquiry into allegations of a crime against life (intentional homicide) and the integrity of one’s person (grievous bodily injury), to establish who was to blame for what transpired in the events associated with the February 11, 2000 fire (supra para. 134.29).84 On March 8, 2002, the judge hearing the case, Carlos Ortiz Barrios, ordered the case closed pursuant to Article 7 of Law 1444/99, which provides that “[i]n proceedings involving unnamed defendants, the Court shall order the case closed if, within six months’ time, the Public Ministry or the parties have not filed motions or taken other appropriate measures to have the case continued […]”85.


134.55 After the third fire (supra para. 134.34), case No. 9199 was instituted in the Public Ministry to investigate the events associated with the fire and the circumstances of the death of Benito Augusto Adorno, who died from a bullet wound on August 6, 2001 (supra para. 134.35).86
134.56 In the case of the death of young Benito Augusto Adorno (supra para. 134.35), a judicial inquiry was launched in which guard Francisco Javier González Orué was blamed for the youth’s death. On August 12, 2002, a criminal court judge cleared the guard of any blame on the grounds that it had not been proved that the bullet that killed young Benito Augusto Adorno came from Mr. González Orué’s weapon.87

The reforms introduced by the State
134.57 The State has introduced a number of legislative, administrative and infrastructural changes with regard to children in conflict with the law in Paraguay (infra para. 214). Prominent among these are the establishment of a new Code of Criminal Procedure, Policy Decision No. 214 regulating the functions of the Juvenile Trial and Sentencing Courts, a Child and Adolescent Code, and the creation of alternative centers for children in conflict with the law.88
134.58 In June 2003, the State made 18 the age of majority, thereby amending the law that had been in force at the time of the events in this case and under which 20 was the age of majority.89


Representation of the alleged victims and their next of kin in proceedings before the inter-American system for the protection of human rights and expenses associated with that representation
134.59 In the domestic proceedings and in the proceedings before the Inter-American Commission, the alleged victims and their next of kin were represented by the Tekojojá Foundation; in the proceedings before the Commission and the Court, they were also represented by the Center for Justice and International Law. Therefore, those two organizations have incurred a number of expenses in their representations before the Commission and the Court.90

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articulos -> Official summary issued by the inter-american court

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