II. PROCESSING SUBSEQUENT TO THE REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY 2
III. THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS 3
A. The petitioners 3
B. The State 7
IV. ANALYSIS ON THE MERITS 10
A. Weighing of the evidence 10
B. Facts proven 11
1. Report of the disappearance of Paloma Escobar Ledezma and initial investigative steps taken 11
C. The law 18
1. Right to a fair trial and to effective judicial protection (Articles 8 and 25) in relation to Articles 1(1) and 2 of the American Convention 18
2. Right to live free from violence and discrimination (Article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará) and Right to equality before the law (Article 24) in relation to Articles 1(1) and 2 of the American Convention 33
3. Rights of the Child (Article 19) in relation to Article 1(1) of the American Convention 37
4. Right to humane treatment (Article 5(1)) in relation to Article 1(1) of the American Convention) 40
5. Violation of Article 17 of the American Convention; Article 5 of the American Convention in relation to Paloma Angélica Escobar; and Article 24 of the American Convention with respect to Norma Ledezma Ortega, Dolores Alberto Escobar Hinojos, and Fabian Alberto Escobar Ledezma 42
V. CONCLUSIONS 42
VI. RECOMMENDATIONS 43
XV. RECOMMENDATIONS 103
XVI. PUBLICATION 104
REPORT No. 51/13
PALOMA ANGÉLICA ESCOBAR LEDEZMA ET AL.
July 12, 2013
On December 30, 2003, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Inter-American Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition presented by Norma Ledezma Ortega, the mother of the alleged victim, Justicia para Nuestras Hijas, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), and the Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos arguing that the United Mexican States (hereinafter “the State,” or “the Mexican State”) is internationally responsible for breaching its duty to carry out a timely, immediate, serious, and impartial investigation into the disappearance and subsequent death, in 2002, of Paloma Angélica Escobar (hereinafter “the alleged victim”), 16 years of age, in the city of Chihuahua. The petitioners argue that the Mexican State is responsible for a pattern of omissions, irregularities, and delays in the investigation into the facts referring to the disappearance and subsequent death of Paloma Angélica Escobar; as a result, the case continues in impunity.
The Mexican State argues that the Office of the Attorney General of Chihuahua (Procuraduría de Justicia del Estado de Chihuahua, or Chihuahua PGJ) has spared no efforts to clarify the facts. To that end, it reports on the investigative steps by the Chihuahua PGJ in relation to the homicide of Paloma Angélica Escobar. It argues that it has actively pursued the inquiry into the historic truth of what happened and that it has implemented a varied set of public policies and measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate violence against women. It states that the “process of inquiry in the case is not yet conclusive, yet it also reaffirms its special commitment that the corresponding authorities will ceaselessly and lawfully pursue the elucidation of the historical truth and, consequently, the identification and location of the person responsible, for the purpose of having a judicial authority rule accordingly.”2
In Report No. 32/06 of March 14, 2006, the Commission concluded that the petition was admissible in relation to Articles 2 (duty to adopt provisions of domestic law), 4 (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 17 (protection of the family), 19 (rights of the child), 24 (equality before the law), and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention in relation to Article 1(1) of that instrument, and Article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará, to the detriment of Paloma Angélica Escobar. In addition, the Commission determined the admissibility of the claims under Articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 8 (right to a fair trial), 17 (protection of the family), 24 (equal protection), and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention, in conjunction with Article 1(1) of the same international instrument, to the detriment of Norma Ledezma Ortega3.
Based on its analysis of the arguments and evidence presented by the parties, the Commission concludes that the Mexican State is responsible for violations of the rights to a fair trial, the rights of the child, the right to equal protection of the law, and the right to judicial protection, enshrined, respectively, in Articles 8(1), 19, 24, and 25 of the American Convention, to the detriment of Paloma Angélica Escobar, all in conjunction with Articles 1(1) and 2 of that instrument. In addition, the IACHR concludes that the State violated the rights of Paloma Angélica Escobar under Article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará. In relation to Norma Ledezma, Dolores Alberto Escobar Hinojos, and Fabian Alberto Escobar Ledezma, the Commission concludes that the Mexican State violated the right to humane treatment enshrined in Article 5(1) of the American Convention in conjunction with the obligation that Article 1(1) of that treaty imposes on the State; and the right to a fair trial enshrined in Articles 8(1) and 25 of the American Convention in relation to Articles 1(1) and 2 of that treaty.
Finally, after analyzing the information provided by the parties, the IACHR concludes that it does not consider the facts sufficient to find violations of the right to life under Article 4 or of the right to humane treatment under Article 5 in relation to Paloma Angélica Escobar, of the right to protection of the family under Article 17, or the right to equal protection of the law under Article 24 of the American Convention in relation to Norma Ledezma Ortega, Dolores Alberto Escobar Hinojos, and Fabian Alberto Escobar Ledezma.