For purposes of determining admissibility, the Inter-American Commission must decide whether the alleged facts amount to a violation of the rights enshrined in the American Convention pursuant to the requirements of Article 47.b, or whether the petition is “manifestly groundless” or “obviously out of order,” as described in Article 47.c. At this stage of the proceedings, the Commission must perform a prima facie evaluation, not to establish the alleged violations of the American Convention, but to examine whether the petition alleges acts that could potentially constitute violations of the rights guaranteed in the American Convention. This determination does not entail the prejudgment of the merits of the case.4
Neither the American Convention nor the IACHR’s Rules of Procedure require petitioners to identify the specific rights alleged to have been violated by the State in the matter submitted to the Commission, although they may do so if they wish. It falls to the Commission, on the basis of the system's jurisprudence, to determine in its reports on admissibility which provisions of the pertinent inter-American instruments are applicable, and the violation thereof may be established if the facts alleged are demonstrated with sufficient evidence and legal arguments.
In this case, the petitioner alleged that journalist José Alfredo Jiménez Mota was disappeared because of the exercised of his right to freedom of expression, due to the articles he published in the newspaper El Imparcial, and that State agents are involved in his disappearance. The petitioner also stated that, to date, the open investigations have yielded no specific results and the journalist’s fate remains unknown. It asserted that the State has not taken effective measures to exhaust the lines of investigation connected to the alleged victim’s practice of journalism, or to identify and punish the direct perpetrators or masterminds.
In view of the legal and factual elements presented by the parties and the nature of the matter brought before it, the Commission finds that, if proven, the petitioner’s allegations could describe violations of the rights enshrined in Articles 3 (Right to Juridical Personality), 4 (Right to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment) , 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 13 (Freedom of Thought and Expression), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the Convention, to the detriment of the alleged victim. In addition, at the merits phase, the Commission will examine the potential violation of Articles 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 8.1 (Right to a Fair Trial), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the Convention in relation to Jiménez Mota’s relatives. All of the above is in relation to Article 1.1 of the Convention. Similarly, it considers that articles I and II of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons may be applicable.
In conclusion, the IACHR finds that this petition is neither “manifestly groundless” nor “obviously out of order,” and therefore declares that the petitioner has met prima facie the requirements established in Article 47.b. of the American Convention with respect to potential violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, and 25 of the American Convention, in relation to the general obligations enshrined in Article 1.1 thereof and articles I and II of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, as stated above.