Report No. 177 (2018) IACHR. Petition No. 1433-08 (El Salvador)

CourtInter-American Comission of Human Rights
Case TypeAdmissibility
Alleged VictimMario Antonio Turcios Flores Y Familia
Petition Number1433-08
Report Number177
Respondent StateEl Salvador
Report No. 177/18















REPORT No. 177/18

PETITION 1433-08

REPORT ON ADMISSIBILITY


Mario Antonio Turcios Flores and family

El Salvador



OEA/Ser.L/V/II.

Doc. 202

26 December 2018

Original: Spanish






























Approved electronically by the Commission on December 26, 2018.








Cite as: IACHR, Report No. 177/18. Petition 1433-08. Admissibility. Mario Antonio Turcios Flores. El Salvador. December 26, 2018.




www.cidh.org


I. INFORMATION ABOUT THE PETITION

Petitioner:

Mario Antonio Turcios Flores

:

Mario Antonio Turcios Flores and family1

State denounced:

El Salvador

Rights invoked:

Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights2

II. PROCEDURE BEFORE THE IACHR3

Filing of the petition:

December 9, 2008

Additional information received at the stage of initial review:

January 12; April 20 and 28, 2009

Notification of the petition to the State:

July 18, 2014

State’s first response:

July 11, 2017

Additional observations from the petitioner:

August 23, 2017

Additional observations from the State:

October 1, 2018

III. COMPETENCE

Competence Ratione personae:

Yes

Competence Ratione loci:

Yes

Competence Ratione temporis:

Yes

Competence Ratione materiae:

Yes, the American Convention (instrument deposit made on June 23, 1978) and the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture (instrument deposit made on December 5, 1994).

IV. ANALYSIS OF DUPLICATION OF PROCEDURES AND INTERNATIONAL RES JUDICATA, COLORABLE CLAIM, EXHAUSTION OF DOMESTIC REMEDIES AND TIMELINESS OF THE PETITION

Duplication of procedures and International res judicata:

No

Rights declared admissible:

Articles 3 (juridical personality), 4 (life), 5 (humane treatment), 7 (personal liberty), 8 (fair trial), 11 (privacy), 19 (rights of the Child), 21 (property), 22 (freedom of movement and residence), 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention, in relation to its Articles 1.1 (obligation to respect rights) and 2 (duty to adopt provisions of domestic law); and Articles 1, 6, and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.

Exhaustion of domestic remedies or applicability of an exception to the rule:

Yes, exceptions under Article 46.2(b) and (c) of the ACHR apply

Timeliness of submission:

Yes, under the terms of Section VI

V. ALLEGED FACTS

  1. The petitioner, and presumed victim, alleges that he and his family are the victims of human rights violations committed by the Salvadoran State and that he is a survivor of the “Barrios Massacre,” which took place on April 18, 1982, and during which the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Armed Forces murdered 49 people, including his father, Virgilio Flores, and two of his cousins, Oscar Umaña, aged six, and Edgar Antonio Turcios, aged ten. He alleges that, since he was a witness and claimant in the criminal investigation of the massacre and as a consequence of the complaint filed by the “Organización Tutela Legal del Arzobispado de San Salvador” (hereinafter, “Tutela Legal”), he has been persecuted, threatened, and attacked by agents of the national civil police. Therefore, he decided to travel to the United States of America4 with his son Rudy Arnoldo Turcios Bolaños, where they sought for asylum. The petitioner reports human rights violations committed since the extra-judicial execution of his brother, during the Barrios massacre and later on, in addition to the murderers’ impunity.

  2. The petitioner indicates that during the 80’s he lived with his parents and his four siblings in Barrios hamlet, department of Morazán. He claims that in October of that year , his brother Armando Turcios Flores was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by agents of the Third Infantry Brigade of San Miguel. He said that when his mother went to the military facilities looking for his brother, she was threatened with death by the watch commander and that, eight days after, his brother’s body was found on the street, but it was not possible to collect it, since the military agents were guarding the location. On the following day, the body was gone.

  3. The petitioner claimed that on April 18, 1982, a contingent of troops from the Atlacatl Battalion shot at least 49 people, among which there were his father and two of his underage cousins, and that they also sexually abused several women and destroyed the neighborhood’s houses and crops. He claimed that the said attacks were committed since the members of that neighborhood were considered as guerrilla. Moreover, he said that the survivors of the attacks had to leave the place and migrate to other states or countries, including him, who initially moved to the municipality of Rosario de Mora with his family. He indicates that after he witnessed such atrocities, he started being persecuted by authorities of the armed and police forces.

  4. He alleged that on January 3, 1987, he was arrested by military agents, who obligatorily recruited him, and that during the two years of his induction, until February 23, 1989, he suffered from several tortures at the armed force’s instruction center of transmissions on the part of his superiors, including blows, abusive exercise, electric shocks, death threats, with the aim of making him confess his alleged relationship with the guerrilla fighters. He added that for fear of getting caught as a survivor of the Barrios massacre he did not allow his mother or his sister to visit him during this time.

  5. The petitioner indicates that in January 2002, “Tutela Legal” started acting as representative during the investigations on the Barrios massacre. On January 22, 17 bones were exhumed in Barrios hamlet, which was authorized by the peace courts of El Divisadero. On March 31, 14 bones were exhumed, which was authorized by the peace courts of San Carlos. He indicated that on September 30, 2003, “Tutela Legal” filed a criminal complaint against the people allegedly responsible for the massacre: General José Guillermo García, Ministry of Defense and Public Security at the time of the events; Colonel Rafael Flores Lima, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces; and Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Monterrosa Barrios, Major of the Atlacatl Battalion.

  6. The petitioner alleges that they have never received answers and that the investigation had been archived, with no judicial movement whatsoever. The petitioner says that, as he was a witness for the complaint, he was persecuted by agents of the national police, acting undercover and dressed as civilians, that called him on the phone, threatening him with death. He claims that on June 8, 2004, many vehicles with license plates from the State of Texas, carrying armed men dressed as civilians, parked across his office and around the area. He indicates that since they did not find him, they left and other men stayed guarding the place.

  7. The petitioner alleges that, as a consequence of the threats, he filed for a habeas corpus remedy, requesting the police forces to explain the reason for his persecution, claiming threats and restrictions to his freedom of movement. On July 1, 2004, the Criminal Chamber of the First Eastern Section rejected the request, since the Attorney General's Office and the National Civil Police did not inform about any charges. The petitioner mentions the absence of willingness of the governmental authorities during the investigations of crimes against humanity, by virtue of the Amnesty Law of 1993 tending to protect war criminals, which would disallow the access to justice. He alleges that, more than a year after the judgment on the unconstitutionality of the Amnesty Law, impunity still prevails. At a public hearing on the issue, he indicated that the Constitutional Chamber established that the State’s institutions had not complied with the content of the unconstitutionality judgment. The petitioner says that he left the country and sought for political asylum, expressing fear for his and his family’s lives in the case of being deported to their country, where he thinks he will be investigated for having participated in human rights activities, and that he will be persecuted, captured, questioned, tortured, and murdered for being a survivor of Barrios massacre, and for having participated in procedures of human rights organizations aiming at requesting the Government to prosecute the perpetrators. He alleges that in El Salvador there are illegal armed groups, tolerated by the State, that carry out intimidation or persecution acts against human rights defenders.

  8. For its part, the State says that notwithstanding what was alleged by the petitioner about the reported persecutions, by means of internal decisions they determined the inexistence of the restriction of freedom of movement and the inexistence of a real or imminent threat that might limit his freedom, on the part of the...

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