Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Leonardo David Chirinos, Concerning Venezuela

June 9, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On June 9, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 24/2020 (link in Spanish), through which it granted precautionary protection measures in favor of Leonardo David Chirinos Parra in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to his human rights.

The petition submitted by the Foro Penal organization alleged that the beneficiary, who worked at the Department of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM), was deprived of his liberty in April 2020 by various agents working at this same institution. Mr. Chirinos allegedly made two video calls to his mother on April 29, in which he said he was at the DGCIM headquarters in Boleita, Caracas. During the calls, he asked his mother for information on his brother and said that he was being subjected to acts of torture. The fate and whereabouts of the beneficiary have remained unknown since these calls, and information has been circulated regarding his possible death as a consequence of torture or that he has been handed over to the authorities. However, access has not been granted to his file or information about his conditions or whereabouts.

In view of the information that was put forward, in its resolution, the IACHR took into account the content of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture and the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, in light of article 18 (b) of the IACHR Statute. The IACHR expressed its regret over not having received observations from the state, even though these were requested, in accordance with article 25.5 of its Rules of Procedure.

Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela take the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity. Specifically, the state must provide information as to whether the beneficiary is currently in its custody and the circumstances in which he is being held, or of measures seeking to ascertain his fate or whereabouts. The state must also guarantee that its agents respect the beneficiary’s rights in accordance with the standards set out in international human rights law and third-party risks. It also requested that the state determine the measures to be implemented in consultation with the beneficiary and his representatives; and that it report on the actions it takes to investigate these allegations and prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by all applicable instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 131/20