The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) determined that In 2009, during the government of Evo Morales in Bolivia, state forces extrajudicially executed and tortured five members of an alleged armed group.
According to the report to which he had access Dutythe IACHR affirms that in order to avoid an international trial, Bolivia must judge those responsible within the territory Bolivian.
the case happened on April 16, 2009, when a contingent from the Tactical Crisis Resolution Unit, an elite Police group, entered the Las Américas hotel in Santa Cruz, detonated on the fourth floor and broke into the rooms of Eduardo Rózsa Flores, Arpad Magyaroisi and Michel Dwyer, who were killed. That same morning, Elöd Tóásó and Mario Tadic were arrested.
“The file contains press releases stating that members of the Santa Cruz Departmental Police and Prosecutor’s Office were not considered because everything was in charge of the Ministry of Government, from La Pazand that they had orders not to intervene”, details the report, blaming the national State and not the forces of Santa Cruz. That night, aim Dutythe then President Evo Morales was in Venezuela, while the then Minister of Government, Alfredo Rada, had traveled to Brazil.
The government gave the order to proceed, according to the commission, in an operation without any judicial or fiscal order.
The security cameras of the hotel, says the IACHR, were turned offs since April 15, when the alleged victims entered. There was also no internet since 3:10 in the morning, minutes before the operation and the service was restored at 9:00 in the morning. they would have deleted hotel internet videos and logs and personnel from the Ministry of Government were housed there.
The report was approved by the IACHR on December 21, 2021 and is signed by the then president, Antonia Urrejola (current foreign minister of Chile); the first vice president, Julissa Mantilla Falcón; the second vice president, Flavia Piovesan, and the commissioners Margarette May Macaulay and Esmeralda Arosemena. According to article 49 of the commission’s regulations, the deputy executive secretary, Marisol Blanchard, signs.
The file is in the waiting room of the International Court of Human Rights, which will judge the Bolivian state. But, to avoid it, the country must comply with four recommendations, among which is a trial against those responsible for the extrajudicial execution. Therefore, the government of Luis Arce would have in its hands a trial against the former president and leader of his party, Evo Morales.
According to the IACHR, Michael Dwyer, a 25-year-old citizen “was sleeping in room 457 of the hotel when the operation took place.”
And it adds that there is controversy between the parties in relation to the moment in which that death occurred: On the one hand, the petitioning party maintains that Dwyer was arbitrarily executed at an airport in the city of Santa Cruz, after the operation had place in the hotel. On the other hand, the State maintains that his death took place as a result of a crossfire confrontation that took place in the hotel. The IACHR analyzed both hypotheses.
The commission found that “according to the autopsy carried out in Bolivia, the projectile impacts in the thorax and abdomen compromised both lungs, where there were wide lacerations that determined a picture of acute anemia. The second autopsy carried out in Ireland suggests that one was shot from the front and the other five were from behind. The shot received from the front in the chest would have been enough to cause death and the body was removed from the hotel.”
The analysis of the commission in the room indicates that even in the alleged armed confrontation, the IACHR considers that six shots fired by state officials, one of them in the chest, were extreme and fatal. “It is striking that five shots were fired from behind, which shows an advantage in the position of the officials.”
“Based on all of the above, the commission concludes that Dwyer’s death is attributable to the State and constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of life, established in article 4 of the American Convention on the “right to life” and in its point 1, that warns: “Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right will be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception. No one can be deprived of life arbitrarily”.
In the report accessed DutyThe commission also analyzed the conditions of detention and the torture committed against Mario Tadic, Elöd Toasso, Juan Carlos Guedes and Alcides Mendoza.
Regarding Tadic and Tóásó, it established that they were detained at the Las Américas hotel without an arrest warrant or search warrant. The commission emphasizes that the operation was carried out without any prosecutor and notes that Marcelo Soza, the assigned prosecutor, was constituted in Santa Cruz almost at noon on April 16, 2009 and only then issued an arrest warrant against the two alleged victims, arguing that there was a probability of authorship in the attack on the house of Cardinal Julio Terrazas and that there was a risk of flight.
But the IACHR investigation highlights that they were not found in flagrante delicto, it highlights that they were sleeping. In Tóásó’s room there were no weapons and in Tadic’s room there were no traces of crossfire. There is no link between the attack on the cardinal’s house and the arrest of the alleged victims in relation to collaborating with a separatist movement in Santa Cruz.
“Consequently, the commission considers that the arrests occurred illegally and arbitrarily. The State is responsible for the violation of his right to personal liberty, based on the fact that every person has the right to personal liberty and security, and that no one may be deprived of his physical liberty, except for the causes and under the conditions established in the Constitution, the laws or parts enacted in accordance with them.
In the final conclusion, the Commission establishes that the Bolivian State is responsible for the violation of the rights to life (article 4), personal integrity (article 5), personal liberty (article 7), judicial guarantees (article 8), protection of honor and dignity (article 11) and judicial protection (article 25) of the American Convention on Human Rights.
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