On June 6, 2010 the final report of Ecuador’s Truth Commission was released. The report detailed various human rights violations perpetrated against 456 victims. President Rafael Correa’s government established the Truth Commission in May 2007 in order to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed between 1984 and 2008, particularly during the right-wing administration of former President León Febres Cordero from 1984 through 1988.
The five-volume report was handed to President Correa by the children of victims whose cases were investigated by the commission. Over 1,000 people, including over 300 victims, attended the event in Quito. President Correa condemned the abuses, apologized to the victims on behalf of the government, and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
Two-thirds of the violations documented in the report occurred during the Febres Cordero regime, known to have violently repressed opposition groups. According to the report, arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual violence, and forced disappearances were not isolated or sporadic events, but committed under a systematic and institutionalized state policy. The report also emphasized that crimes against humanity were perpetrated against the civilian population during this time. The Truth Commission recommends, among other things, that the government establish an administrative reparations program and pass legislation to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the human rights abuses.
» The final report is available in Spanish here.
CJA joined the Truth Commission in July 2009 as an international legal advisor, analyzing the evidence available and identifying the best cases for the commission to recommend to the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s office for investigation. CJA also assisted the Truth Commission in drafting important parts of the final report regarding international civil and criminal law. As a consequence of CJA’s early involvement in the elaboration of the Truth Commission report, it is the first Truth Commission report in Latin America to include litigation in the U.S. under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act as an alternative remedy for Ecuadorian victims when perpetrators are found to be in the U.S.
In December 2009, CJA International Attorney Almudena Bernabeu met with Truth Commission advisors and President Rafael Correa in Quito. The Ministry of Justice has organized and sponsored human rights litigation trainings for prosecutors in Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Quito. Prosecutors from the recently created human rights units in the three cities will be in charge of investigating and prosecuting the cases included in the Truth Commission report. CJA continues to participate in human rights litigation training.