Leopoldo Garcia Lucero v. Chile
Leopoldo Garcia Lucero was subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, physical and psychological torture and other ill-treatment in Chile under the Pinochet regime. Shortly after the military coup, on 11 September 1973, Mr García was arrested and taken to the National Stadium, the largest detention camp in Chile for the imprisoned, tortured and executed in 1973. Mr García then spent more than a year in other concentration camps. During his imprisonment, he was repeatedly tortured. As a consequence of the beatings, he lost all his teeth, his face was disfigured and his spine broken. He has been disabled since then. In 1975 Pinochet’s government forcibly expelled him and put on a plane to the United Kingdom, where he received refugee status. Mr García and his family left behind all their relatives, friends and possessions.
REDRESS submitted a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2002 arguing that Mr. Garcia Lucero’s rights under Articles 8 and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights had been violated as he has not been provided with an effective remedy and full and adequate reparation for what happened to him. The Commission found the case admissible in 2005. REDRESS had a working group meeting and formal hearing before the Commission in 2008 in order to try to reach a friendly settlement with Chile, but no agreement materialised. In 2011, the Commission sent the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for a hearing. Mr Garcia, his wife and three daughters are victims in the case.
In 2012, REDRESS made submissions to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in particular on the issue of admissibility, as the torture took place before Chile ratified the American Charter on Human Rights. Based on the Charter and the Court's own jurisprudence, REDRESS argued that violations of victims' rights to access justice (investigation, sanctions, adequate reparation) are independent from the so called ‘substantive’ violation of torture. In cases where the Inter-American Court has not been able to establish a substantive violation of article 3 (freedom from torture), for instance due to lack of evidence, it has found procedural violations under articles 3 and 13.
On 14 February 2013, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights specified the modalities of witness (including expert witness) participation in the case.The Court considered Mr García’s case on 20 and 21st of March 2013. A decision in the case is expected sometime after July 2013.
- Torture Survivor leads Chileans' battle for Justice over Pinochet abuses, The Guardian, Owen Bowcott (6 May 2013)
- Leopoldo Garcia: A Living Death, The Prisma (1 April 2013)
- Read the press release (20 March 2013)
Lea el comunicado de prensa en español (20 Marzo 2013)
- Petition from the Inter-American Commission to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (20 Sept 2011)
- Decision on Admissibility/ Informe de Admisibilidad (12 October 2005) English - Español
- Further submissions of REDRESS on the Observations provided by the Goverment of Chile/ Observaciones a la respuesta del Gobierno de Chile (15 April 2005) Español
- Observations Provided by the Government of Chile/Respuesta del Estado de Chile (16 March 2005) Español
- Additional Information provided by REDRESS English - Español
- REDRESS' Petition to the IACHR (15 May 2002) English - Español
Photo credit: Fiona Lloyd-Davies