Luis Alberto Rojas Marin v. Peru

Luis Alberto is a young Peruvian homosexual who was arbitrarily arrested by police officers in 2008. While in detention in a police station in Casagrande, he was stripped and raped with a truncheon by three police officers. During his ordeal, which lasted for about six hours, Luis Alberto was also beaten and verbally abused for his sexual orientation and robbed of his belongings.

REDRESS, together with PROMSEX and La Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, after exhausting domestic remedies, brought his case to the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  Peru submitted its initial reply to the Petition arguing that the case was not admissible, and we submitted further arguments on why the case indeed should be admissible before the Commission.

On 25 November 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found the case admissible. The Inter-American Commission affirmed its competence over the matter and found that the petition was lodged in a timely matter. It also established that the proceedings initiated at the domestic level were closed at the stage of the investigation and that therefore the victim did not have the possibility of exhausting the domestic remedies. The Commission declared the case admissible prima facie and will examine the merits of the case in the next phase of the proceedings.

On 24 March 2015, we submitted additional observations on the merits of the case before the Inter-American Commission.

On 2 June 2015, REDRESS, CNDDHH and PROMSEX submitted their additional observations on the violation of Art. 5(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) in respect of Luis Alberto’s mother. The Petitioners submitted that the violence suffered by Luis Alberto had a deep impact on his mother due to the strong bond between the two, and that therefore her right to personal integrity was violated by the State of Peru. The Petitioners also sent to the Commission a psychological report of the mother and a new psychological assessment of Luis Alberto himself.

On 20 August 2015, the State of Peru filed its response to the Petitioners’ observations on the merits of the case. On 7 January 2016, Peru’s response was notified to the Petitioners.

On 16 March 2016, the Petitioners filed their reply to Peru’s submission on the merits before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addressing Peru’s argument that the international legal standards on the prohibition of torture relied on by the Petitioners in their submissions concerned only situations of widespread violence or armed conflict and thus were not applicable to the present case, the Petitioners underlined that such distinctions were non existent in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence and highlighted the existence of widespread discrimination against LGBTI people in Peru. They further submitted that, whilst the legal characterization of the relevant facts is a matter falling within the competence of the State, the State’s discretion in characterizing the facts is limited by international obligations, namely the duty to prevent and punish torture and to provide reparations to the victims.  With regard to measures of reparation, in addition to compensation, the Petitioners requested an apology by the Peruvian State acknowledging the violations of Luis Alberto’s rights and its failure to comply with its due diligence obligations in the investigation of the facts. As part of broader measures addressing widespread discrimination against LGBTI in Peru, the Petitioners requested the Commission to order anti-discrimination training for police forces and to urge the Peruvian state to approve a draft bill to amend the Penal Code to explicitly include discrimination as an illegal purpose for the crime of torture. 

On 10 October 2016, the Petitioners requested a hearing in the case in the context of the 159th period of sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with a view  to present to the Commission new information and new facts related to the case. The Petitioners' request was granted and on 20 November 2016, the Petitioners filed a written submission  in advance of the hearing to outline the main issues the Petitioners would discuss at the hearing, as well as new information related to the case they wished to inform the Commission of. On 1 December 2016 the Petitioners presented oral arguments before the Inter-American Commission on a number of critical aspects of the case, including Luis Alberto’s illegal arrest and detention, his rape as a form of torture, the discrimination he suffered at the hands of the Peruvian authorities throughout the domestic legal proceedings and the exhaustion of domestic remedies. Representatives of the State of Peru attended the hearing and presented their oral arguments as well.

Watch here the video recording of the hearing held in Panama City on 1 December 2016.

Please read here in English and in Spanish our press release issued on the occasion of the hearing held in Panama City on 1 December 2016.

REDRESS and La Coordinadora are working on a number of additional cases that highlight the special vulnerability of the LGBTI community to torture in Perú. 

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