University of Minnesota

El Amparo Case, Letter from the State of Venezuela of May 16, 1997 received in the Secretariat of the Court on June 3, 1997, concerning compliance with the Judgment of the Court, reprinted in 1997 Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [155], OEA/Ser.L/V/III.39, doc. 5 (1998).





Caracas, May 16, 1997


  I have the honor to write to you in connection with the process for compensation with which, in fulfillment of the decision contained in the Judgment on reparations delivered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on September 14, 1996, in the "El Amparo" Case, the Government of Venezuela is proceeding to compensate the heirs and relatives of the victims of the events that gave rise to that case.

  In that connection, I wish to inform you that my Government appointed a Commission which it entrusted with the tasks involved in executing payment of the compensation fixed in the aforementioned Judgment on Reparations. Accordingly, the Commission visited the town of Guasdualito, Apure State, very close to El Amparo, to interview each and every one of the persons mentioned in the Judgment in order to ascertain their identity and confirm their heir or beneficiary status. However, since the list of beneficiaries with the right to compensation contained discrepancies in the names, surnames and relationships, the above-mentioned Commission, in exercise of the power conferred on the Government of Venezuela by the last subparagraph of paragraph 42 of the judgment, took decisions which, having been envisaged in the Judgment on Reparations, require confirmation by the Honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights so that they may be applied during the actual compensation process.

  In that connection, as regards the heirs of the victim Julio Pastor Ceballos, the Commission, after making the necessary inquiries, found that his wife, Emperatríz Vargas, abandoned the family almost eighteen years ago, since which time there has been no information as to her whereabouts. Consequently, the decision taken by the Commission of the Government of Venezuela has been to declare her a missing citizen and to distribute the amount awarded to her equally among her substantiated legitimate children. With regard to Ana Florinda Velandia, the Commission discovered that she died on September 11, 1993; it therefore decided to prorate the amount awarded to her and to distribute it equally also among her children. We should point out that the minor child Carmen Zuleima Velandia is not the daughter of the victim, but of Mrs. Ana Florinda Velandia, so that she shall receive only the share for actual damages, material damages and moral damages awarded to her mother after its distribution among all children. We should likewise indicate here that the total amount of the compensation for material and moral damages has been divided equally among the aforementioned citizens -the victim's wife and companion- in compliance with the provisions of paragraph 40 of the judgment.


Héctor Fix-Zamudio

President of the

Inter-American Court of

Human Rights

San Jose, Costa Rica

  As regards the victim Emeterio Marino Vivas, the Commission ascertained that Mrs. Leticia Vivas, his mother, died on July 28, 1996, that is one month after the reparations Judgment was delivered, leaving her seven sons as her legitimate heirs, all of whom are brothers of the victim. Accordingly, applying Venezuela's laws of succession as an instant measure, the commission of the Venezuelan Government shall equally distribute the amount of the indemnity awarded to her in the aforementioned judgment.

  In the case of the victim Rigo José Araujo, the Commission discovered that there is a wife and son, in addition to his mother -whose name is, in any event, not the same as that given in the Judgment. According to the rules set forth in the Judgment, these persons will receive payment. Nevertheless, the Commission shall pay the amount of the compensation for reimbursement of personal expenses to the victim's mother and not to his wife, inasmuch as it was the former who defrayed all the expenses of the victim's burial because the wife had been separated from him for many months. We request the Court's confirmation of this decision, it being the opinion of the commission of the Government of Venezuela the fairest solution in view of the special circumstances of this particular Case.

  With regard to the cases of the victims Pedro Indalecio Mosqueda and Rafael Magin Moreno, the Commission appointed by the Government of Venezuela, after verifying that there are no wives or female companions, shall pay off the amount stipulated as compensation for reimbursement of personal expenses to the victims' mothers.

  Where the heirs of the victim Luis A. Berríos are concerned, after making the necessary inquiries the aforementioned commission, found that the victim's mother, whose name appears on the list contained in the judgment, died over forty years ago; therefore, in compliance with the rules for distribution of the amounts, the Commission of the Government of Venezuela shall distribute among the victim's sons the amount awarded to her.

  In conclusion, considering it vital that the Honorable Inter-American Court of Human Rights confirm all decisions explained in this letter concerning certain special cases, may I inform you that the Government of Venezuela will be initiating the indemnification process proper once it has received a reply form this eminent Tribunal.

  Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


  Miguel Angel Burelli-Rivas



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