Coinciding with the International Day for Human Rights, victims and analysts from around the world have converged in Quito for the event Truth, Justice and Reparation, sponsored by the District Attorney’s office.
“To show what was state terror and what it has been throughout the years, to demand justice is an extremely important step for the Ecuadorean state, to come through with internal obligations with the people whose rights have been violated, and also with international obligations,” said Fidel Jaramillo, the Director of the Truth and Human Rights Commission of Ecuador.
This is the first event of its kind to occur in Ecuador, in which the government has opened this public space for victims of human rights abuses to interact with state representatives and international panelists and share experiences.
Mirella Velez, whose son was victim of a forced disappearance in 2003 under the government of Lucio Gutierrez, told teleSUR English, “They hurt us, not just us but our children. So we are seeing that the government has this interest in reparation. Not monetarily, but providing justice in imprisoning those guilty and those who have committed these crimes.”
Ecuador has worked to provide justice for members of the revolutionary guerrilla group Alfaro Vive Carajo and other victims of abuses committed under Leon Febres Cordero, who ruled Ecuador from 1984 to 1988. The cases of the Alfaro Vive Carajo are currently under investigation, and members of the group came to the panel to share their experiences and learn from the judicial processes of other countries.
Miguel Jarrin, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo currently involved in lawsuits seeking justice for members of the organization, praised efforts of the District Attorney. His brother, Arturo Jarrin, the ideological leader of the Alfaro Vive Carajo, was killed by state agents in 1986.
“We are expecting and hope that they continue with legal proceedings to sanction the perpetrators of the many cases of the persecution of Alfaro Vive Carajo,” said Jarrin.
Seven distinguished experts were invited to the event and led seminars covering specific country cases and topics such as impunity and international human rights law. Through their interactions with participants, panelists shared the global implications of their cases and rulings.
“I'm telling you that the importance of the detention of Pinochet is that there is a before and after. For the country, like what also happened in Argentina, the possibility of investigation was opened,” said Dr. Baltasar Garzon, the judge heading the case against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ordered his extradition in 1998 in an interview with teleSUR English.
“And then there were important political decisions. Like for example what were those of Nestor Kirchner. The government of Nestor Kirchner clearly decided to draw the line against impunity,” Garzon went on to say.
Ecuador is one of the seven countries in the region that has signed all of the Inter-American human rights conventions. Through internationally focused events such as this, Ecuador is seeking to provide a type of reparation for victims that ensures an end to impunity.