ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2014.07.28

View Adopted: 2019.07.18

María Dolores Martín Pozo v. Spain

Allegation of procedural deficiencies in trial in Spain, no violation as no manifest denial of justice

Substantive Issues
  • Presumption of innocence
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.2
  • Article 14.3
  • Article 9.1
  • Article 9.3
Full Text


The author is a national of Spain who claimed that the state party has violated her rights under articles 9 (1) and (3); 14 (1), (2), (3) and (5); and 26 of the Covenant. In April 2003, the author and her husband were legally separated, the judgement of which granted custody of their daughter to the author. Divorce proceedings were later filed by the ex-husband contesting this grant.

The hearing took place in January 2007, at the conclusion of which the author, overcome with emotion, said to her ex-husband "te tengo que ver muerto" (“I have to see you dead”). At the end of the month, the prosecutors office issued a report recommending the father should be awarded custody, without any arrangements for the author. That same evening, a car violently overook the ex-husband, braking suddently. He swerved to avoid being hit and pulled ahead, only to be hit by the agressive driver now behind. In March 2007, the author's ex-husband was shot dead in his garage.

The author's phone was tapped during the judicial investigation, recording a conversation in April 2007 between the author and the president of the consituttional court, in which both women, who knew each other, discussed the proceedings. In 2009 the author was placed in pre-trial detention as were two others who were co-accused of the ex-husbands murder. After numerous procedural issues within different court systems, the Madrid Provincial Court sentenced the author to 17 years, 6 months in prison for the crime of murder with the aggravating circumstance of existing family ties.

The author considered that the state party has violated her right to the presumption of innocence and argued that as such due process under was not completed. She considered that such procedural deficiencies in her detention and processing of her case were in violation of articles 9 (1) and 14 (1) and (2) of the Covenant.


The Committee noted that assessments of facts and evidence are matters for national courts, unless there is a manifestly arbitrary denial of justice. In this manner, the Committee felt that the information provided by the parties throughout the process did not allow it to conclude that the national courts have acted arbitrarily, and it is therefore not for the Committee to intervene in this respect, once it has verified the detailed reasoning of the courts and the consistency of the line of argument used.

Therefore, the Committee could not conclude that the facts before it disclosed a violation of article 14 (1) and (2). Given that the allegations concerning a violation of article 9 (1) were also closely linked to the author’s allegation that she was convicted following a trial in which the due process guarantees set out in article 14 (1) and (2) were not respected, and as no violation of that article has been found, the Committee concluded that the facts before it did not disclose a violation of article 9 (1).

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