ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2016.06.28

View Adopted: 2020.03.11

Simón Mora Carrero et al v. Venezuela

Substantive Issues
  • Effective remedy
  • Enforced disappearance
  • Liberty and security of person
  • Recognition as a person before the law
  • Respect for the inherent dignity of the human person
  • Right to life
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 10
  • Article 16
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 6.1
  • Article 7
  • Article 9
Full Text


The authors of the communication are Venezuelan nationals who claims that the State Party violated their father's rights under articles 2 (3), 6 (1), 7, 9, 10, and 16 of the Covenant, and their own rights under article 2 (3) and 7 of the Covenant.

Their father, Mr Mora Marguez was a well-known regional leader of the Venezuelan Revolutionary Party who had aired his political views on radio programmes denouncing acts of corruption, criticizing government policies and urging the population to organize in defence of their rights. His most recent appointment was as the Secretary to the Secretary-General of the government of the State Merida. In his appointment, he had produced a dossier containing information on government officials and personnel involved in a smuggling operation.

On 25 February 2015, Mr. Mora Marquez was intercepted near his home and threatened with death by armed men, who arrived in a car with similar characteristics to the one used by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Services. He did not file a complaint but did notify family and friends to be warned that the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service had issued a warrant for his arrest.

On the morning of 27 February 2015, Mr Mora Marquez left his home for work; that was the last time his children saw him alive. On 2 March 2015, the authors were able to talk to their father by telephone for a minute and a half. The authors repeatedly tried to communicate with their father after this but to no avail. On 4 March 2015, the authors received several text messages. This alarmed the authors as they did not read like something their father had written, and their father never put his initials at the end of his messages. On the following day, they, therefore, filed a complaint of enforced disappearance. Upon a later meeting with the Secretary-General of the government, they were reportedly also told that this happened to their father because he was talking a lot of nonsense.

On 18 May, a judge decided to allow the case to go forward and ordered the attorney general’s office to take all necessary steps to locate or bring about the appearance of the injured party. The authors submit that although this yielded some investigative actions, other important steps, such as calling other witnesses to give evidence or requesting certain phones to be traced, were not taken. The authors submit that having failed to yield any results, the investigation has not been effective.

The authors conclude that the State party have violated their fathers’ rights under articles 2 (3), 6 (1), 7, 9, 10, and 16 of the Covenant. They also recall that Committee jurisprudence clearly recognized that enforced disappearance constitutes a form of cruel and inhuman treatment for the relatives of the disappeared persons. Thus, they claim that their rights under articles 2 (3) and 7 of the Covenant have been violated.


The Committee firstly noted the State Party’s claim that there had been no evidence emerging of direct or indirect participation by agents of the State in the disappearance, and that the disappearance might have been carried out without the consent of the State party’s authorities by irregular groups operating in Colombia. In the absence of such evidence supporting the presumption of participation, support or acquiescence, the Committee found that it cannot reach any conclusion regarding the forced or unforced nature of the disappearance.

The Committee also recalled that the content and scope of the right to life includes also positive procedural obligations – in particular, that state parties should take appropriate preventive measures and investigate, and as appropriate, prosecute those responsible for such incidents. In terms of the present case, the Committee noted that the State party was unaware of the situation of real and immediate risk to Mr Mora Marquez life and that the State party conducted a number of investigative procedures. It further stressed that it is an obligation of means and not results and that it is not for the Committee to determine the usefulness of specific investigative measures unless the failure to take them is manifestly unreasonably. On this basis, it found that it did not have sufficient evidence to conclude that the State Party violated articles 6 (1), and 7, read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (3).

Given that it had not been possible to prove that that the facts of the present case constituted an enforced disappearance attributable to the State party, it did not have sufficient evidence to find a violation of articles 9, 10, and 16 of the Covenant with respect to their father’s rights or of the author’s own rights under article 2 (3) and 7 of the Covenant.





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