Miami (March 3, 2021).- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) applauded the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to refer the case of Santiago Leguizamón to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The organization expressed its confidence that justice will be achieved in the case of the Paraguayan journalist murdered in 1991.
The president of the IAPA, Jorge Canahuati, from multimedia Grupo Opsa, Honduras, highlighted the importance of the transfer of the Leguizamón case to the Inter-American Court, where he said: "There is already a precedent with the 2018 ruling that declared the State of Colombia internationally responsible for the death of the journalist Nelson Carvajal Carvajal."
For his part, IAPA president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, of the newspaper La Voz del Interior, Argentina, expressed his confidence that "with this action before the Inter-American Court, the search for justice for the Leguizamón's crime will be accelerated and that his family members may know the truth and be compensated for the irreparable damage caused."
The formal complaint about the Leguizamón case was presented by the IAPA to the IACHR at its headquarters in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2007. It was the result of an investigation by Argentine journalist Jorge Elías, investigative journalist of the IAPA's Impunity Project.
Leguizamón was murdered on April 26, 1991, date on which Journalist's Day is celebrated in his country. The crime occurred in Pedro Juan Caballero, a city on the border with Brazil, where he hosted the morning radio program "Puertas Abiertas" on Radio Mburucuyá and was a correspondent for the newspaper Noticias. The journalist, who was widely known for his reporting on corruption, smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering on the border between Paraguay and Brazil, had received death threats.
Since 2016, the Leguizamón family decided to directly assume the handling of the case before the IACHR and the IAPA withdrew from sponsoring it before that organism of the inter-American system. However, Canahuati and Jornet agreed to reaffirm the IAPA's willingness to continue contributing to the process in this new stage before the Inter-American Court.
The IACHR submitted the case "Santiago Leguizamón Zaván and family" to the Inter-American Court on February 13, 2021, after concluded that the State of Paraguay is internationally responsible for the journalist's death because it failed to act in accordance with its duty of prevention and protection, and failed to guarantee his right to freedom of expression. Also concluded that the investigation and criminal proceedings did not meet the standards of due diligence nor within the reasonable period of time, among other considerations.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.