Yesterday, Friday, March 14th, the Supreme Court of Justice’s Commission for Disciplinary Regime (CDR) summoned Julio Acuña Cambronero, Penal Judge of the Bluefields District and Anabel Omier, Civil Judge of the Bluefields District and Penal Judge by Ministry of Law.

The Judges were summoned so that they may inform the CDR of their actions in the penal process for Francisco Garcia Valle’s murder. Garcia was president of the Bluefields Chamber of Commerce and he was also a university professor. He was assassinated in his Bluefields home on April 8th 2002; in an attempt directed to murder his wife, Dr. Maria Luisa Acosta. Dr. Acosta is Coordinator of the Center for Legal Assistance to Indigenous Peoples (CALPI). Dr. Acosta denounced that the attempt was aimed for her, and was ordered by Peter Martinez and Peter Tsokos; due to a legal battle that Tsokos and Martinez have against the indigenous communities of the Pearl Lagoon Basin, Monkey Point and The Rama People, All of who are represented by Dr. Acosta.

Dr. Acosta and Norwin Solano of the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) were present in the hearing to file complaints.

Dr. Acosta detailed each of the several due process violations, in the penal case of her husband’s murder. In this penal process, Dr. Acosta has been denied 3 Actions for Nullity, a Recusation Against Judge Cambronero, two appeals, and one appeal based on Fact. The Penal Court of Bluefields’ Appeals Tribunal rejected this last appeal.

On October of 2002, the Appeals Tribunal rejected the Appeal Based on Fact arguing that, “it should be categorically expressed that an Appeal Based on Fact has been introduced”. However, the Code does not establish any SACRAMENTAL way to present such an appeal. According to investigations, the Appeals Tribunal, in almost five years, since it was formed, has never rejected an Appeal Based on Fact in a penal matter.

Also on October of 2002, Judge Cambronero threatened to incarcerate a Police Officer. The Officer was trying to deliver Judge Cambronero a letter from a private security company, “Master Security”. The letter established that Ivan Argüello Rivera, fugitive for Garcia’s murder, was Tsokos’ driver. The policeman also tried to deliver results from a crime lab report, which concludes that the bullet used to kill Garcia was shot from a Lorcin 25 caliber gun, with the serial number of 332358. This gun belongs to Martinez, Tsokos’ lawyer.

The most recent rejection was on March 4th, 2003. On November of 2002 Judge Omier was assigned all the cases of the Bluefields District that are being processed with the old Penal Code. Omier rejected an action in which Acosta’s representation and the Auxiliary District Attorney denounced absolute nullities in the process. The District Attorney in reference to Judge Acuña’s actions stated: “[…] It was clear that the judge’s intention was to deny, at all costs, the right to appeal despite that it in his reach were other legal forms of action, actions that have the objective of not ruining the right to an appeal […] It is concluded that the process has been given pendency in a defected manner, creating harm by the judge, who did not guarantee due process […]

Judge Omier rejected these arguments and she sentenced. She argued that the nullities had not been alleged before. These allegations were made previously, they can be found in page 176 of the case’s file. Judge Omier failed to recognize that nullities alleged in the process are SUBSTANTIAL NULLITIES; they can be pointed out IN ANY STATE OF THE PROCESS and can even be OFICIALLY DECLARED by the Judge.

Mr. Solano of CENIDH expressed that Dr. Acosta’s case is one of harassment and persecution, due to her work as a defender of indigenous peoples’ and other ethnic communities’ human rights. She has represented these communities for many years, in different courts; and in that proportion, this case acquires even more severity. This is why it has been nationally and internationally denounced. Solano encouraged the CDR to take prompt and strong measures to avoid that Nicaragua’s judicial system turn into an instrument for the persecution of human rights defenders.

The President of the CDR, Dr. Rafael Solis informed everyone in the hearing that the same had been done under the Chancery of the Republic’s petition. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, with offices in Washington DC, USA, requested information on Garcia’s case. This is why the CDR was gathering information for the Chancery. Dr. Solis also mentioned that, on Monday, March 17th 2003, the parties would be informed on what is concluded from the hearing.

For More Information Contact the Center for Legal Assitance to Indigenous Peoples CALPI
Tel/Fax (505) 341-0015 Mobile (505) 853-3285