Friday, February 26, 2016

Amnesty International report on Chile

Security forces and the military justice system 
Cases of human rights violations involving members of the security forces continued to be dealt with by military courts, despite public commitments by the authorities to reform the relevant legislation. The Supreme Court, however, upheld the right to due process and international human rights obligations in specific cases when deciding to transfer such cases to the jurisdiction of ordinary courts.1 
In May, the Martial Court (the appeal court in the military justice system) reduced the sentence imposed on a former police officer for fatally shooting 16-year-old Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso and injuring Carlos Burgos Toledo during a protest in 2011, from three years and 61 days to 461 days. The Martial Court disregarded the military tribunal’s finding that methods short of the use of firearms were available to disperse the demonstrators, instead stating that there was no proof of intention to cause injury on the part of the officer.2This decision was confirmed by the Supreme Court in December. 
Investigation into the death of Iván Vásquez Vásquez in police custody in 2014 in Chile Chico, Aysén region, made some progress. The family requested a third, more comprehensive, autopsy, given the discrepancies between two previous autopsies. In July the Martial Court agreed to conduct this autopsy, which was still pending at the end of the year. 
A few cases of police violence were dealt with by the ordinary courts. Among them were the cases of Nelson Quichillao, a mineworker who was shot dead by the security forces during a protest in July in El Salvador, Atacama Region, and that of 28-year-old student Rodrigo Avilés who was seriously injured by police water cannon in May. Investigations into the cases were continuing at the end of the year. 
In September, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association called on the authorities to end the use of military courts to deal with cases of human rights violations.

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