News | 17-11-2014
Paraguay Peasants' Rights Justiciability

Trial is postponed on the 'Curuguaty massacre' case

The trial of the criminalized peasants scheduled for 17 November has been postponed until June 2015.

Photo © Hugo Valiente

Heidelberg, Asunción, Oakland , Amsterdam , November 17, 2014: After being postponed for the second time this year, the oral and public trial against twelve landless peasants charged in relation to the 'Curuguaty massacre' - perhaps one of the most emblematic tragedies in the young Paraguayan democracy - is now foreseen for the period between June 24 - July 24, 2015. The trial court of Salto de Guairá justified this decision by arguing that 50 witnesses were not notified on time about the case.

Although the fiscal investigation and judicial process have been marked by irregularities and infringement of warranties from the beginning, which questioned a fair trial, this delay also prolongs the precarious situation of the charged persons, who have been in prison or at home arrest for over two years not being able to work with dignity or move freely. Overall, this reality also affects their families. There is also information about the criminalization of lawyers and the peasants' human rights lawyer, as well as some of the persons identified as witnesses in the trial, who are being charged, restricted in their freedom of movement and void as witnesses.

One of the most outstanding facts of this case is that the State has not formally opened an investigation into allegations of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, death threats and physical and psychological torture against the peasants during and after the eviction on June 15, 2012, which reflects a breach of the State's duty to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible. Furthermore, although the peasants were charged for trespassing, among other charges, land ownership of the lands in Marina Kue is still to be judicially clarified.

In view of these circumstances, FIAN International, La Via Campesina (LVC) , Food First / Institute for Food and Development Policy and Transnational Institute (TNI) wish to express once again our deep concern about the serious flaws in this criminal process and urge the Paraguayan authorities to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of those people accused and involved in the Curuguaty case - including their rights to due process, to defend human rights, to a physical integrity, to adequate food, and to the land - and to make a serious, impartial and effective investigation into the death of the peasants and other human rights violations during and after the events on June 15 , 2012. Furthermore, we also call on the authorities to ensure clarification of the ownership of the land Marina Kue and proper implementation of the agrarian reform.

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