THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROSECUTORS DEPLORES THE MURDER OF ECUADOR PROSECUTOR LEONARDO PALACIOS AND THE THREATS TO ATTORNEY GENERAL DIANA SALAZAR
The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is the only world organization of prosecutors, prosecuting authorities and associations. It covers six continents and over 175 jurisdictions, and represents over 200,000 prosecutors. It is a non-political and non-governmental organization, and enjoys special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
The IAP is committed to upholding the internationally recognised rights of prosecutors, and this includes their personal safety and that of their families. In 1990, in Havana, Cuba, the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders adopted the "Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors." These require States to ensure that "prosecutors are able to perform their professional functions without intimidation", and that prosecutors and their families are "physically protected by the authorities when their personal safety is threatened as a result of the discharge of prosecutorial functions."
In the IAP’s “Standards for Protection and Security of Prosecutors”, it is further stated that “States shall take all necessary measures to ensure that public prosecutors, together with their families, are physically protected by the appropriate authorities when their personal safety is threatened as a result of the proper discharge of their functions”. States, moreover, are enjoined to provide necessary protections for prosecutors and their families “at home or when travelling”.
The IAP has learned with great sadness of the murder of Leonardo Palacios, a prosecutor who was fatally shot by gunmen in Duran, near Guayaquil, on June 1, 2023. He was killed while driving away after having attended a murder trial hearing, He died on the same day that the Attorney General, Diana Salazar, received death threats in a WhatsApp video that was broadcast by local media.
The Commander General of Police is now investigating the killing, in conjunction with the prosecutorial authorities, and those responsible for this horrendous crime, as well as for the threats to prosecutors, must be brought to justice.
As three prosecutors have been murdered in Ecuador in 2022-2023, the situation is deplorable, and must be rectified. The IAP calls upon the Government of Ecuador to urgently review its security arrangements for prosecutors, and to consider how they can be strengthened. If prosecutors are to uphold criminal justice, they must be adequately protected.
The IAP expresses its solidarity with the Attorney General and her prosecutors, and stands ready to provide the Government of Ecuador with such support as it reasonably can to promote prosecutorial safety in the Republic of Ecuador.
June 11, 2023