Ecuadoran Military Whistleblower Case Brings New Protection for Whistleblowers in Ecuador

May 15, 2024
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The following article is a summary of David Banisar's article, posted on the Corporate Crime Observatory. To read the detailed article, click here.

Navy Captain Julio Rogelio Viteri Ungaretti, an Ecuadoran military officer blew the whistle in 2001 at the Ecuador embassy in London, reporting corruption that he witnessed to a senior official in the military and the Ambassador. He submitted the reports that held the allegations of corruption to the media, which soon after were published, this garnered a harsh response of threats and sanctions by the Ecuadoran military, resulting in being detained multiple times and sentenced to return to Ecuador. Following this was the harassment and threats to his family and the public vilification by Ecuadorian President Gustavo Noboa.

After continued trouble, in 2002 Julio appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), on top of his petition of Ecuador's human rights violations against him and his family. is the request for protection while he awaited asylum in the UK, which was granted.

The commission receives between 2,000 and 3,000 petitions each year and is confronted with a significant backlog when reviewing and completing reports, thus in 2010, the commission began its review of Julio's petition. In 2015 the commission found there were violations against the articles of the American Convention on Human Rights, in 2020, the commission released its merits report on the case and concluded that the rights of Captain Viteri Ungaretti and his family had been violated, specifically the right of freedom of expression and the right to personal liberty.

From this point, in 2021, the commission petitioned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, requesting the Court review the case. On 22 March 2024, the Court formally delivered its decision on the case and ruled in Julio's favour that Ecuador had violated his human rights and ordered Ecuador to provide reparations and compensation to him and his family.

Concluding with this case, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Ecuador to take a number of measures to ensure this does not happen again. Ecuador has since adopted several measures on reporting and protection of whistleblowing, and providing training on whistlerblower protection within the military. Unfortunately it has been found that the measures are not adequate and only addresses whistleblowing in the military rather than broadly in the public interest.

For more information read the orginal article at the top of the page.