Montero Aranguren et al. (Detention Center of Catia) v. Venezuela. Series C No. 150

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

Paragraph 67: “The use of force by governmental security forces must be grounded on the existence of exceptional circumstances and should be planned and proportionally limited by the government authorities. In this aspect, the Court has established that force or coercive means can only be used once all other methods of control have been exhausted and failed.”

Paragraph 68: “The use of firearms and lethal force against people by law enforcement officers -which must be generally forbidden- is only justified in even more extraordinary cases. The exceptional circumstances under which firearms and lethal force may be used shall be determined by the law and restrictively construed, so that they are used to the minimum extent possible in all cases, but never exceeding that use “absolutely necessary” in relation to the force or threat to be repealed. When excessive force is used, any deprivation of life is arbitrary.”

Paragraph 75: “As stated in paragraph 66 of this Judgment, the States must pass appropriate legal rules to deter any threat to life. So, domestic law must establish standards clear enough to regulate the use of lethal force and firearms by members of the State security forces. Following the “Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by the Law Enforcement Officials”. the rules and regulations on the use of firearms by enforcement officias should include guidelines that: (a) specify the circumstances under which law enforcement officials are authorized to carry firearms and prescribe the types of firearms and ammunition permitted; (b) ensure that firearms are used only in appropriate circumstances and in a manner likely to decrease the risk of unnecessary harm; (c) prohibit the use of those firearms and ammunition that cause
unwarranted injury or present an unwarranted risk; (d) regulate the control, storage and issuing of firearms, including procedures for ensuring that law enforcement officials are accountable for the firearms and ammunition issued to them; (e) provide for warnings to be given, if appropriate, when firearms are to be discharged; (f) provide for a system of reporting whenever law enforcement officials use firearms in the performance of their duty.”

Paragraph 83: “…any deficiency or fault in the investigation affecting the ability to determine the cause of death or to identify the actual perpetrators or masterminds of the crime will constitute failure to comply with the obligation to protect the right to life”