RESOLUTION Nš 7/86
1. The petition
submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, according to
December 19, 1982, Mr. JORGE FERNANDO ESCOBAR RIVERA, aged 56 years,
married, by trade a mechanic, and a resident of Managua, disappeared in
circumstances that have not yet been clarified.
the date of his disappearance an intense search has been made through
newspapers, prisons, hospitals, etc., to ascertain his whereabouts. To
the astonishment of members of his family, on December 20 of that same
year two members of the Sandinista Police appeared in the Altagracia
neighborhood asking where Mr. Fernando Escobar Rivera lived and then
appeared at his house carrying the registration permit of his vehicle
and stating that he was under arrest in Nš 3 Substation of the Police
because he had been in a collision, which subsequently proved to be
December 24 of that same year, an anonymous telephone call informed his
wife that Jorge Fernando was under arrest in El Chipote and the
anonymous informant stated that he knew it because he had been detained
in the same place. Following that telephone call, Mrs. Escobar Rivera
contacted the State Security Department, which denied the information;
she also reported the case to the Complaints Department of the Ministry
of the Interior without any result.
January 1983, Mrs. Escobar Rivera was summoned to the Police Processing
Offices to make a declaration on the circumstances of his disappearance
so that the pertinent investigation could be made although no
information was obtained. An official of the above-mentioned office told
her in confidence that Escobar Rivera was indeed under arrest in El
Chipote but that that fact had been denied in order not to impede the
investigation. However, on several occasions members of the Police
Investigation Department located in La Plaza del Sol came to her house
and took down a great many details of the circumstances of the
disappearance without informing her of the results of the investigation.
April 28, 1983, an appeal of habeas corpus was filed on behalf of
Escobar Rivera and against the Director of State Security, who had
denied the arrest. To that end, his wife was summoned on various
occasions in June and July of that same year to house Nš 50 where she
was interrogated, as was her daughter, about details of the life and
activities of her husband and she was asked whether she could recognize
his motorcycle, to which she replied that she could but that she would
have to go to the facilities in Chipote; however, she did not do so
because she feared she would be arrested. Subsequently, on August 4,
1983, a member of the State Security came to her house to summon her to
House Nš 50, which summons she complied with and was interviewed by
Colonel Espinales, who told her that he had orders from above that he
should hand over to her the motorcycle of her husband in the traffic
offices. On August 5 and 6, Mrs. Escobar Rivera went to the traffic
offices to take delivery of the motorcycle but was told that it would
not be handed over to her until she brought the pertinent order from the
state security; on August 8 she again had an interview with Col.
Espinales in order to request the above-mentioned order but he did so by
telephoning the traffic offices and on that same day Mrs. Escobar Rivera
actually received the motorcycle her husband was driving on the day of
should be pointed out that when the motorcycle was examined a paper was
found under the seat. It was the driver's license and registration
permit of Mr. Escobar Rivera, which greatly surprised his wife since the
registration permit was the same one as that the members of the
Sandinista Police who came to the house of Mr. Escobar Rivera on the day
following his disappearance were carrying and therefore it is deduced
that, if the State Security Authorities handed over the motorcycle and
his documents to Mrs. Escobar Rivera, they were aware of the whereabouts
of her husband; however, on December 6, 1983, when she visited the
Public Relations Offices in El Chipote, she was informed that the case
was closed but that she should not worry because her husband was alive.
addition to the above-mentioned steps, on June 16, 1983, the Court of
Appeals of the III Region ordered the Office of the General Prosecutor
to ascertain the place of detention and the authority that ordered the
arrest of ESCOBAR RIVERA, which step has not produced any result.
all the remedies, both judicial and legal, for establishing the
whereabouts of Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera have been exhausted; all of
which proved fruitless.
transmission of the petition to the Government of Nicaragua on February
29, 1984 requesting it to provide such information as it deemed
communication of October 25, 1984, in which the petitioner informs the
Commission of the various steps taken to ascertain the whereabouts of
Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera, including the filing of an appeal of
habeas corpus on April 28, 1983 to the Criminal Division of the Appeals
Court, Region III.
communication of November 14, 1984 which repeats to the Government of
Nicaragua the request for information made, and states that, should that
information not be received, the CIDH would consider the possibility of
applying the then Article 39 of the Regulations, according to which:
facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been
transmitted to the government of the State in reference shall be
presumed to be true if, during the maximum period set by the Commission
under the provisions of Article 34, paragraph 5, the Government has not
provided the pertinent information, as long as other evidence does not
lead to a different conclusion.
communication of April 16, 1985 from the Government, in which it limits
itself to stating that the General State Security Directorate has
reported that Mr. Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera has never been arrested
on its orders.
1. The petition
presented satisfies the requirements for admissibility established by
Article 46 of the American Convention on Human Rights and that, in
addition, the requirements of domestic law have been exhausted.
2. That, by reason
of their nature, the facts that are the subject matter of the petition
do not permit the application in this case of the friendly settlement
3. That the facts
reported by the petitioner disclose the existence of the initial
recognition, by agents of the Government of Nicaragua, of the arrest of
Mr. Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera, which is also to be inferred from the
fact that members of the police force were in possession of the personal
documents of the victim when they appeared at his house on the day
following his disappearance.
4. That the arrest
of Mr. Escobar Rivera was similarly recognized on various subsequent
occasions as a result of the many steps taken by members of his family,
who were informed that he was under detention, on the order of the State
Security, in the El Chipote prison, which information has since been
5. That despite
the steps taken and investigations carried out to ascertain the
whereabouts of Mr. Escobar Rivera and of the time that has elapsed, the
reply of the Government of Nicaragua of April 16, 1985 is extremely
terse and reveals the lack of interest of that Government in providing
the Commission with reliable information on so serious an event as that
6. That the
General Assembly of the Organization of American States declared, by
resolution 666 (XIII-0/83) that "The practice of the forced
disappearance of persons in the Americas is an affront to the conscience
of the hemisphere and constitutes a crime against humanity."
7. That the
Nicaraguan Government has not presented observations on Resolution Nš 7
86 which was transmitted to it.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. To declare that
the Government of Nicaragua has violated the right to personal liberty,
set forth in Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and
the right to life, recognized by Article 4 by the actions of its agents
who were responsible for the arrest and subsequent disappearance of Mr.
Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera.
2. To recommend to
the Government of Nicaragua that it conduct a thorough investigation of
the facts reported in order to identify the persons responsible, and
bring them to trial, so that the penalties so serious a way of
proceeding demands may be imposed upon them and that it adopt the
necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such serious events.
3. To include this
Resolution in its Annual Report for the purposes of Article 63 g
of its Regulations and transmit it to the petitioner.