In its last annual reports, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been submitting to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States a number of topics that it felt were especially important regarding respect for human rights. The Commission has suggested that the Assembly take specific measures to achieve greater observance of those rights in accordance with the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights.


          The General Assembly has endorsed many of the suggestions of the IACHR, and has passed resolutions on them, including proposed inter-American conventions recommended by the Commission. Thus, the General Assembly this year is to consider the adoption of an Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights covering economic, social and cultural rights, based on a draft prepared by the Commission at the request of the General Assembly.


          While continuing to urge the adoption of its previous recommendations, the Commission this year would like to direct its recommendations to the governments of member countries to urge them to adopt two instruments that, when they enter into force, will, in the Commission’s view, surely contribute to increasing the observance of the most important and fundamental of all human rights, the right to life.


          As the Commission has repeatedly stated, the right to life is the foundation and cornerstone of all other human rights.1 For that reason, it can never be suspended by any State, and under no circumstances can persons be executed to restore public order. Moreover, it is necessary to create all the circumstances required for this basic right to be fully observed.


          Regarding the latter, the Commission reiterates what it has said in its prior reports in the sense that terrorism is never justified and that in every instance in which a state of emergency is involved, human rights must be respected.


          Terrorism committed by individuals is as worth of condemnation as terrorism committed by the State. Therefore, extra judicial executions must always be condemned and may not be justified under the rule of law which must without exception maintain a respect for human rights.


          However, there are two measures frequently employed in recent years that entail a serious denial of the right to life: imposition of the death penalty by court decision and the forced or involuntary disappearance of persons. The Commission is not unaware that in the Americas other violations of the right to life have occurred; but it considers that from the standpoint of the duties that have been given to it and to the appropriate organs of the inter-American system, the adoption of the legal instruments it is recommending at this time could help to create more favorable conditions for the observance of the right to life in the American Hemisphere.


          The legal instruments the Commission is recommending at this time are: 1) the adoption by the States Parties to the American Convention on Human Rights of an Additional Protocol on the abolition of the death penalty; and 2) the adoption of an inter-American convention to prevent and punish the forced disappearance of persons.





          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, concerned about the behavior of some States in extending the death penalty or applying it in a generalized manner, has appealed, on previous occasions, to all governments of the Americas to abolish the death penalty, in keeping with the spirit of Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights and in line with the universal trend toward abolition of the death penalty.2


          As is widely known, in order to facilitate adoption by the largest number of states, the American Convention on Human Rights did not abolish the death penalty but only restricted its application. Specifically, Article 4 of the Convention in five of its six paragraphs established various limitations on the imposition of the death penalty. These limitations are as follows: 1) the death penalty may be imposed only for the most serious crimes; 2) it may be imposed only pursuant to a sentence handed down by a court of competent jurisdiction; 3) also it may be imposed only under a law providing for such punishment, enacted prior to the commission of the crime; 4) it may not be re-established in States that have abolished it; 5) in no case shall capital punishment be inflicted for political offenses or related common crimes; 6) it may not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of age; 7) nor may it be applied to pregnant women; and 8) every person condemned to death shall have the right to appeal for amnesty, pardon or commutation of sentence, which may be granted in all cases. Capital punishment shall not be imposed while such an appeal is pending decision by the authority of competent jurisdiction.


          Although the Commission understands that in 1969, when the American Convention on Human Rights was adopted, prevailing conditions would have not permitted abolishing the death penalty through a convention, experience in almost two decades since and the trend in the vast majority of the countries of the Americas to amend their criminal codes or even their constitutional provisions, as has occurred with Haiti and Nicaragua, in order to ban the death penalty, cause the Commission to consider that conditions are now ripe for adopting an instrument to abolish the death penalty.


          In recent years, the Commission has observed that the purported purpose of capital punishment—that is, by imposing it, the State helps to save the lives of others by preventing the commission of the crimes for which the death penalty has been established—has not been achieved in practice, and on the contrary, the death penalty often has had a counterproductive effect by generating greater violence. In that regard, the Commission can only share the views set forth in numerous studies according to which it has not yet been shown that capital punishment has any impact on reducing criminality.3


          Moreover, there are a great many ethical and legal reasons and even reasons of civic harmony, which the Commission shares, requiring the abolition of the death penalty. From the ethical standpoint, one cannot justify defending an absolute value like human life by resorting to a strict application of the talionic principle of “an eye for an eye,” which in this case becomes “a life for a life.” The foregoing involves a concept of law and punishment that is purely retributive, that is, one evil must be answered by another of a similar kind. In that sense, the State’s right to punish certain criminal behavior cannot be absolute and must surely be limited by those rights of the human person that are inalienable, foremost among them being the right to life.


          From the standpoint of criminal policy, the death penalty violates the principle of special prevention by denying the possibility of rehabilitation or reform of the offender, a rationale that constitutes one of the fundamental purposes of punishment.


          The irreparable nature of the death penalty must also be kept in mind, that is, it does not admit of judicial errors. However, as unfortunately has occurred in the past, it has in hundreds of cases been shown later that the death penalty was imposed as a result of a judicial error.


          It is also necessary to point out, as the Commission has, that the death penalty has been used by totalitarian regimes and military dictators as an instrument to eliminate dissidents or even to hide those really guilty of other crimes.


          Finally, the Commission considers that the right to life, as has occurred with the right to humane treatment, should be protected in the most absolute manner possible under international law.


          It is now possible to state that, thanks to the fact that the international community has become mindful of how intolerable the practice of torture is under any circumstances, the right not to suffer physical torment has become absolute. Consequently, how could it be accepted that the right to life, which is at the very basis of the other human rights, does not have similar protection? In this regard, the Commission considers that the death penalty is one of the most serious offenses against a human being that can be conceived of, because it terminates the person’s very existence.


          The above reasons, as well as the repugnance produced by the cruel, inhumane and degrading nature of this punishment, has led most American countries to abolish the death penalty, at least for common crimes. Thus, of the 19 countries that today are parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, only four retain the death penalty. It is also significant that those countries that are not parties to the Pact of San José, Costa Rica,—that is, States that have not shown an interest in undertaking international commitments to respect human rights, with the sole exception of Brazil, which is in the process of completing its internal procedures to be party to that instrument, all of them maintain the death penalty for all types of crimes.


          Of the States that are parties to the American Convention on Human Rights, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela, have abolished the death penalty for all kinds of crimes. The domestic law of Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru does not impose the death penalty for common crimes, and maintains it only for serious military offenses committed under exceptional circumstances, such as in time of war.


          This trend to abolish the death penalty can also be seen in other regions. Thus, in April 1983, several States parties to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties—which, like the American Convention, allows the death penalty, under certain restrictions—adopted Protocol 6 to that Convention, abolishing the death penalty. Likewise, the United Nations is now considering, as a result of successive General Assembly resolutions, an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which declares the death penalty to be abolished.


          All of these antecedents confirm to the Commission the desirability of proposing to the States parties to the American Convention on Human Rights that they take another step forward with respect to current Article 4 of that Convention, so that capital punishment will be banned through a new instrument.


          The American Convention provides two possible ways to amend its provisions. Under Article 76, any State party to the Convention, the Commission or the Court can, through the OAS Secretary General, submit to the General Assembly proposed amendments to the Convention. Also, Article 77 empowers any State party and the Commission to submit “proposed protocols to this Convention for consideration by the States Parties at the General Assembly with a view to gradually including other rights and freedoms within its system of protection.”


          Which would be best—amending Article 4 or including the Additional Protocol to the Convention—should be carefully studied.


          In the Commission’s view, while the amendment to the current provision governing the right to life could be the best way to take a categorical stand against the death penalty, and, from the legal standpoint, regulate one subject under a single instrument, it might have the disadvantage that those States that are now parties to the Pact of San José, Costa Rica, or that in the future might become parties to it, and that still maintain the death penalty, would have to make an express reservation to that provision, if it is authorized, or if they do not accept the possibility of making a reservation, they would be prevented from participating in the Convention, which could cause even more difficulties from the standpoint of protecting human rights. In these circumstances, it would appear preferable to have on this topic two coexisting rules established by two successive treaties, a possibility allowed by the American Convention on Human Rights and authorized by general international law, as shown in Article 30 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.


          Thus the present Article 4 will remain in effect for countries that do not become parties to the additional protocol or that ratify it in the future or that are parties to the American Convention on Human Rights but not to the Additional Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty.


          Since the current Article 4 of the Convention coexists with the Additional Protocol, that will make it possible for the Convention to provide that reservations may not be made to the Protocol or that they will have a very limited and specific scope.


          Another important problem to consider is whether the obligation the States parties to the Additional Protocol will acquire not to impose the death penalty will be absolute, that is, that under no circumstances may the death penalty be imposed, regardless of the offense committed, or, whether some exceptions might be accepted, particularly those that would make it possible to impose the death penalty for serious military crimes committed under exceptional circumstances, such as during a foreign war, a situation that the laws of a large number of States that are now parties to the Pact of San José, Costa Rica, now provide for.


          If what is desired is to make, as the Commission seeks, significant progress regarding the present Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and also, to enable the new protocol to have the largest number of ratifications or adhesions possible, it would appear desirable that, as established in Protocol 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms and provided for in the draft of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on abolition of the death penalty, the States might be authorized to impose the death penalty for specified military offenses committed in wartime.


          Because of the exceptional character of such authorization, any statement made by a country on becoming party to the Protocol must expressly specify how it would be an express reservation to the general rule abolishing the death penalty.


          Based on the above considerations, the Commission, under the authority given it by Article 77 of the American Convention on Human Rights, proposes to the States parties to the American Convention on Human Rights meeting on the occasion of the OAS General Assembly, the following draft additional protocol to the Convention:


         Article 1


         The States Parties to this Protocol shall not impose the death penalty on any person under their jurisdiction. Accordingly, no one may be punished by the death penalty nor executed.


          Article 2


         1. Reservations may not be made to this Protocol except for the sole purpose of excluding from application of the Protocol especially severe military offenses that were committed during a foreign war.


         2. A State making the reservation authorized by the previous paragraph may, at the time of deposition of its instrument of ratification or adhesion, inform the Secretary General of the Organization of American States as to what military offenses are subject to the death penalty under that country’s domestic law.


         Article 3


         1. This Protocol shall be open to the signature and to the ratification or adhesion of any State Party to the American Convention on Human Rights.


         2. Ratification of this Protocol or adhesion to it shall be made through deposit of an instrument of ratification or adhesion at the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.




          The second proposal that the Commission would like to make to the governments of member countries that will meet at the seventeenth regular session of the General Assembly is that they consider the possibility of adopting an Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, to prevent and punish that abominable practice.


          The Commission can say on the basis of experience in recent years that the policy on disappearances has become an important instrument for repression and physical suppression of dissidents in many Latin American countries, so this requires the adoption of special measures both nationally and internationally to eliminate that policy for good.


          Several military dictators have used this method in recent years, especially starting in the seventies, although it is important to stress that disappearances have occurred even under some legitimate governments. The number of victims of this practice is almost impossible to determine for certain, but, in any case, it amounts to several tens of thousands. Because of the nature of this practice, the victims are not only the persons that have disappeared, but also their parents, spouses, children and other family members, who are placed in a situation of uncertainty and anguish that goes on for many years. For the same reason, disappearances open deep wounds in the social fabric of the country’s community, which affects political, social and professional circles and ruptures the country’s basic institutions.


          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been dealing extensively with this problem, and in its reports on the status of human rights in various countries, and its annual reports to the OAS General Assembly, it has repeatedly raised the topic of disappeared detainees.


          In those reports, the Commission has expressed its view on this very serious violation of human rights. Thus, it has pointed out that in many cases in the various countries the government systematically denies the detention of persons, despite convincing proof from complainants to support their allegations that such persons have been deprived of their liberty by police or military authorities, and in some cases, that these persons are or have been held at particular detention facilities.4


          The Commission has added that this practice is cruel and inhumane, and that, as experience shows, disappearance not only constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but also a very severe threat to the personal integrity, security, and the very life of the victim. In the Commission’s view, disappearance seems to be a method used to avoid enforcing legal provisions established to defend individual freedom, physical integrity, the dignity and the very life of the person. The Commission has pointed out that this procedure in practice makes inoperative legal rules enacted in some countries to avoid unlawful detention and the use of physical and psychological coercion against detainees.5


          The Commission has also indicated on a number of occasions the need to investigate the fate of disappeared detainees and report to their families on the status of those persons. In addition, it has recommended that central detention registries be established, that detentions be carried out only by duly identified competent authorities, and that detainees be held only in places intended for that purpose.6


          The OAS General Assembly has in a number of resolutions7 stressed the need for all countries where forced disappearances have occurred to put an end to that practice immediately, and has urged the governments to make the necessary efforts to determine the status of those persons. Also, endorsing a proposal of the Commission, the OAS General Assembly has declared that the forced disappearance of persons constitutes a crime against humanity.8


          Similarly, the United Nations General Assembly has dealt repeatedly with this topic: in a resolution passed without vote on December 20, 1978,9 urged the Human Rights Commission to consider the topic and make recommendations on it. Later, the Human Rights Commission set up a working group on forced or involuntary disappearances, whose mandate has been extended and is still in force. The United Nations has returned to the topic of forced disappearances in resolutions passed by the last two General Assemblies.10 The Human Rights Commission and the Economic and Social Council have expanded the working group’s mandate to make it more effective. In recent years, the working group has made onsite observations and has published numerous reports on disappearances in a number of countries.


          Although as a result of the efforts of family members and influential sectors in the country, as well as efforts by international human rights organizations, the forced disappearance of persons has declined considerably, this horrible practice still has not ceased and continues to occur in some countries of the Hemisphere. Even in those countries where the practice has ended, the new democratic governments have faced serious problems in endeavoring to do justice and accede to the demands of the family members. All of this explains the efforts of the international community to promote the development of international law and mechanisms for the protection of human rights, in order to adapt them to this new and perverse phenomenon.


          In that regard, an Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish the Forced Disappearance of Persons would, in the Commission’s view, make a decisive contribution to the international protection of human rights.


          The Commission will not propose at this time the text of a draft convention on this important topic. It considers that before submitting a detailed draft of articles, the governments of the member States should make known their political will in order to promote this initiative.


          For these reasons, the Commission will confine itself at this time to submitting some very general concepts on the topics and subjects that should be included in the planned convention if the General Assembly should decide, as the Commission hopes, to endorse that initiative.


          In the Commission’s opinion, the convention should stress, either in its preamble or in its first article, that its purpose is to prevent and punish the practice of forced disappearances.


          The Convention, which must necessarily include the concept of forced disappearance, should describe that practice. In this regard, it should be recalled that the Commission, in previous reports and resolutions, has had occasion to go more deeply into the status of disappeared detainees, and has described them as persons who have been apprehended by armed personnel (sometimes uniformed, who usually have stated that they belonged to some kind of public authority), in significant and coincident operations both in the manner of deployment and in the form of execution, and that after detention, those persons have disappeared, without any report whatever of their whereabouts. In other words, forced or involuntary disappearance can be defined as the detention of a person by agents of the State or with the acquiescence of the State, without the order of a competent authority, where the detention is denied, without there being any information available on the destination or whereabouts of the detainee.


          According to the above viewpoint, forced disappearance of persons should be differentiated from other human rights violations, and from other situations in which the whereabouts of a person is unknown.


          For there to be a forced disappearance of a person, there must first have been an arbitrary arrest. The arrest of the person, although usually done in secret, is carried out by government agents, either uniformed or in civilian clothing, who are members of police organizations or the armed forces, or paramilitary forces acting under the operational control of the police or armed forces. This is important because such disappearances do not include kidnapping of a person by common criminals, for example, for ransom. In some cases, the perpetrators are members of paramilitary or parapolice groups. The seriousness of this type of crime is that the perpetrators enjoy immunity, because they have the tolerance or the protection of government agencies. In these cases, the perpetrators act, for all legal purposes, as agents of the State, in view of the acquiescence of the government.


          The initial arrest is also arbitrary, not only because it does not satisfy the minimum legal requirements for effecting an arrest (those requirements are, of course, a legal order stating the grounds for it, or apprehension in the act, or in cases of suspension of guarantees, an administrative order reasonably based on the causes of the state of emergency); but also because the real reason for the arrest is political persecution and not investigation or prevention of crimes.


          In addition, to qualify as a case of a forced disappearance, it is important to note that the confinement of the victim is denied by the authorities. The disappearance of the detainee occurs when the security forces deliberately refuse information to family members about his whereabouts and when they state positively that he is not being held. This is important because in some situations there may have been delays in establishing the whereabouts of a detainee, while the authorities are trying to locate him. In any case, this factor involves a conscious and deliberate attitude of denying a detention that is known to have taken place, in order to evade responsibility for the arrest, and for the physical integrity and life of the detainee. Sometimes, this deliberate attitude continues only for a time, and then the person “reappears,” almost always having been officially detained. These situations may be described as “temporary disappearances” instead of “permanent disappearances.”


          Finally, an important characteristic of the phenomenon of disappearances is that the ultimate fate of the victims is execution and concealment of the body. The Commission’s experience shows that a number of methods have been used to do away with the detainee-disappeared person, although the most common one is execution with a fire arm, often with several persons taking part. Similarly, various methods are used to dispose of the remains: clandestine burial; graves marked with “N.N.” (no name) in cemeteries; sinking the victims to the bottoms of lakes or rivers, or dumping them into the sea from airplanes and helicopters, etc. In all cases, the purpose is to avoid having the remains found, or if they are found, to make it impossible to identify them positively. This aspect differentiates forced disappearance of persons from another equally tragic form of human rights violation, extrajudicial execution.


          Until the whereabouts of the victim or the circumstances of his death can be determined, he must be considered to be a “disappeared-detainee,” even when his death may be presumed because of the length of time that has elapsed or because of the similarity with other cases of the same kind in the country. The consequences of making this distinction are important because in the case of an extrajudicial execution, the government admitting that such an act has occurred, has the obligation to identify the perpetrators and try them for homicide. In the case of forced disappearance, the government should have the obligation to determine the whereabouts and fate of the detainee and inform his family, and if its is determined that the detainee has died, the government will also have the obligation to try and punish those who planned and perpetrated the crime. In the Commission’s view, that obligation should be expressly stipulated in the proposed Convention.


          The foregoing shows that the basic characteristic of forced disappearance of person is that each individual case is part of a deliberate and conscious policy adopted by the government at some level of authority having the capacity not only to give this kind of order and have it carried out, but also to ensure the impunity of those who are to implement it. The definition must not, therefore, include isolated cases where the whereabouts of a detainee is unknown, particularly if it can be shown that the government involved has made efforts to investigate the case and inform family members of it and punish officials responsible for the situation.


          Although forced disappearance implies a flagrant violation of basic rights and freedoms guaranteed internationally, such as the right to personal liberty and security (Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights); The right not to be arbitrarily arrested (idem); the right to a fair trial in criminal cases (Article 8 of the Convention and concordant articles); the right to humane treatment in detention and the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 5) and in general, the right to life (Article 4), it will be important for the Convention drafted to define forced disappearance of persons as a specific and separate crime.


          This offense, because of its extreme gravity and cruelty, should be regarded as a crime against humanity, as the OAS General Assembly resolutions cited have described it. The Commission is not unaware of the fact that describing the offense as a crime against humanity may cause some difficulties; but the Commission is convinced that without such a definition, a convention such as the one proposed would be without meaning and effectiveness. The Commission considers that the importance of defining forced disappearance as a crime against humanity lies in the effects that that label would have, particularly with regard to the failure to outlaw the crime and universal jurisdiction for prosecuting and punishing it. That scope should be expressly set forth in detail in the convention.


          Another basic aspect to which the convention should refer is the common nature that this crime should have. That is important to establish in order to permit extradition of those responsible, without their being able to argue that political motives or reasons justify their participation in the commission of such a horrendous crime.


          For that very reason, it appears desirable not to include in the planned convention a clause like Article 15 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. In the Commission’s judgment, leaving it up to the choice of the country granting asylum the definition of the nature of the crime committed by the person responsible for a forced disappearance would represent a major step backward in international protection of human rights.


          Along with establishing that forced disappearances are crimes against humanity and regulating the international effects to which such a definition leads, it is also important for the proposed convention to provide for the States that become parties to it the obligation to include in their criminal laws the offense of forced disappearance, which should be repressed in accordance with its extreme gravity.


          Likewise, the convention should establish the obligation of the State in whose territory forced disappearances have occurred to punish participation in all of its degrees—perpetrator, accomplice and accessory—in this horrible crime, and should expressly stipulate that the accused cannot plea error, duress, states of necessity or due obedience as grounds for exemption from criminal liability.


          It would also appear desirable to include in the proposed convention a provision similar to Article 5 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, stating that the existence of such circumstances as a state or threat of war, a state of emergency, the suspension of individual guarantees, internal political instability or other public emergencies or disasters may not be invoked or admitted as justification for a forced disappearance.


          In the Commission’s view, if the drafting of a convention on forced disappearance of persons is accepted, the convention should not be limited solely to describing this practice, punishing it or regulating its effects. It is just as important, in view of the experience with what has happened in several Latin American countries, to establish legal provisions to prevent the practice of forced disappearances. To that end, the convention could include a rule stating the obligation of any State party to the convention to take legislative, administrative and jurisdictional measures to prevent forced disappearances of persons in its territory.


          Within that umbrella obligation, it would be desirable to make a specific reference to some of the preventive measures that the States would undertake to adopt to prevent forced disappearances from taking place, several of which have been recommended previously by the Commission. Thus, it would be very important to establish the prohibition of maintaining secret detention facilities; to provide that arrests may only be made by competent authorities who have the obligation to include a reference to the need for the States to bring their detention systems in line with commonly accepted international norms that are included in the United Nations “standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners”; to stipulate the obligation of the States to keep an up-to-date central record of al detention facilities, with a list of all persons deprived of liberty for any reason, and to notify family members when an arrest occurs. Likewise, it would be important, as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights indicated this year in Advisory Opinion Nº 8 to include a provision reiterating that the habeas corpus remedy may not be suspended under any circumstances, not even under a state of emergency.


          In addition, the convention should include a provision that stipulates the obligation of the State to act promptly and effectively in cases where there are sufficient grounds to assume that a forced disappearance may have occurred. On that assumption, the Commission feels that the Convention should establish the obligation of the State to proceed promptly to investigate such complaints, and without prejudice to whatever role the executive and administrative authorities and the competent courts should play in that case, either ex-officio or at the request of one of the parties, they should initiate an expeditious procedure to ensure the life, personal security and freedom of the victim, and to that end, the courts should be given all of the powers necessary, including the power to sit in any place, even if that place is subject to military jurisdiction.


          The Commission feels that the above considerations are sufficient to show the desirability of drafting an instrument that would effectively deal with this horrible practice of forced disappearances. If this proposal is accepted, the Commission, after receiving any comments and observations that the governments of the member States might make, will continue to study this important topic and, in the light of those comments and observations, would be in a position to propose to the next session of the General Assembly a draft Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Forced Disappearances.




          Based on the above information and considerations, the Commission requests the OAS General Assembly to adopt the following decisions at its seventeenth regular session:


          1.          That the draft Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights on the abolition of the death penalty be transmitted to the governments of the member States to that Convention, for them to make any comments and observations they wish, and submit them to the Permanent Council so that it may in turn make any comments it deems desirable in order to enable the member States to the American Convention on Human Rights to adopt an Additional Protocol to that Convention on the abolition of the death penalty, when the eighteenth session of the General Assembly meets.


          2.          That the governments of member States be asked to make comments and observations on the Commission’s proposal to draft an inter-American convention to prevent and punish forced disappearances, and on the possible contents of that convention; these comments should reach the Commission in time for it to be able to submit to the next General Assembly session a draft Convention on Forced Disappearances of Persons.



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1            See, for example, the annual reports of the IACHR of 1980-1981, page 112; and 1982-83, page 10.

2            See, for example, the resolution adopted at its 63rd session on October 5, 1984. (Annual Report of the IACHR 1984-85, page 11).

3            See, for example, Nigel Rodley, The Treatment of Prisoners under International Law; Atle Grahl-Madsen, The Death Penalty – The Moral, Ethical, and Human Rights Dimensions: The Human Rights Perspective; Tony Mifsud, S.J., “Juicio a la Pena de Muerte, Revista Mensaje, Nº 381, August of 1987 and Morris, “Capital Punishment Developments 1961-1965,” United Nations, 1967.

4            Annual Report of the IACHR, 1978, page 28.

5            Annual Report of the IACHR, 1976, page 16.

6            Annual Reports of the IACHR 1980-1981, page 119, and 1981-82, page 133.

7            See especially resolutions 443 (IX-0/79); 510 (X-0/80); 543 (XI-0/81); 618 (XII-0/82); 666 (XIII-0/83); and 742 (XIV-0/84).

8            OAS General Assembly Resolutions 666 (XIII-0/83) and 742 (XIV-0/84).

9            A/RES. 33/173.

10            Resolution 40/147 of December 13, 1985, and Resolution 41/145, of December 4, 1986.