REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION
OF THE IACHR
In the period covered by the present report, from September 1988 to
September 1989, the Commission carried out the following activities:
Since September 1988 the IACHR has held two sessions, the 74th
and 75th, which took place from 5 to 16 September 1988 and from 3 to
14 April 1989, respectively.
The Commission approved the Annual Report, which it submitted to the
eighteenth regular session of the OAS General Assembly. In particular, that
report discussed developments in the observance of human rights over the last
twelve months in Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay and
The Commission focused particularly on human rights in Haiti and, in
compliance with instructions from the Permanent Council, approved a report on
the status of human rights in that country.
In this session the Commission also continued its study of the status of
human rights in Nicaragua, and especially the situation of persons deprived of
their liberty in consequence of circumstances of a political nature. The
Commission made it plain that the situation of those people was one of its prime
concerns, and that it expected to continue working with the Government of
Nicaragua to solve the problems in that area in the framework of the American
Convention on Human Rights, the international instrument from which the
obligations of Nicaragua derive and under which the Commission operates.
The Commission examined the judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights of 29 July pronouncing the Government of Honduras responsible for the
forced disappearance of Angel Manfredo Velásquez Rodríguez. The Commission
wrote to the Government of Honduras and, in compliance with paragraph six of
that judgment, invited it to enter into negotiations for the establishment of an
indemnification for the Velásquez Rodríguez family.
In accordance with the appropriate provisions of the American Convention
on Human Rights and its Statute and Rules of Procedure, the Commission also
considered several petitions presenting complaints of alleged violations of
human rights, and adopted resolutions on some of them. Also, as is customary in
its sessions, it granted hearings to persons and representatives of institutions
and organizations that had requested them in advance.
The Commission elected the following new officers: Oliver Jackman,
Chairman; Elsa Kelly, first vice Chairman; and Leo Valladares Lanza, second vice
The Commission took receipt of the information supplied by the Special
Commission that went to Panama last March. Because of the importance of the
facts investigated at that time, the Commission decided to issue a press
release, and did so on April 11, 1989.
The Commission also thoroughly examined several matters connected with
the recent pardon of persons who had been convicted by the Special Justice
Tribunals in Nicaragua. Since the Commission had had a hand in the review of
those cases and its name was then invoked in the Declaration of Central American
Presidents of February 14, 1989, in which the Government of Nicaragua undertook
to “release prisoners on the basis of the classification made by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” the Commission stated at that time
that the report of May 11, 1988, drawn up by it on the mission generated by the
Sapoá Agreements, contained recommendations which constituted a unified whole
with a specific purpose: to serve as a basis for application of the amnesty
envisaged in those Agreements and to offer alternatives for dealing with special
The Commission indicated at that time that its recommendations had not
been carried out and asked the Government of Nicaragua for the rapid release of
39 prisoners who were not included in the Pardon. Chapter V of this report deals
with this topic extensively.
The Commission took note of the consent of the Government of Peru and
accordingly planned its on-site visit to that country.
The Commission also had the pleasure of meeting with the Judges of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and considered with those judges a variety
of matters of mutual interest which will further strengthen the bonds of
cooperation between the two bodies forged in the Pact of San José for the
protection of human rights in the hemisphere.
In keeping with the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights
and its Statute and Rules of Procedure, the Commission considered several
petitions denouncing violations of human rights, and took decisions on some of
them. In addition, as is customary in its session, it gave hearings to persons
and representatives of institutions and organizations that had so requested
EIGHTEENTH REGULAR SESSION OF
THE OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The eighteenth regular session of the General Assembly was held in San
Salvador from November 14 to 19, 1988, and was attended on behalf of the
Commission by its Chairman, Dr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, accompanied by the
Executive Secretary, Dr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño.
At San Salvador important resolutions were approved adopting an
Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of
economic, social and cultural rights, which was named the “Protocol of San
Salvador”; concerning an Additional Protocol to the American Convention on
Human Rights to abolish the death penalty; and on the Inter-American Commission
of Human Rights, and others in the area of human rights. The last of the
resolutions cited is important enough to be reproduced verbatim:
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN
ON HUMAN RIGHTS
adopted at the thirteenth plenary session,
on November 19, 1988)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
HAVING SEEN the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (AG/doc.2292/88) and the Special Report on the situation of Human Rights
in Haiti (AG/doc.2294/88), and
That in the Charter of the Organization of American States, the member
states have declared that respect for the fundamental rights of the individual,
without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex, is one of the
principles of the Organization;
That the principal purpose of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights is to promote the observance and defense of human rights, a noble mission
in which all the states of the region and the organs and bodies of the
inter-American system should cooperate;
That the democratic system is essential to the establishment of a
political society wherein human rights can be fully realized;
That in its Annual Report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
has underscored that certain countries have given positive signs; the return to
representative democracy in several states as well as the measures adopted in
certain countries contribute significantly to observance of the rights set forth
in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and in the American
Convention on Human Rights;
That despite the foregoing, the Annual Report of the Commission points
out that serious violations of basic rights and freedoms persist in certain
countries, especially because of the lack or inadequacy of measures being
adopted by the government of those countries with regard to reestablishing a
representative democratic form of government;
That finally, the Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
has made specific reference to the dramatic situation concerning children who
have disappeared with their parents or who were born during the captivity of
their mothers and are still in the hands of their captors;
That in its Annual Report the Commission has stated that the use of the
subject of human rights as an instrument of political struggle constitutes an
utter distortion of the international legal system on human rights and an
obstacle to the effective enforcement and promotion of human rights;
That the effective defense and promotion of human rights depends on such
work being carried out with the necessary objectivity, so as to prevent the
subject of human rights from being used as an instrument of political and
ideological confrontation, and
That, without prejudice to the detailed examination of the various
activities carried out activities carried out each year by the Commission in the
exercise of the powers conferred by the various inter-American instruments,
special attention should be given at the annual session of the General Assembly
to situations of serious, massive, or systematic violations of human rights.
1. To note, with interest, the
Annual Report and the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, and to express appreciation and congratulations for the serious work it
is doing in the area of the protection and promotion of human rights.
2. To strongly urge the governments
to embrace the corresponding recommendations of the Commission, in accordance
with their constitutional precepts and domestic laws, in order to guarantee
faithful observance of the human rights set forth in the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man and the American Convention on Human Rights.
3. To express its concern over the
persistence of serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in several
countries of the region, particularly in those cases that infringe upon the full
effect of the civil and political rights recognized in the American Declaration
of the Rights and Duties of Man and in the American Convention on Human Rights.
4. To emphatically reject the
practice of forced disappearances, as it constitutes a crime against humanity,
and the use of torture as an abhorrent practice that violates the very nature of
the human being.
5. To take note of the comments and
observations made by the governments of the member states and of the information
on the measures they have adopted and will continue to implement in order to
strengthen human rights in their countries.
6. To note with satisfaction the
decision of the governments of the member states that have invited the
Commission to visit their respective countries, and to urge the governments of
states that have not yet agreed to or have not yet set a date for such visits to
do so as soon as possible.
7. To reiterate to those governments
that have not yet reinstated the representative democratic form of government
the urgent need to implement the pertinent irreversible institutional machinery
to restore such a system in the shortest possible time, through free and open
elections held by secret ballot, since democracy is the best guarantee for the
full exercise of human rights and is the firm foundation of solidarity among the
states of the hemisphere.
8. To recommend to the governments
of the member states that they grant the necessary guarantees and facilities to
nongovernmental human rights organizations so that they may continue to
contribute to the promotion and defense of human rights, and that said
governments respect the freedom and security of the leaders of such
9. To recommend to the member states
that are not parties to the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights, Pact of
San José, Costa Rica, that they ratify or accede to that instrument; in the
case of those states that do not recognize the competence of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights to receive and examine international communications
pursuant to Article 45(3) of the Convention or that do not accept the compulsory
jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in accordance with
Article 62(2) of the aforementioned Convention, that they do so.
10. To encourage the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights in its ongoing efforts in the defense of human rights
in the region, for which purpose it has the unequivocal support of the
democratic governments of the Organization.
11. To note with satisfaction the
study presented by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the
situation of the minor children of disappeared persons who were separated from
their parents and who are now being claimed by members of their legitimate
families, to endorse the conclusions and recommendations contained in that
study, and to transmit it to the governments of the member states, urging them
to carry out the recommendations made by the Commission, where applicable.
12. To transmit the draft
Inter-American Convention on the forced disappearance of persons, prepared by
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the governments of the OAS
member states, so that they might submit their observations and comments to the
Permanent Council prior to June 30, 1989, and so that the Permanent Council,
having taken account of those observations and comments and any other
information deemed relevant, might report on the matter to the General Assembly
at its nineteenth regular session.
13. To urge the states parties to
the Pact of San José, Costa Rica, to sign and ratify as soon as possible the
Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in respect of
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights “Protocol of San Salvador.”
ON-SITE OBSERVATIONS AND VISITS
MADE BY THE COMMISSION
a. Visit to Suriname
A Special Commission of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was
in the Republic of Suriname from 13 to 16 September 1988. It was chaired by
Ambassador Oliver Jackman, assisted by the Assistant Executive Secretary, Dr.
David Padilla, Prof. Claudio Grossman, who acted as interpreter, and Mrs. Nora
Anderson as secretary. This was the fourth on-site observation visit paid by the
Commission to Suriname since 1983 in the performance of its functions under
Article 20 of its Statute.
The Special Commission was received by the President of the Republic, Mr.
Ramsewak Shankar, who was accompanied by Vice President Mr. Henck Arron. The
Commission also called on the President of the National Assembly, Mr. J. Lachmon,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Eddie Sedoc, Minister of Justice Mrs. E.
Alexander-Vanenburg, the Acting Attorney General Mr. P. Sjak Shie, and the
Acting President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Judge Panday.
The Special Commission expressed to the authorities of the Republic of
Suriname its satisfaction that the democratically elected government took office
in January 1988. The Special Commission was particularly gratified by the
Suriname Government's ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights
and the American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and its formal
acceptance of the obligatory jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human
In its meetings with the authorities of the Suriname Government the
Special Commission reiterated that this visit was a follow-up to earlier ones,
and was concerned chiefly with ten cases of human rights violations presented
before the democratic Government took office. In all these cases the Commission
asked the Government of Suriname for information on which to decide whether
those violations had actually been committed.
In addition to its meetings with authorities, the Commission interviewed
several witnesses of alleged violations of human rights in order to take down
their testimony and bring to the attention of the Government the need for a
prompt and extensive investigation of these facts.
On site observation in Panama
From February 27 to March 3 this year on-site monitoring was carried out
in Panama. The delegation was headed by the Chairman of the IACHR, Dr. Marco
Tulio Bruni Celli, and its other members were Ambassador Oliver Jackman and Dr.
Leo Valladares. Other members of the mission were Drs. David Padilla, José
Vivanco, Bertha Santoscoy, and Miss Gloria Sakamoto, of the Executive
During its visit the Special Commission had interviews with the following
government authorities: the President of the Republic, Dr. Manuel Solis Palma;
the Comander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega; the
Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Jorge Eduardo Ritter, and of Government and
Justice, Dr. Rodolfo Chiari de León; the Presidents of the Supreme Court, Dr.
Marisol R. de Vásquez; and Electoral Tribunal, Dr. Yolanda Pulice de Rodríguez;
the Attorney General of the Nation, Dr. Carlos Villaláz; and the President, Dr.
Celso Carrizo, and members of the Legislative Assembly. It also met with
representatives of different sectors of Panamanian society: human rights groups,
political parties, communications media, the Catholic Church, business, trade
union, professional and humanitarian organizations, and social clubs.
During its stay in Panama the Commission was able to visit some prisons:
the Model Jail, Coiba Island Penitentiary, the David jail, the Women's
Rehabilitation Center, and Ward 31 of the Santo Tomás Hospital, where a number
of convicts were undergoing medical treatment.
The Special Commission received many complaints of human rights
violations such as cases of torture, mistreatment, harassment, and illegal
detention, procedural delays, ineffectiveness of the writ of habeas corpus,
prolonged holding of prisoners incommunicado, and arbitrary seizure of the
private property of business and professional societies. These complaints were
transmitted to representatives of the Government; individual dossiers will be
opened on each of them and the cases followed up.
In its press release the Special Commission stated that it was essential
to guarantee the impartial functioning of electoral bodies, on which it was
necessary that the different trends and organizations participating in the
political process in Panama be represented; the compilation of untainted voter
registration records; equitable access to the communications media, and the
programming and implementation of measures to preserve the honesty of the
In the same spirit the Special Commission voiced to the government
authorities its concern at the closing down of several communications media,
such as the daily newspapers La Prensa, El Siglo, and Diario Extra, the weekly
Quiubo, television channel 5, and the Radio Mundial and Radio KW Continente
radio stations. The Commission argued the urgent need to reopen these news media
as quickly as possible to afford full expression to public opinion as an
essential requisite for the legitimacy of the electoral process.
On site observation in Peru
At the invitation of the Government of Peru a Special Commission of the
IACHR visited that country from May 8 to 12, 1989. The Commission was headed by
Mrs. Elsa Kelly, firs vice Chairman of the IACHR and its other members were Mr.
John Stevenson, member of the IACHR; Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño, Executive
Secretary; Ms. Christina Cerna and Mr. Luis Jiménez, attorneys of the
Secretariat; and Mrs. Gabriela Hageman and Mrs. Nora Anderson.
During its stay the Commission held talks in Lima with Dr. Romualdo
Biaggi Rodríguez, President of the Senate; Dr. Oscar Alfaro Alvarez, President
of the Supreme Court; Dr. Fernando Belaúnde Terry, ex-President of the
Republic; Drs. Guillermo Larco Cox and César Delgado, the Ministers of Foreign
Affairs and Justice; Drs. Javier Valle Riestra and Flavio Núñez Yzaga, the
Chairmen of the Human Rights Commissions of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies,
respectively, and several other parliamentarians; with General Artemio Palomino
Toledo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces; Dr. Manuel
Catacora González, Attorney General of the Republic; Monsignor Durán Flores,
Chairman of the Episcopal Conference; Mr. Alfonso Barrantes, ex-Mayor of Lima
and political leader; Dr. Jorge Campos Rey de Castro, Rector of San Marcos
University, and with representatives of various human rights organizations. It
also heard testimony from several persons in connection with specific cases and
visited the Canto Grande prison.
The Special Commission also went to Ayacucho, where it held meetings with
General Howard Rodríguez, Chief of the Ayacucho Political-Military Command; Dr.
Iván Enrique Tello Mondoñedo, the Chief Prosecutor; Dr. Gilberto Berrocal, the
Provincial Prosecutor; Dr. Alberto Morote Sánchez, Rector of San Cristóbal of
Huamanga National University; Mr. Guy Mellet, Chief of the Ayacucho
Subdelegation of the International Red Cross; the Deputy Mayor of Ayacucho, and
other civilian, military, ecclesiastic and university officers, and attorneys
and leaders of human rights organizations and other persons interested in the
status of those rights.
The Special Commission deemed it necessary on that occasion to release
certain preliminary observations to the Peruvian public. First, it said that the
experience of this visit had enabled it to reaffirm the importance for the
realization of human rights of maintaining and strengthening the democratic
government system. Because of this, it expressed profound concern about the
persistence as instruments for the settlement of social and political
controversies of terror and indiscriminate violence, which most certainly
threaten the consolidation of democracy and prevent economic development, two
requisites for the full enjoyment of human rights.
The Special Commission added that exacerbation of the conflict and of the
violent methods chosen for resolving it had created a worrisome situation that
affects rights as fundamental as the rights to life and to humane treatment. The
dynamic so unleashed threatens to gradually whittle away other rights. The
Special Commission said it saw an urgent need, in the measures taken to combat
subversion, to be mindful of the human rights of the population that might be
The Special Commission also felt it was imperative to put an end to the
activities of irregular groups; they are causing an escalation and spreading of
the violence, which is taking a dire toll of human lives, and eroding the
country's basic institutions. There is no circumstance in which either the
alleged struggle to overcome poverty and build a new state or the need to take
justice into one's own hands can justify recourse to selective assassination,
summary execution, the destruction of production plants, torture, forced
disappearance of persons, or the use of terror as an instrument of social
In its final press release the Special Commission expressed appreciation
to the Peruvian government and people for the facilities provided for the
conduct of its activities and the collaboration received during the visit.
ACTIVITIES OF THE IACHR IN CONNECTION WITH
of the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights in the case of the
of Saul Godínez Cruz
On January 20, 1989, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights pronounced
judgment in the case of the forced disappearance in Honduras of Saúl Godínez
Cruz. Previously, in July of last year, the Court had decided on the case of
The judgment in the Godínez Cruz case is relatively similar to the
Court's judgment in the earlier case of Manfredo Velásquez. In it, in addition
to rejecting the Honduran Government's preliminary motion for dismissal on the
ground that the complainant had not exhausted the required domestic remedies,
the Court declared unanimously that Honduras had violated the obligation to
respect and safeguard Saúl Godínez Cruz's rights to personal liberty, humane
treatment, and life, as recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights.
The Court decided, again unanimously, that Honduras was obligated to pay fair
compensation to the members of the victim's family, but, diverging from what it
had ruled on the compensation due to the family of Manfredo Velásquez, decided
that the form and amount of the compensation would be set by the Court in
execution of the judgment, and to that end left the procedure open.
Compensation to the families of Manfredo
Velásquez and Saúl Godínez
In its judgment in the case of Manfredo Velásquez the Court had directed
that, if the Government of Honduras and the Commission did not reach agreement
on the matter within six months after the date of the sentence, the form and
amount of the indemnity that the Government was obligated to pay to the members
of the victim's family would be set by the Court.
The Commission had the following exchanges with the Government of
Honduras for the execution of this judgment:
In a note of September 16, 1988, the Commission asked the Government of
Honduras to appoint its representatives for negotiations to determine the
indemnity due from that Government to the members of Manfredo Velásquez's
family. In that note the Commission proposed to the Government that the first
official meeting between the parties be held in the city of San Salvador, El
Salvador, on the occasion of the eighteenth regular session of the OAS General
Assembly, scheduled to take place from 14 to 18 November 1988.
To fulfill the judgment the Commission took steps with the Government of
Honduras which led to Presidential Decision Nº 1035 of November 21, 1988,
creating a Commission to represent its interests in the negotiations to be
carried out with the IACHR.
Having set up its Commission, the Government of Honduras invited the
IACHR's representatives to enter into the negotiations called for in operative
paragraph 6 of the judgment handed down by the Court. This invitation was
accepted, and on January 23, 1989, the representatives of the Government and the
Commission held a meeting to discuss implementation of that operative paragraph.
In that meeting the IACHR was represented by its vice Chairman, Mr. John
Stevenson, and Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño, Executive Secretary. The Government
of Honduras and the Commission agreed to recognize as sole beneficiaries of the
compensation established by the Court Manfredo Velásquez's wife, Mrs. Emma Guzmán
Urbina, and the issue of their marriage, Héctor Ricardo, Nadia Waleska and
Herling Lizzett, upon their fulfilling the requirements of Honduran law to
qualify as the heirs of Manfredo Velásquez.
No agreement could be reached on any other point, however, which did not,
in the Commission's view, detract from the importance of the meeting or of the
document signed, which clearly established the position of the Government of
Honduras and the Commission on the compensation issue. After reiterating “its
firm resolve to give full compliance to the judgment rendered by the illustrious
Inter-American Court of Human Rights in accordance with its terms,” the
Government stated that, in its view, the best way to comply with the obligation
imposed by the Court of paying fair compensation to the members of the victim's
family would be to give them the best treatment accorded under local law to
Honduran nationals in cases of accidental death. Meanwhile, the Commission,
recognizing the importance of the Honduran Government's offer as an element of
the fair compensation due from it to the members of the victim's family, stated
in the document that, in its view, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
should provide for the heirs a sum of money whose amount and form of payment
should be determined by the applicable provisions of Honduran legislation and
As previously noted, however, the Court has not taken the same approach
to the compensation payable by the Government of Honduras to the members of Saúl
Godínez's family. In this case the Court has decided that, after hearing the
interested parties, it will itself set the amount of the indemnity, for which it
leaves the procedure open, and the parties free to arrive in the interim at an
agreement of their own, which the Court reserves the right to approve on
To learn the views of the parties on the compensation that the Government
of Honduras must pay to the members of the families of Manfredo Velásquez and
Saúl Godínez, the Court held a hearing on March 15. The hearing was attended
by Mr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño, Executive Secretary of the Commission,
representing the Commission, and Dr. Claudio Grossman, adviser to the Commission
as the representative of the members of the victim's families.
The Court, on July 21, 1989, issued its judgment regarding the
compensation to be paid in both cases: Velásquez Rodríguez and Godínez
Cruz. In the first case, the Court unanimously decided that the Government
of Honduras was obliged to pay the family of Angel Manfredo Velásquez Rodríguez
750,000 Lempiras. The Court stipulated that 187,500 Lempiras should be paid to
his widow and 562,500 Lempiras to his children.1
In the second case, the Court decided that the Government of Honduras was
obliged to pay the family of Saul Godínez Cruz 650,000 Lempiras. The Court
stipulated that 162,500 Lempiras should be paid to his widow and 487,500
Lempiras to his children.
In both cases the Court indicated that it would supervise the payment of
the compensation stipulated and that only after the compensation was paid would
it file the case.
of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
in the cases of
On March 15, 1989, the Court rendered judgment in the case of the
disappearance of Francisco Fairén Garbi and Yolanda Solis Corrales, who in the
view of the Commission disappeared in Honduras en late 1981.
Unlike its finding in the previous two cases, in this case, the Court
concluded, it had not been proved that the disappearance of Francisco Fairén
Garbi and Yolanda Solis Corrales was attributable to Honduras, whose
responsibility, therefore, had not been established.
Advisory opinion requested by the IACHR
On January 31, 1989, the Commission asked the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights for an advisory opinion on the interpretation of Article 46 of the
American Convention on Human Rights, related to the admissibility of a complaint
when there has not been exhaustion of domestic remedies either because the
claimant is indigent or because lawyers refuse to represent clients for fear of
The Court held a public hearing on this request on July 12, 1989.
Ambassador Oliver Jackman, the Chairman of the IACHR, accompanied by Dr. David
Padilla, the Assistant Executive Secretary, attended this hearing for the
The Commission engaged in the following other activities during the
period covered by the present report:
Rómulo Gallegos Room
In response to a request by the Commission, the Secretary General
directed that the room currently occupied by the Commission's library be named
the “Rómulo Gallegos Room” in tribute to the illustrious Venezuelan
intellectual and statesman who was also the first Chairman of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights.
Accordingly, on September 16 the IACHR library was the scene of a brief
ceremony in which words were spoken by Secretary General Ambassador João
Clemente Baena Soares, Ambassador Edilberto Moreno, the Permanent Representative
of Venezuela to the OAS, and Dr. Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, Chairman of the IACHR.
Joint Meeting with the European Human
The second joint meeting of the European and Inter-American Human Rights
Commissions was held in Caracas on January 9, 10, and 11, 1989. Those in
attendance were: from the European Court of Human Rights, Messrs. C.A. Norgaard,
President; Sr. Trechsel, Second Vice President; E. Busuttil, A.S. Gözübüyük,
A. Weitzel, and L.F. Martínez Ruiz. From the IACHR attended its President, Mr.
Marco Tulio Bruni Celli; Mrs. Elsa Kelly, First Vice President; Mr. John
Stevenson, Second Vice President; and the members Mrs. Gilda M.C.M. de Russomano
and Messrs. Oliver Jackman, Leo Valladares Lanza and Patrick Robinson.
Several distinguished guests, including Ambassador Andrés Aguilar,
former President of the IACHR, and Ambassador Edith Márquez, Alternate
Representative of Venezuela to the Organization of American States, were also
In that meeting the members of the two regional commissions discussed the
common experiences they confronted in their respective efforts. In particular,
they were able to exchange views on the criteria that the two Commissions have
applied in the practice of their relations with the governments of the member
States of the OAS and the Council of Europe and with their respective regional
courts of human rights.
In the course of this meeting they also held interviews with the then
President of the Republic, Dr. Jaime Lusinchi, and with President-elect Carlos
Andrés Pérez, who would take office a few days thereafter, and with the
President of the Congress and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. All these
contacts and an important round table held with Venezuelan academics and
diplomats afforded an excellent opportunity to publicize the activities of the
Commission in leading circles of Venezuela.
Inauguration of the headquarters of the African
Commission on Human
The President of the IACHR, Ambassador Oliver Jackman, on June 12, 1989
attended the inauguration of the headquarters of the African Commission on Human
and Peoples' Rights which took place in Banjul, Gambia.
Ambassador Jackman was especially invited to this event, as were
representatives from the European Commission on Human Rights and from the United
Nations. On this historic occasion Ambassador Jackman gave a speech on the
activities and functions of the Inter-American Commission.
The IACHR is convinced that this first contact with the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights will permit it to strengthen the bonds
of coordination and cooperation with this new regional human rights organization
as it has, over the years, with the European Commission on Human Rights.
Publication of the Inter-American Yearbook
on Human Rights
The second issue of the Inter-American Yearbook on Human Rights, for
1986, was published during the period covered by this report. Like the first
one, this issue was prepared by the IACHR Secretariat and put out in a bilingual
edition by the Martinus Nijhoff publishing house.
This publication covered all the activities in the area of the protection
of human rights carried on by the entire Organization and in particular those of
the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights and the OAS General
Assembly in 1986.
of 30 years of the Inter-American Commission
On August 17, 1989 marked the 30th anniversary of the creation
of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which was created by the Fifth
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Santiago, Chile
in August 1959.
In order to commemorate this event, the Institute of International
Studies of the University of Chile and the Chilean Society of International Law,
with the sponsorship of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, organized
a Seminar in Santiago at which the President of the Commission, Ambassador
Oliver Jackman, the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Dr.
Hector Gros Espiell, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Edmundo
Vargas, as well as other distinguished Chilean specialists in international
human rights law, participated.
Messrs. Jackman, Gros, and Vargas, also met with the Chilean Council of
Lawyers, as well as with human rights organizations and other Chilean