REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION
REPORT N° 82/90
HAVING SEEN the background information on this case, as
1. The petition received by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on September 4, 1989, the pertinent parts of which are transcribed below:
This is to report the disappearance of the peasants Pedro Valenzuela
Tamayo and Manuel Mejia Cotrina, President and Treasurer, respectively, of the
peasant community of Huaripampa, located in the District of San Marcos,
Province of Huari, Department of Ancash.
The events took place as follows:
July 31 of this year, at 11:00 a.m., the above mentioned persons boarded a
truck named "Cholito Lindo," that was to take them to Catac, a
district in the Province of Recuay, Department of Ancash, to sell sheep
belonging to the community and find out about the complaint they had lodged
against the Mayor of the District of San Marcos, Glicerio Mauricio Rodriguez,
accusing him of misappropriating funds, embezzlement, and malfeasance.
stopping in the district of Chavin, Province of Huari, where there is a
detachment of the General Police of Peru (Sinchis) and in a nearby place known
as Machac, where according to witnesses the missing peasants helped to load
bags of barley, the truck reached Catac at about 5:00 p.m.
say that both persons reached Catac. However,
they neither kept the appointment to sell the sheep nor went to the office of
the Judge of Recuay (where the above-mentioned complaint is being
what neighbors of San Marcos and of the community of Huaripampa say, there is
considerable reason to blame the Mayor, Glicerio Mauricio Rodriguez, and the
police for the disappearance of the peasants.
Furthermore, the record shows a constant harassment of the peasants by
these authorities, who falsely denounced them for alleged terrorist
By note dated September 29, 1989, the Commission took up this complaint
and asked the Government of Peru for the relevant information, as well as any
information on whether domestic remedies had been exhausted in this case.
The Government of Peru was given 90 days to reply.
On March 7, 1990, the Commission reiterated its request to the
Government of Peru, mentioning that if the information was not received within
30 days the Commission would consider the possible application of Article 42
of its Regulations, according to which the facts set out in the application
could be presumed to be true if the Government concerned did no provide the
relevant information within the time frame set by the Commission.
On April 12, 1990, the Commission again asked the Government of Peru
for information concerning the disappearance of Pedro Valenzuela Tamayo and
Manuel Mejia Cotrina, on pain of applying Article 42 of the Regulations.
The Commission is competent to consider the present case inasmuch as it
deals with violations of the rights recognized in Article 4 of the
Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, regarding the right to life,
and Article 7, regarding the right to personal liberty, as provided for in
Article 44 of the Convention, of which Peru is a State Party.
The petition fulfills the formal requirements for admissibility
contained in the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and in the
Regulations of the Commission.
In the present case it is evident that the petitioner has not been
able to secure effective protection from jurisdictional
organizations, and therefore the requirements of exhaustion of remedies under
domestic law provided for in Article 46 of the Convention are not applicable.
The petition is not pending any other international settlement
procedures nor is it a reproduction of a previous petition already examined by
In spite of the time elapsed and the reiterated procedures undertaken
by the Commission, the Government of Peru has not provided a reply concerning
the facts involved in the present case.
By virtue of the fact that the Government of Peru has failed to reply
it has failed to fulfill its international obligation to provide information
to the Commission within a reasonable period of time, as established in
Article 48 of the Convention.
The Commission has repeatedly expressed, in various documents, its
clear-cut rejection of the serious phenomenon of forced disappearance of
persons in its reports on the situation of human rights, as follows:
... this procedure is cruel and inhuman, and disappearance not only
constitutes an arbitrary privation of freedom but also a very serious grave
danger for the personal integrity, safety and life of the victim.
The General Assembly of the OAS, in various resolutions, has stressed
the need for countries in which forced disappearances have taken place to put
an end to this practice, and it has urged governments to carry out whatever
efforts are required to ascertain the situation of such persons.
Furthermore, at the proposal of the Commission, the General Assembly of
the OAS has declared that the forced disappearance of persons in the Americas
constitutes a crime against humanity.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in its Judgment of July
29, 1988, in the Velasquez Rodriguez case, declared the following:
The practice of abductions, besides directly violating numerous
Articles of the Convention (...) entails a radical breech of that treaty,
inasmuch as it signals a crass abandonment of the values of human dignity and
the principles that lie at the heart of the Inter-American system and
the Convention itself.
Article 42 of the Regulations of the Commission provides as follows:
The 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
Since the friendly settlement procedure is inapplicable (Article 48 (1)
(f) of the Convention) because of the very nature of the actions complained of
and the absence of a reply from the Government, the Commission must comply
with Article 50 (1) of the American Convention and issue its findings and
recommendations on the application before it.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To presume true the events reported in the communication of September
4, 1989, concerning the arrest and subsequent disappearance of Pedro
Valenzuela Tamayo y Manuel Mejia Cotrina, by Peruvian forces, on July 31,
To declare that the Government of Peru has not complied with its
obligation to respect the human rights and guarantees mentioned in Article 1
of the American Convention on Human Rights.
To declare that such actions are violations of the right to life and
the right to freedom enshrined in Articles 4 and 7 of the Convention.
To make the following recommendations to the Government of Peru
(Article 50 (3) of the Convention and Article 47 of the Regulations of the
it conduct a full, swift, and impartial investigation of the events complained
of, with a view to identifying the persons responsible for them and bringing
them to justice, in order that they may be appropriately punished for such
it take the necessary steps to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
it repair the consequences of the above-mentioned breech of rights and
pay a fair compensation to the injured parties.
To convey this report to the Government of Peru, so that the latter
may, within three months of the date of transmittal, inform the Commission
about the steps taken to settle the matter.
In line with Article 50 of the Convention, the Government is not
authorized to publish this report.
6. If the Government does not settle the matter within the period of three months, the Commission may set forth its opinion and conclusions in accordance with Article 51.1 of the Convention and may include this report in its annual report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, as provided for in Article 63 (g) of the Regulations of the Commission.
Cf. Annual Report 1978,
1980-1981, 1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1986-1987.
 Cf. Res.
443 (IX-O/79), 510 (X-)/80), 543 (XI-O/81), 618
(XII-O/82), 666 (XIII-O/83), and 742 (XIV-O/84).
Cf. Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Velasquez Rodriguez case,
Judgment of July 29, 1988, Series C, No. 4, paragraph 158.