REPORT N° 3/92
The complaint received by the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights, dated May 4, 1987, to the effect that:
2. Through a note dated May 7, 1987, the Commission began its processing of this case and requested the Government of El Salvador to supply information relevant to the facts reported in that communication and any other information that would make it possible to establish whether in the instant case the remedies under domestic law had been exhausted; the Government was told that it had 90 days in which to reply.
On July 11, 1988, the Commission again requested that information
from the Government of El Salvador.
In November 1988, the Government of El Salvador replied,
On May 3, 1989, the petitioner sent additional information and
observations on the Government's response, which in turn were forwarded
to the authorities in El Salvador on May 15, 1989.
The pertinent parts of the information supplied by the petitioner
reads as follows:
In notes dated February 12 and March 22, 1990, the Commission
asked the Government of El Salvador to forward its observations and
information on the status of the investigations into the instant case.
The Government of El Salvador, through its Human Rights
Commission, replied in a note dated May 7, 1990, reporting that:
At its 79th session, the Commission adopted Report N°
12/91, which was dispatched to the Government of El Salvador so that it
might formulate whatever observations its deemed appropriate, within
three months of the date of dispatch. The report indicated that if the
case was not settled by the Government, or submitted by it to the Court,
the Commission would decide whether to publish the report.
That the Commission is competent to hear the instant case
inasmuch as it concerns violations of rights recognized in the American
Convention on Human Rights--Article 4 on the right to life,
Article 7 on the right to personal liberty, and Article 25 on the right
to judicial protection--as provided in Article 44 of that
Convention, of which El Salvador is a State Party.
That the petition satisfies the formal requirements for
admissibility set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights and
in the Commission's Regulations.
That in the instant case, the petitioner has not been able to
secure effective protection from the organs having jurisdiction, which
is obvious from both the negative results of the criminal proceedings
currently in progress and from the petition
of habeas corpus filed with the Supreme Court of Justice of El
Salvador on May 5, 1987, which has elicited no response from the
authorities. As a result,
the requirements as regards exhaustion of the remedies under domestic
law, contained in Article 46 of the Convention, do not apply.
That the petition is not pending processing in any other
international arrangement, and is not a copy of a previous petition that
the Commission has already examined.
That the notes that the Government of El Salvador sent by way of
reply do not furnish any satisfactory information regarding the status
of the investigations nor do they disprove the petitioner's assertions.
According to the text of the note sent to the IACHR by the
(government) Human Rights Commission in November 1988, which consists of
a description of the victim and of the events denounced, that
institution "made inquiries, but thus far has been unable to locate
him." This response, sent when Mr. Castro Alvarenga had been
missing for more than a year, together with the response sent on May 7,
1990, merely corroborates the situation alleged by the petitioner and
the fact that the investigations have produced no results.
That the petitioner, in his observations on the Government's
reply, dated May 3, 1989, stated that "someone said that they saw
him at the National Police Headquarters; his arm was bandaged, his face
bruised, and he was dressed in the uniform of the National Police;"
the Government of El Salvador has neither disputed nor refuted this
version; the fact that the Government ignores these assertions
constitutes serious evidence against it.
That the way in which the arrest was made, by heavily armed men
in civilian dress, in a pick-up truck with no license plates, is a
common practice used by the Armed Forces to conceal their criminal
activities and to avoid identification as authors of acts deliberately
calculated to violate the victims' human rights.
That the Commission has repeatedly asserted its categorical
rejection of the grave phenomenon of the forced disappearance of
persons, stating in various documents that:
this procedure is cruel and inhuman and disappearance not only
constitutes an arbitrary privation of freedom but also a very grave
threat to the victim's personal integrity, safety and even life itself.
That for its part, the General Assembly of the Organization of
American States underscored the need for the countries where forced
disappearances have occurred to put an immediate end to this practice,
and has urged the governments to make the necessary efforts to ascertain
the situation of these people. The
General Assembly has also declared that the forced disappearance of
persons in America is a crime against humanity.
That the Inter-American Court of Human rights, in a
judgment of July 29, 1988, in the Velasquez Rodriguez case, stated the
practice of disappearances, in addition to directly violating many
provisions of the Convention (...) constitutes a radical breach of the
treaty in that it shows a crass abandonment of the values which emanate
from the concept of human dignity and of the most basic principles of
the inter-American system and the Convention.
That, since the friendly settlement procedure provided for in
Article 48.1.f. of the American Convention does not apply because of the
very nature of the acts denounced, the Commission must comply with the
provisions of Article 50.1 of the Convention by issuing its conclusions
and recommendations on the complaint filed with it for consideration.
That the Government of El Salvador has not submitted observations
on Report N°
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To declare that the Government of El Salvador is responsible for
the violation of the right to life, the right to personal liberty and
the right to judicial protection (articles 4, 7, and 25 of the
Convention) of Mr. Pedro Jose Castro Alvarenga, who disappeared on April
25, 1987, when he was taken by heavily armed men in civilian dress, from
his home in San Salvador, according to the complaint received at the
Commission on May 4, 1987.
To declare that the Government of El Salvador has failed to
comply with its obligations to respect the human rights and fundamental
guarantees, obligations incumbent upon it under Article 1 of the
American Convention on Human Rights.
Pursuant to Article 3.3 of the Convention and Article 47 of the
Regulations of the Commission, to make the following recommendations to
the Government of El Salvador:
a. That it conduct an exhaustive, rapid and impartial investigation into the facts denounced, so as to identify those responsible and bring them to trial so that they may receive the punishments that such grave conduct warrants.
That it adopt the necessary measures to avoid the commission of
similar crimes hereinafter.
That it make reparations for the consequences of the situation
created by the violation of the aforementioned rights and pay the
injured parties a fair compensation.
Request the Government of El Salvador to inform the Commission
regarding the measures it is adopting in the present case, in accordance
with the recommendations formulated in paragraph 3 of the operative part
of this report.
Publish this report by including it in the Annual Report to be
presented to the General Assembly, in accordance with Article 48 of the
Regulations of the Commission; since the Government of El Salvador did
not inform the Commission of the measures it has taken to remedy the
situation, within the period prescribed in Report N°
Annual Report 1978, 1980-81, 1982-83, 1985-86,
Res. 443 (IX-0/79), AG/RES. 510 (X-0/80), AG/RES. 543
(XI-0/81), AG/RES. 618 (XII-0/82), AG/RES. 666
(XIII-0/83), and AG/RES. 742 (XIV-0/84).
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Velasquez Rodriguez
Case, Judgment of July 29, 1988, Series C, No. 4, paragraph 158.