REPORT N° 11/92
The complaint received by the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights, dated October 27, 1988, to the following effect:
Manuel de Jesus Munguia Choto, 23 years of age, was wounded on June 11, 1988, by an individual by the name of Claudio Perez, who cut him on the head, arms and hands.
incident occurred at a dance in Las Moritas, in the Colon jurisdiction
of the Department of La Libertad, El Salvador.
The victim was aided by persons who knew what had happened and
took him to the San Rafael de Nueva San Salvador Hospital, in La
Libertad, where he received the medical attention he required.
assailant, Claudio Perez, not only inflicted physical and emotional
injury upon Munguia Choto, but then went to the National Guard Station
at Lourdes, in the Colon jurisdiction of the Department of La Libertad,
to report that his victim was a "guerrilla," whereupon agents
of that law enforcement body appeared in the operating room to
a related incident that occurred at 9:00 that same night, members of the
National Guard searched the home of his longtime companion; they told
her "they were going to search her house because they had been told
that he had weapons and grenades there."
When they failed to find what they were looking for, the same
members of the National Guardsmen said: "Ah, that little bastard is
going to die."
Choto was held in custody until June 14, when members of the National
Guard demanded that the Hospital employees release him. Those same agents took the wounded man to the National Guard
post at Lourdes in La Libertad.
relatives of Munguia Choto went to the hospital to visit him, they were
told what had happened, whereupon they went to the National Guard post
at Lourdes; there they were told that their relative "had grabbed
one of the National Guardsman's weapons and had killed himself."
body of Munguia Choto had a wound in the occipital region where a bullet
had entered, and another in the frontal region where the bullet had
exited. The National
Guardsmen who had him under guard were transferred from that post (...).
Through a note dated January 24, 1989, the Commission began its
processing of the case and requested the Government of El Salvador to
supply the pertinent information on the facts denounced in that
communication and any other information that would show whether the
remedies under domestic law had been exhausted in the case in question;
the Commission informed the Government that it had 90 days in which to
On June 21, 1989, the Commission reiterated its request to the
Government of El Salvador, noting that should no reply be received
within 30 days, it would begin to consider the possibility of applying
Article 42 of its Regulations whereby the facts reported in a petition
would be presumed to be true should the government in question fail to
supply the necessary information within the time period stipulated by
the Commission. The
Commission enclosed additional information supplied by the petitioner,
the pertinent parts of which are as follows:
to an eyewitness, Manuel de Jesus Munguia Choto was wounded by Claudio
Perez on Saturday, June 11, 1988. (...)
photograph shows that the body had an entry wound in the frontal region;
his longtime companion states that the serious injuries on his arms and
elsewhere on his body were such that he was unable to move on his own.
Therefore, Mr. Munguia Choto did not have the physical strength
to fight anyone, much less use a heavy weapon to kill himself.
witness states that he saw Claudio Perez wound Mr. Munguia Choto and,
because he was a friend of the victim, the assailant accused him of
being a member of a group called "Cerita," which was the
statements made by two witnesses, one concludes that Claudio Perez was
being protected by the National Guard of Colon. (...)
Members of the National Guard deliberately demanded that Munguia Choto be released from the hospital, guarded him while he was receiving medical treatment and took him to the National Guard post, even though his health condition was delicate.
At the very time Mr. Munguia Choto was wounded and taken to the hospital, members of the National Guard or their supervisor deliberately searched his home and his longtime companion was threatened by National Guardsmen.
On November 13, 1990, the Commission again asked the Government
of El Salvador to supply information on the investigations being
conducted into the case of Mr. Manuel de Jesus Munguia Choto and, after
pointing out its earlier requests, the Government was advised that it
had 60 days in which to reply.
When no reply was forthcoming from the Government of El Salvador,
the Commission sent it one last note on January 17, 1991, wherein it
warned it of the application of Article 42 of the Regulations and gave
it 30 days in which to reply.
At its 79th session, the Commission adopted Report N°
20/91, which was dispatched to the Government of El Salvador so that it
might formulate whatever observations it 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 present case
inasmuch as it concerns violations of rights upheld in the American
Convention on Human Rights--Article 4 on the right to life
and Article 5 on the right to humane treatment--as provided
under Article 44 of the Convention, of which El Salvador is a State
That the petition satisfies the formal requirements for
admissibility, as set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights
and in the Regulations of the Commission.
That in the instant case, it is evident that the petitioner has
not been able to secure effective protection from the competent
agencies, so that the requirements concerning exhaustion of remedies
under domestic law, contained in Article 46.2.b of the Convention, do
That the Government of El Salvador has not challenged the
admissibility of the complaint because of the failure to exhaust local
remedies in this case, by which it can be assumed that it has tacitly
waived this challenge, according to the jurisprudence of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
That the subject of the communication is not pending settlement
in another international proceeding and is not a restatement of a
previous communication already examined by the Commission.
That despite the time that has passed and the repeated overtures
made by the Commission, the Government of El Salvador has not responded
to the facts denounced in the instant case.
That by not responding, the Government has failed to comply with
its international obligation to supply the Commission with information
within a reasonable time period, as provided in Article 48 of the
That Article 42 of the Regulations of the Commission provides the
That since the friendly settlement procedure provided for in
Article 48.1.f. of the American Convention does not apply because of the
nature of the facts denounced, and in the absence of any response from
the Government, the Commission must comply with the provisions of
Article 50, paragraph 1 of the Convention, by issuing its findings and
recommendations on the
petition presented to it for consideration.
That the Government of El Salvador has not submitted observations
on Report N°
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To presume to be true the facts denounced in the petition of
October 27, 1988, in connection with the extra judicial execution of
Manuel de Jesus Munguia Choto, in Lourdes, Department of La Libertad, El
Salvador, on July 14, 1988, while he was in the custody of the National
Guard at that post.
To declare that the Government of El Salvador has failed to
comply with its obligations to respect the human rights and fundamental
guarantees, pursuant to Article 1 of the American Convention on Human
To declare that such acts constitute violations of the right to
life and the right to humane treatment, recognized in Articles 4 and 5
of the American Convention.
To make the following recommendations
Government of El Salvador, based on Article 50.3 of the
Convention and Article 47 of the Regulations of the Commission:
a. To conduct a thorough, rapid and impartial investigation into the facts denounced, in order to bring those responsible to justice so that they may receive the punishments warranted by such grave conduct.
To adopt the necessary measures to prevent such crimes in the
To make reparations for the consequences of the violation of said
rights and to pay the next-of-kin a just indemnity.
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 4 of the operative part
of this report.
6. 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°