REPORT N° 14/92
The petition received by the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights, dated July 21, 1989, whereby:
On July 18, at 10:00 a.m., Mr. Leonardo Ramirez Murcia, Legal Counsel to the Human Rights Commission of El Salvador (CDHES), was abducted by members of the Treasury Police dressed in civilian attire, as he was leaving the "La Esperanza" Prison Facility in Mariona, San Salvador, after taking care of certain professional duties.
his captivity, they assured Mr. Ramirez Murcia that they had proof of
his ties to the FMLN and that his job was to "release guerrillas
and terrorists captured and taken into custody by security forces."
Ramirez Murcia was beaten at the Headquarters of the Treasury
Police to force him to admit to the charges made against him, such as
his supposed involvement in the murder of Dr. Antonio Rodriguez Porth
and the attack on the home of the Vice President of the Republic, Lic.
Francisco Merino. The
charges were utterly groundless, which only serves to show the methods
used by the Treasury Police to conduct their investigations. Basically, these methods rely on physical and psychological
torture to obtain extra judicial statements from innocent people.
Through a note dated September 6, 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
In September 28, 1989, the Government of El Salvador replied,
To date no further communications have been received from the
Government of El Salvador in connection with the way in which the arrest
was made or the mistreatment to which Mr. Ramirez Murcia was subjected
while in custody.
At its 79th session, the Commission adopted Report N°
23/91, 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 5 on the right to humane treatment
and Article 7 on the right to personal liberty
as provided under Article 44 of the Convention, of which El
Salvador is a State Party.
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.
The petition is not pending action in any other international
arrangement and is not a restatement of a petition already examined by
That in El Salvador the practice of detaining people without
observing the proper legal and constitutional formalities has become
widespread practice and it often happens that interrogations involve
physical and psychological abuse, which lead to extrajudicial
confessions exacted during the period the individual is held in
members of human rights organizations
in El Salvador have been the target of constant harassment and
interference in the process of trying to go about their normal business,
even though, as in the case of Mr. Ramirez Murcia, there have been no
real charges against them to justify their arrest.
In this regard, at its twentieth regular session in Asuncion,
Paraguay, the General Assembly of the Organization
of American States
approved resolution AG/doc.2643/90, rev. 1 (XX-0/90), operative
paragraph of which reads as follows:
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 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 declare that the Government of El Salvador is responsible for
the violation of the right to humane treatment, the right to personal
liberty (Articles 5 and 7 of the Convention) of Mr. Leonardo Ramirez
Murcia; according to the complaint received at the Commission on July
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 make the following recommendations to the 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 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°