Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a petition dated
August 29, 1989, that set forth the testimony of a student from the
Universidad Nacional Alcides Carrión, who was arrested along with the
victim Teófilo Rímac Capcha on June 23, 1986:
1. On June 23,
1986, at approximately 12:00 p.m., I was taken prisoner at my home by
members of the Peruvian Army. The
events occurred in the department of Cerro de Pasco, where I was a
student. As a consequence
of this detention, a "police investigation" was launched
consisting of physical and psychological torture and attempted murder
and disappearance over a period of seven days.
2. During the
period to which I refer, other university students were also detained,
among them Teófilo Rímac Capcha, who has since disappeared.
3. The undersigned
and others are eyewitnesses to what happened to the aforementioned
citizen. These events are explained in detail in the petition filed
with the Senate Human Rights Commission on February 20, 1987.
4. The Army, in
conjunction with the Investigations Police (PIP), drafted a
"police affidavit" (DIRCOTE-LIMA) riddled with anomalies and
contradictions (normal for a fictitious story) in an effort to justify
the murder and subsequent disappearance of Teófilo Rímac Capcha and
the torture they inflicted upon us (crushed ribs, skull fracture, arm
fractures and other injuries). Because
of that police affidavit, pretrial hearings were instituted in the
case against us and we were unfairly incarcerated (31 months).
5. Members of the
Army attempted to abduct us on more than three occasions during the
course of our incarceration at the Cerro de Pasco public prison.
Complaints have been filed with the Departmental Public
Prosecutor'_ Office, the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation,
the International Red Cross and elsewhere.
The purpose was to silence us once and for all and thus allow
these crimes against humanity to go unpunished.
6. Because of
pressure from the Army, the judicial system was very slow to act (the
case was held up for seven months as there was no judge who would hear
the case -out of fear-; the court delayed the case unnecessarily
because of political pressure). On January 26, 1989, the proceedings ended with the logical
exoneration of the accused.
Attached to the petition were the Senate Investigating
Committee's Report, its
Majority Opinion and its Minority Opinion; the complaint filed with
the Human Rights Defense Committee of the Department of Pasco; a
complaint filed with the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of
the House of Deputies; the complaint filed with the PIP
(Investigations Police) of the city of Huancayo, Department of Junín,
about threats made against the star witness in the case, and newspaper
accounts from around that time.
3. Via a note dated
August 29, 1989, the Commission began formal processing of the case by
requesting that the Government of Peru supply pertinent information
regarding the facts reported in the communication, as well as any other
information that would enable the Commission to determine whether all
remedies under domestic law had been exhausted in the instant case; the
government was given 90 days in which to reply.
4. On March 7, 1990,
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights sent a second request to
the Government of Peru for information regarding the investigations
conducted into this case, and gave it 30 days in which to reply.
5. The Commission
received additional information from the petitioner on March 20, 1989,
consisting of the testimony of an individual who said he had been
arrested along with Teófilo Rímac Capcha and who was tortured and
present during the victim's final moments.
6. In a letter dated
April 12, 1990, the Commission sent this communication to the Government
of Peru and asked that the government report thereon to the Commission
within 60 days.
7. On March 25,
1991, the IACHR once again asked the Government of Peru for information
on the investigations carried out in connection with this case and
advised the government that if the requested information was not
received within 30 days, the Commission would consider application of
Article 42 of its Regulations and thus presume as true the facts
recounted in the petition, as long as other evidence does not lead to a
8. When it did not
receive an answer by the prescribed deadline, on July 10, 1992 the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights sent the Government of Peru
another communication repeating its request that the government provide
the information in question within 30 days, with warning that Article 42
of the Regulations might be applied.
Through a note dated August 10, 1992, the Government replied as
In this regard, the Permanent Representative of Peru respectfully
requests the Executive Secretariat of the IACHR to extend the deadline
specified in its letter of July 10 last, inasmuch as the Ministry of
Defense of Peru has indicated that it does not have the background
information on the case that would enable it to provide the information
the Secretariat is requesting.
Despite the amount of time that had already elapsed, the
Commission, in a note of August 13, 1992, gave the Government of
Peru another 30 days in which to report on the facts denounced.
11. On September 23,
1992, well past all deadlines, a note from the Government of Peru was
received at the Commission's Executive Secretariat wherein the former
reported that "measures have been taken to establish the
whereabouts of the citizen in question" (Teófilo Rímac Capcha);
it stated that on July 22, 1986, "he was formally charged with the
crime of terrorism, and pretrial proceedings were instituted that same
month and year ... presumibly with the prisoner in absentia"; the
note went on to say that "information was requested of the Office
of the Provincial Prosecutor of Pasco to ascertain what steps had been
taken ... in connection with the alleged disappearance, allegedly at the
hands of military troops on June 23, 1986 ..."
12. At its 82
session, the Commission adopted report No. 21/92, which was referred to
the Government of Peru so that the latter might make whatever
observations it deemed pertinent within three months of the date of
1. The Commission is
competent to take cognizance of the instant case inasmuch as it concerns
violations of rights recognized in the American Convention on Human
Rights: Article 4 relating to the right to life; Article 5 on the right
to humane treatment; Article 7 on the right to personal liberty, and
Article 25 on the right to judicial protection, as provided for in
Article 44 of the aforementioned Convention of which Peru is a State
2. The petition
satisfies the formal requirements for admissibility as set forth in the
American Convention on Human Rights and the Regulations of the
3. The petition is
not pending in any other international proceeding for settlement and is
not substantially the same as any earlier petition already reviewed by
4. In the instant
case, documents have been presented which
provide information on the events denounced, which were also
reported in the Peruvian press.
That based on the information supplied to the Commission as the
instant case was being processed and set forth in the corresponding
appendices, the facts would be as follows:
approximately 23:30 hours on June 16, 1986, subversives planted dynamite
charges in the road at the place known as Pucallacu in the city of Cerro
de Pasco, Department of Pasco. They
detonated the dynamite charges as a vehicle transporting military troops
was passing. Three soldiers and one civilian were killed, and another
three soldiers were wounded. From
then until June 24, the Army made arrests in places near the site of the
attack, and in the city of Cerro de Pasco itself.
It apprehended a number of people who were accused of being the
alleged authors. Among the
townspeople arrested were Edgardo Alarcón León, a student leader with
the Frente Unico de Comensales of the Universidad Nacional Daniel
Alcides Carrión in Cerro de Pasco; Juan Santiago Atencio, a leader of
the CENTROMIN-PERU union; Marcial Torres, Vice President of the Frente
Unico de Comensales UNDAC-PASCO; Saturnino Rojas Rímac; Teófilo Rímac
Capcha, a professor at the Universidad Nacional Daniel Alcides Carrión,
Deputy Secretary of the Federation of Farm Communities of Pasco and a
member of the FOCEP Political Party which was part of the "United
Left" Alliance; and other individuals whose identify it has not
been possible to ascertain.
approximately 1:00 a.m. on June 23, Army troopers from the Carmen Chico
Garrison searched the home of Teófilo Rímac Capcha and his wife Doris
Caqui Calixto, at Avenida Bolívar No. 69-A, San Juan Pampa, Cerro de
Pasco. While the owners of
the house were forced to remain lying facedown, the soldiers searched
the house, inspecting personal papers, books legally in circulation, and
other personal effects. Finally,
they took Rímac Capcha into custody and took him to the Carmen Chico
Garrison where they incarcerated him in a makeshift cell, along with
seven to ten other people.
Later, all the detainees were tortured to force them to admit to
their involvement in attacks that had occurred in the area, including
the one at Pucallacu. The
torture inflicted upon them can be described as follows:
They were kicked and beaten on various parts of their body with
blunt instruments and the toes of shoes.
They were kept hanging by the arms for hours, with their hands
tied behind their backs.
They were made to believe they were being buried alive: they were put into ditches and earth was thrown over them.
A substance called "Terokal" was put in their nasal
passages and mouths.
They were denied food and water.
They were denied warm clothing, despite the low temperatures in
information supplied during the processing of the case indicates that at
dusk on June 26, Teófilo Rímac Capcha was separated from his cellmates
by soldiers and taken to be interrogated.
Then, at around 22:00 hours, he was returned to his cell.
Though blindfolded, the other detainees knew that he was in a bad
state when he returned, as he was crying out in pain and his breathing
was irregular. At 6 or 7 the next morning, a noncommissioned medic entered
the cell to treat detainee Saturnino Rojas for a fractured arm caused by
the torture. When he saw Rímac's
condition, he ordered another soldier to give him mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation, despite which, according to the information reported, he
information in the case file indicates that the victim'_ lifeless body
was removed immediately; the bonds and blindfolds were taken off the
other detainees and they were given food and water.
On June 27, an Army Investigating Commission interrogated the
detainees about what had happened; they told of having been tortured and
subjected to other humiliations. The
detainees signed their statements without coercion.
5.6 On July 7,
1986, in the course of its investigation of this case, the Senate Human
Rights Commission requested information from the Department of Defense
concerning the facts in this case and received the following reply on
1) Teófilo Rímac
Capcha was arrested by a patrol at his home on June 23 last, "for
alleged involvement in subversive activities".
On June 24, an attempt was made to deliver Rímac Capcha and
other detainees into the custody of the Pasco PIP, but "for lack of
space" he was returned to the Carmen Chico Garrison.
At 4:30 hours on June 27, 1986, Rímac was taken to a latrine,
whereupon he escaped from the military base.
5.7 On December 4,
1986, the Senate Investigating Committee asked the Chairman of the Joint
Command to provide information in connection with the alleged escape of
Teófilo Rímac, and received the following reply on March 9, 1987:
1) The soldiers
responsible for guarding Teófilo Rímac Capcha have been brought up on
charges in the Army's Second Court District, for the crime of having
allowed the "escape of convicts or prisoners".
The search for the fugitive "is still in progress, but has
turned up nothing."
5.8 In its report of
August 6, 1987, the Senate Investigating Committee (minority opinion,
concluded that all the eyewitnesses said they had been mistreated and
many said they had spoken with Rímac Capcha before and after the abuse
and torture; none, however, could state categorically that he had seen Rímac
Capcha die. Though they all told of hearing groans, moans and even
possible agonized outcries, they also said they were blindfolded.
The minority report states that as to the victim's escape, the
information that the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Military Justice
was to have provided on the status of the proceedings and the legal
situation of those being tried was absolutely essential; also pending
was the reply that the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Military
Justice was to provide on the legal situation of those charged with the
crime of having allowed the "escape of convicts or prisoners"
which is being investigated by the Army's Second Court Jurisdiction
because of the escape of Teófilo Rímac Capcha.
Given the line of reasoning used, the minority on the Senate
Investigating Committee concluded that there was insufficient evidence
to establish the death of citizen Teófilo Rímac Capcha.
5.9 Although it
concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish the victim's
death, the minority on the Senate Investigating Committee qualified this
finding in paragraph 6, stating that "... under Article 63 of the
Civil Code, ... one can be declared presumed dead after two years if the
disappearance occurred under life-threatening circumstances, even if the
body has not been found or identified, which could be the case here
..." The victim has been classified as disappeared since
June 27, 1986.
5.10 The testimony
of the individuals held in custody with Teófilo Rímac Capcha, the
findings of the investigations conducted by the Senate Investigating
Committee and the information supplied in the complaints filed by the
next-of-kin of the victim, all concur that the proper legal formalities
were not observed at the time the individual in question was arrested,
that while he was held prisoner he was subjected to various forms of
torture, and that he died from that torture while in Army custody, in
the early morning hours of June 27, 1986.
The whereabouts of his remains are still unknown.
5.11 The version
given by the Army to the effect that Teófilo Rímac Capcha purportedly
escaped from the Carmen Chico Garrison is not probable since that
military establishment was heavily guarded and surrounded by barbed-wire
fencing; prisoners were taken to the latrines by a contingent of
soldiers. Moreover, Teófilo
Rímac Capcha had serious injuries as a result of the torture inflicted
upon him. Finally, there is
also the fact that after several years, there is still no official
information on the outcome of the trial involving the soldiers charged
with the alleged crime of allowing the "escape of convicts or
5.12 Even though it
has been more than three years since the case was first processed with
the Commission, and despite the seriousness of the charges made and the
Commission's repeated overtures, the Government of Peru has not provided
a satisfactory response concerning the facts in this case.
In effect, in its note of September 22, 1992, the Government of
Peru confined itself to supplying information that sheds no light
whatsoever on the facts; it did not even supply the reports that the
Senate Commission had requested.
6. As for the remedies
under domestic law, the information supplied as this case was being
processed points to the fact that while those remedies have been
exhausted they have been ineffective in protecting the rights of the
individual in question since he is still considered to be a
detained-disappeared person. Those remedies were the following:
6.1 On July 1,
1986, Doris Caqui Calixto filed a complaint with the Pasco Bar
Association to denounce the arbitrary detention of her husband, Teófilo
Rímac, in the Carmen Chico Garrison.
Still unaware of the fate that had befallen her husband, she
asked that this institution intercede with the Office of the Government
Attorney to confirm the detention and take steps to safeguard his life.
The next day, July 2, this complaint was forwarded to the Office
of the Provincial Prosecutor for Pasco.
6.2 On June 23,
1986, Mrs. Doris Caqui Calixto filed another complaint, this one with
the Cerro de Pasco Human Rights Defense Committee, asking that the
necessary measures be taken to ensure her husband's safety and secure
his prompt release.
6.3 On November 20,
1986, the Peruvian Senate voted unanimously in favor of one of the
Senators' own initiatives, which was to order its own Human Rights
Commission to serve as an Investigating Committee to ascertain the facts
in the disappearance of citizen Teófilo Rímac Capcha.
That Committee issued its majority opinion on May 21, 1987, and
its minority opinion on August 6, 1987.
7. One must also
consider the fact that the key witnesses in this case are being
threatened by Peruvian Army soldiers, which the following facts will
7.1 Edgardo Alarcón
León, a student leader from the Universidad Nacional Daniel Alcides
Carrión in Cerro de Pasco, was one of those detained on June 23, 1986,
but on January 26, 1989 was exonerated when no evidence against him
could be found. Edgardo
Alarcón was an eyewitness to what happened to the now disappeared Teófilo
Rímac Capcha subsequent to June 23, 1986, as he maintains that he was
held prisoner and tortured in the same detention facility as the victim.
On March 2, 1989, Edgardo Alarcón León testified in the
presence of Deputy Flavio Nuñez Izaga, at the time Chairman of the
Human Rights Commission of the House of Deputies.
7.2 According to
Police Report No. 018 SE-JP, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on January 31,
1989, four subjects wearing ski masks
appeared at the home of Domingo Alarcón Cano, located at Jirón
Alfonso Ugarte No. 560, in Pampas, Department of Junín, searching for
his son, Edgardo Alarcón León. Domingo Alarcón Cano, however,
strenuously objected to these men entering his home, and told
them that Edgardo was not at home.
7.3 The Police
Report also states that at around 1:00 a.m. on February 20, 1989, four
subjects entered his home while he, his wife and children were sleeping.
The subjects were heavily armed and their faces were covered by
ski masks. Two of them were
wearing black boots. The
subjects forced Edgardo's father to open all closets and compartments in
the house and kept asking him for his son.
When they did not find him, they left.
7.4 On July 8,
1992, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a petition
to the effect that Mrs. Doris Caqui Calixto, wife of the victim in the
instant case and the mother of four children, was being continually
threatened and persecuted by agents of law and order (Case No. 11,036,
being processed with the Commission).
8. In a judgement of
July 29, 1988, in the Velásquez Rodríguez case, the
Inter-American Court stated the following regarding the duty to
... it must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere
formality preordained to be ineffective.
An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the
State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests
that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon
their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the
government. (Paragraph 176).
9. The Commission has repeatedly expressed its categorical
condemnation of the heinous phenomenon of forcible disappearance of
persons, stating in a variety of documents that:
...this procedure is cruel and inhuman and the disappearance not
only constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty but also an
extremely serious threat to the humane treatment, security and life
itself of the victim.
10. In a number of
resolutions, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States
has emphasized that countries in which forcible disappearances have
occurred must put an end to this practice immediately, and has urged the
governments to take the necessary measures to determine the status of
these persons. The General
Assembly of the Organization has also declared that forced disappearance
of persons is an affront to the conscience of the hemisphere and
constitutes a crime against humanity.
11. In a judgment of
July 29, 1988 in the Velásquez Rodríguez case, the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights declared the following:
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. (Paragraph
12. Since the
friendly settlement procedure provided for in Article 48.1.f of the
American Convention on Human Rights is not applicable given the nature
of the events denounced, the Commission must comply with the provisions
of Article 50.1 of the Convention and set forth its conclusions and
recommendations on the petition submitted to it for consideration.
That on February 3, 1993 the Government of Peru presented its
observations on Report 21/92 noting that Teófilo Rímac Capcha was
captured by Military Police Commando of Cerro de Pasco on June 22, 1986
and that on June 27 he escaped and his whereabouts are presently
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
1. To declare that
the Government of Peru is responsible for violations of the rights to
life, humane treatment, personal liberty and judicial protection,
recognized in articles 4, 5, 7 and 25, respectively, of the American
Convention on Human Rights, as a consequence of acts committed by agents
of the Peruvian State who unlawfully deprived Teófilo Rímac Capcha of
his freedom in the city of Cerro de Pasco, department of Pasco, on June
23, 1986, and then tortured him to death and engineered the
disappearance of his body.
2. To declare that
the Government of Peru has not complied with the obligation to respect
human rights and guarantees, which obligation is imposed under Article 1
of the American Convention on Human Rights, of which Peru is a State
recommend to the Government of Peru that it pay a fair compensation to
the victim's next-of-kin.
4. To recommend to
the Government of Peru that it conduct a thorough investigation of the
facts denounced in order to clarify the circumstances of the arrest,
establish the victim'_ whereabouts, identify the persons responsible and
bring them to justice so they might receive the punishment that such
reprehensible conduct warrants.
request the Government of Peru to adopt effective security measures to
protect the life and physical safety of the witnesses and the victim's
publish this report in the Annual Report to the General Assembly,
pursuant to Article 48 of the Commission's Regulations and Article 53.1
of the Convention, inasmuch as the Government of Peru did not adopt
measures to correct the situation denounced, within the time period
stipulated in Report No. 21/92.