REPORT Nº 13/94
February 2, 1994
On August 7, 1989, the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights received the following petition, the pertinent parts of
which are as follows:
Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar, 45 and Moisés Landaverde Recarte,
33, were assassinated on January 14, 1988, at approximately 6:30 p.m.,
in the city of San Pedro Sula, Department of Cortés.
The circumstances surrounding the crime indicate that the victims
were inside of Professor Miguel Angel Pavón's car, with the motor
running and the headlights on, when a motorcycle carrying two men
approached. One of the men got off of the motorcycle, walked over to the
left front window of the parked car and shot Miguel Angel Pavón and
Moisés Landaverde, killing them instantly.
Professor Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar was Chairman of the
Honduran Human Rights Defense Committee (CODEH) in the city of San Pedro
Sula; he was a Deputy to the National Congress for the Department of
Cortés, representing the Partido Innovación y Unidad-Social Demócrata
(PINU-SD); he was also a professor, specializing in technical education.
Moisés Landaverde Recarte was a high school teacher, and was a
union leader in the Cortés branch of the Association of Secondary
School Teachers of Honduras.
Miguel Angel Pavón had received death threats on a number of
occasions as a result of the testimony he gave before the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights, where he appeared in September 1987 as a witness
for the Commission in the proceedings conducted in connection with the
case of the disappearance of Manfredo Velásquez and Saúl Godínez
In December 1988, a former member of Squadron 3-16, Mr. Fausto
Reyes Caballero, made statements to Washington Post journalist Julia
Preston, to the effect that two military men, Police Lieutenant Mario
Asdrúbal Quiñónez and Sergeant Jaime Rosales, were the material
authors of the crime. Mr. Reyes Caballero was even more specific, stating that the
driver of the motorcycle was Jaime Rosales, while Lieutenant Mario Quiñónez
was the one who actually fired the shots.
This same assertion was made later to Dr. Anne Manuel from
Americas Watch and signed as a sworn statement before a notary public as
AFFIDAVIT OF FAUSTO RAMON REYES CABALLERO
STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF NEW YORK )
I, Fausto Ramón Reyes Caballero, being duly worn, hereby deposes
I am a native and citizen of Honduras.
I was born in the town of Calloarenal, province of Yoro, on April
14, 1956, and I now reside in Randolph, New Jersey.
In 1969, at thirteen years of age, I became a member of Police
Department in San Pedro Sula. I
began my services as a bugler. After
eight months I began formal training to become a police officer at the
School for Training of Security Officers, and I received a diploma in
1973. At night I attended
José Trinidad Reyes High School, were I graduated in 1974.
From 1973 to 1977 I was an instructor at the José Trinidad
Cabanas Police Academy in Tegucigalpa.
During the same years I received anti-guerrilla training at the
School of the Americas in the Panamá Canal Zone.
From late 1977 to 1980 I was transit chief of La Lima.
From 1980 to February 1986 I was Chief of Motorcycle Police in
San Pedro Sula. It was my
duty to protect visiting dignitaries, including President Reagan and the
Pope. My salary at this
position was $225 per month, paid by the Armed Forces.
In February 1982, I was recruited to be a collaborator with
Battalion 3-16, a specialized unit of 500 members, the primary function
of which is death squad activities.
I was paid $300 per month by Rafael Canales Nuñez and by
Alexander Hernández. Payments were made in both Honduran and U.S. currency.
I continued to work as a collaborator, and to receive these
payments, until I became a full-time member of 3-16.
From February 1986 to August 9, 1988, I was a full-time member of
Battalion 3-16. My salary
was $300 per month in regular pay, but with extra payments, extra per
diem pay and other benefits, my average total monthly income was over
I was personally informed by Lieutenant Mario Quiñonez and First
Class Sergeant Jaime Rosales (alias Quico) --both are members of
Battalion 3-16-- that they assassinated Miguel Angel Pavón and Moisés
Landaverde on January 14, 1988 in the Colonia Florencia, a neighborhood
of San Pedro Sula. After
Pavón testified before the Inter-American Human Rights Court (October
1987) I had seen Pavón's name on a death list in the office of
Battalion 3-16 in San Pedro Sula.
I provided information on the foregoing and related topics to
journalist Julia Preston of the Washington Post.
An article based thereon was published on November 1, 1988, a
copy of which is attached hereto. Based on my personal observations, and upon information and
belief, all statements and allegations contained in this article are
true and correct.
Fausto Ramón Reyes Caballero
Americas Watch sent a letter to the President of the Republic so
that the necessary measures might be taken, specifying the names of the
perpetrators of the crime. Though
no reply was received.
In a note dated August 9, 1989, the pertinent parts of the
complaint were conveyed to the Government of Honduras, which was asked
to supply whatever information it deemed necessary with regard to the
subject of that communication and any information that would make it
possible to determine whether, in the particular case of this petition,
the remedies under domestic law had been exhausted; the Government was
given the statutory 90 days in which to reply to the Commission's
When no response was received and when that 90 day period had
long since passed, on December 5, 1990, the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights repeated its request for information from the Government of
When the Commission failed to receive any reply to that note, on
January 31, 1991, it sent the Government of Honduras another
communication, repeating its request for information and advising it
that if the requested information was not received within 30 days, it
would consider application of Article 42 of the Commission's
Regulations, whereby the facts reported in a petition are presumed to be
true, as long as other evidence does not lead to a different conclusion.
During the 79th session of the Commission, held in Washington ,
D.C., February 11 through 22, 1991, Dr. Ramón Custodio López, Chairman
of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, appeared
before the commission for a hearing on the situation of human rights in
that country. There, Dr.
Custodio discussed the case of Miguel Angel Pavón, stating that the
murder of Mr. Pavón was due to the fact that he had appeared as a
witness of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Velásquez
Rodríguez and Godínez Cruz cases before the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights in 1987. Dr.
Custodio further stated that as evidence of this, he had presented
before the World Interparliamentary Union the sworn statement of Fausto
Reyes Caballero, wherein he accused members of the armed services as the
authors of the crime. Other evidence mentioned by Dr. Custodio was the testimony
given by Florencio Caballero, who said that he had been Mario Asdrúbal
Quiñónez's subordinate in Squadron 3-16 of the armed services. Finally, he stressed the fact that all certifications that he
has requested of the corresponding courts of San Pedro Sula in
connection with this case had been denied him.
In a communication dated February 27, 1991, the Government of
Honduras sent its reply, referring to a summary of the Third Criminal
Court Judge of San Pedro Sula, Department of Cortés, as follows:
On January 15, 1988, at 9:00 a.m., because of a report that
appeared on the first page of the newspaper Tiempo, published in
that city, the respective investigation was launched and a resolution
passed that same day ordered that the summary proceedings be kept
At page 3 of the Court records there is official communication No
78, dated January 15, 1988, and signed by the First Criminal Judge of
that city, conveying to the examining judge the urgent telegram sent by
the Supreme Court ordering a diligent investigation into the crime
committed against the persons of Miguel Angel Pavón and Moisés
Landaverde, further ordering that the Supreme Court be kept abreast of
At page 4 in the Court records, dated January 15, 1988, is the document prepared on the occasion of the on-sight
inspection conducted by the examining judge in the company of his
secretary at the scene of the events, which states:
"... all that was found were some blood stains on the cement
outside the residence." This
was all that could be confirmed.
At page 5, front and back, of the Court records, is the
designation of Court experts and their opinion on the identification and
assessment of the Peugeot, light green, four door sedan, license plates
P-61536, the property of Mr. Miguel Angel Pavón, and owned on January
21, 1988, by Mr. Constantino Pavón Salazar, as shown at page 32.
Statements were taken from the following persons:
Jorge Martínez, Gonzalo Valle, Constantino Pavón Salazar,
Carlota Zavala Ramos - Pavón's widow, Ana Rubenia Pavón Salazar,
Sandra Luz Jovel López, Sandra Gisella Pavón Zavala, Blanca Alicia
Castro Raudales, Luis Alonso Jovel Iraheta, Graciela Reyes, Ana
Francisca Elvir Valle, Héctor Henrique Velásquez, Héctor
Orlando Vásquez Ortiz, Mario Ochoa Bronfield, Juan José Reyes Mejía,
José Aníbal Delgado Fiallos, Trinidad Guadalupe Maldonado Macedo,
Mario Asdrúbal Quiñónez Aguilar, Carmen Lizeth Reyes Gutiérrez,
Oscar Rolando Galindo, Danalid Jackson Garbott, Ligia Marlin Guerrero,
Yancie Virginia Villegas Murillo, Nelson Leonardo Lanza Fiallos;
thus far there is no reference to the names or physical
description of the person or persons who may be held responsible for the
acts that are being investigated.
The Court records also contain a number of legal documents, such
as opinions from the forensic physician of the city at the time of the
identification he made of the bodies;
the record of the exhumation done in the presence of the proper
authorities; the identification by experts of material objects on the
person of Miguel Angel Pavón and Moisés Landaverde at the time of
their death; the ruling issued by the Department of Forensic Medicine of
the Supreme Court in connection with pieces of lead found at the time
the exhumation and autopsy were conducted, the finding being that they
were copper bullet fragments, weighing 0.9 mg, which would be from an
armored projectile of 0.9 mm; certification of the death certificates of
Moisés Landaverde Recarte and Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar, certifying
the actual cause of their deaths and other proceedings recorded in the
report dated the 20th of August 1989, signed by the Attorney Joaquín A.
Muñoz F., as Third Criminal Judge, a copy of which is in the Court
Third Criminal Judge - San Pedro Sula, Cortés, March 10, 1989.
This Court has learned that Ing. Alfredo Landaverde Recarte and
Lic. Efraim Díaz Arrivillaga, Deputies to the National Congress, have
conducted an investigation to ascertain who killed Mr. Miguel Angel Pavón
Salazar and Mr. Moisés Landaverde Recarte, an investigation that can
help this Court clear up the murders that it is investigating; with the
proper insertions, let notification be made to the Honorable
Representatives to the National Congress, so that they may report to
this Court, in writing, the findings of their investigation.
Article 13,335, paragraph 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Let it be executed. Stamp
-F. Pineda B. Judge - Stamp - R. Simón de Coto, Secretary, Third
Criminal Court, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, March 10, 1989.
Adding to the preceding Court record, and to legally establish
that Mr. Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar was an Alternate Deputy for the
Department of Cortés, with the proper insertions let notification be
made to the National Electoral Tribunal, so that it may certify, through
the appropriate person, the election won by Mr. Pavón Salazar.
Also, through the Supreme Court of Justice, with the proper
insertions, let a letter-rogatory be sent to the President of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, with its seat in San José, Costa
Rica, so that through the appropriate organ, he may attest to the
statement made before that Court by Mr. Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar and
Mr. Fausto Reyes Caballero in the proceedings initiated to investigate
the disappearance of Manuel Velásquez et al, which measures are
necessary in the investigation being conducted to clear up the violent
death of Professors Miguel Angel Pavón Salazar and Moisés Landaverde
Recarte. Let it be so
implemented - Stamp - F. Pineda B., Judge - Stamp - R. Simón de Coto,
On this date notification was made to Ing. Alfredo Landaverde
Recarte and Lic. Efraín Díaz Arrivillaga, Deputies of the National
Congress, and to the National Electoral Tribunal, respectively.
San Pedro Sula, Cortés. March
10, 1989. Stamp - R. Simón
Coto - Secretary. In the
evidentiary proceedings and specifically in reference to the
communications that were sent, as the record shows, there is nothing in
the case file to show that those court notifications have either been
returned or answered.
On August 30 of last year, the undersigned, as Chairman of the
Interinstitutional Human Rights Commission, sent notes 58 and 59 to Lic.
Efraín Díaz Arrivillaga and Lic. Alfredo Landaverde Recarte,
respectively, enlisting their cooperation so that they might forward to
the judge hearing case the findings of their investigations, all for the
sake of shedding light on the crimes that the court is investigating.
The most recent document in the court records is its decision of
January 16, 1990, whereby Mr. Aníbal Delgado Fiallos was formally
summoned to make a statement, which statement appears in the court
records of January 18, 1990, while on February 7 of that year, Mr. Adán
Melgar Santos appeared before the Court to make a statement.
On August 31, 1990, an official communication was sent to the
President of the National Electoral Tribunal, and was duly answered on
September 27, 1990. The
Court continues to conduct legal proceedings.
This year the letter-rogatory that was sent to the President of
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica was answered.
By a note dated April 2, 1991, the petitioner presented his
observations on the Government's reply, and stated the following:
If the Government's source sent the Commission a summary of the
court records of the case being heard in the Third Criminal Court of San
Pedro Sula, Department of Cortés, this means that it has some
certification of the proceedings of that tribunal in relation to this
case, a document that the brother of the victim --Professor Constantino
Pavón-- had been denied, as we have proven to this Commission.
Therefore, he can demand that document of the civil servant who
represented the Government in the communication to which we reply.
Moreover, Dr. Ramón Custodio is not among the individuals that
he mentions as having made statements; in his statement, Dr. Custodio López
mentioned the head of the Northwest Section of Battalion 3-16, two of
whose members have been accused by the witness Fausto Reyes Caballero.
They are (now) Captain Mario Asdrúbal Quiñónez and Sergeant
Jaime Rosales, both denounced by the witness Fausto Reyes Caballero and
also named publicly on several occasions.
Though Captain Quiñónez has been accused, he is not named as
one of the ones being investigated; Sergeant Rosales (alias Quico) is
not even mentioned. The
official spokesman casts all the burden of proof on the then Deputies to
the National Congress, Efraín Díaz Arrivillaga and Alfredo Landaverde.
Even though Captain Quiñónez denies being a member of 3-16, the
witness Florencio Caballero has told us that he was the subordinate of
Captain Mario Asdrúbal Quiñónez (alias Lic. Quintero) in that
Battalion, according to a sworn statement that I turned over to the
Commission at that hearing held on February 8, 1991.
On that occasion, the petitioner asked the Government of Honduras
for the following documents:
A certification of all the competent legal proceedings in the
cases discussed herein.
The full text of all the proceedings and minutes of the Armed
Services Commission of Honduras which, between June 1984 and March 1985,
investigated the case of the forced disappearances that had occurred as
of those dates.
Information pertaining to the appointment of the Commission to
Investigate Disappearances in Honduras.
On May 21, 1991, the Commission received a communication from
FEDEFAM (the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of
Detainees-Disappeared), reporting that Mr. Constantino Pavón Salazar,
brother of Miguel Angel Pavón, was being persecuted and watched by
persons unknown and that he believed them to be the same men who
assassinated his brother.
In a note dated June 19, 1991, the Commission requested
protection from the Honduran Government to safeguard the individual
guarantees of Mr. Constantino Pavón Salazar and that it inform the
Commission on this regard as soon as possible.
On that occasion, the Commission again asked the Government for
observations and to forward to the Commission the documents requested by
the petitioner in a note dated April 2, 1991.
The Government of Honduras, in a note dated July 24, 1991, sent
the Commission a correction to its reply of February 8, 1991, as
follows: "By mistake,
the name of Sandra Giselle Pavón Zavala appears under item 5; the
correct name is Sandra Liceth Pavón Zavala.
Furthermore, the names of the following witnesses were omitted:
Héctor Orlando Vásquez Canales, Rolando Tábora Tábora, Daysi
Marina Brocato and Ramón Abad Custodio López.
Under item 6, there was an omission in reference to the copper
bullet fragments, as follows: 'weighing
0.9 milligrams, which corresponds to an armored projectile of 0.9
Thus far, the Government of Honduras has not made any comments on
the petitioner's observations and has not sent the certifications of the
court proceedings and other documents that were requested of it.
Nor has the Commission received any information regarding its
request for protection to safeguard the individual guarantees of Mr.
Constantino Pavón Salazar.
The Commission is competent to hear the instant case, in
accordance with the provisions of Article 44 of the American Convention
on Human Rights, inasmuch as it concerns the right to life, upheld in
Article 4 of that Convention;
The petition satisfies the formal requirements of admissibility,
as contained in Article 46, paragraph 1, of the American Convention on
For the reasons explained above, the petitioner has been unable
to secure effective protection from the agencies with jurisdiction, so
that the requirements concerning exhaustion of the remedies under
domestic law are not applicable, in accordance with Article 46.2 or the
The friendly settlement procedure to which Article 48.f of the
American Convention and Article 45 of the Regulations of the Commission
refer does not apply in this case.
The petition is not pending settlement in another procedure under
an international organization and, therefore, the incompatibilities
contemplated in Article 47.d of the American Convention and Article 39
of the Regulations of the Commission do not apply:
The petition does not duplicate a petition already examined by
the Commission and therefore also meets the test of Article 47.d and
Article 398.1.b of the
Regulations of the Commission;
In the instant case, all of the measures necessary to obtain
adequate information from the Honduran Government in connection with the
judicial proceedings into the murders of Miguel Angel Pavón and Moisés
Landaverde have been taken. On
July 19, 1990, in testimony before the Permanent Court of the Peoples,
Mr. Constantino Pavón said again that the Government had no interest in
clearing up the murder of his brother, Miguel Angel Pavón, and noted
that despite all his efforts, he had been denied any information
on the judicial investigations into the case;
The Government of Honduras has not made the necessary efforts to
property investigate the facts denounced, and has confined itself to
confirming their occurrence.
In particular, the Government of Honduras has not taken into
account or investigated the evidence provided in the testimony of Mr.
Reyes Caballero, a former member of Battalion 3-16, who declared that he
had seen Professor Pavón's name on the black list of that battalion, as
a result of his having testified before the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights in the case of the disappearance of Manfredo Velásquez
Rodríguez and Saúl Godínez Cruz.
The Commission adopted on February 11, 1992, Provisional Report
18/92, produced under the provisions of Article 50 of the American
Convention on Human Rights, according to which, after referring to the
events that gave rise to the petition, the Commission was to make
recommendations to the Government, giving it ninety days to fulfill them
and inform the Commission. That report was referred to the Government on
February 19, 1992.
The Government replied on February 27, 1992, attaching copies of
the findings of the judicial enquiries carried out in this case.
Neither that reply nor the factors it mentions offer new evidence
disproving the events denounced, nor do they show that adequate steps
have been taken to solve the situation denounced, as requested in
Provisional Report 18/92.
There are no further elements at the disposal of the Commission
to lead it to alter the conclusions of the original report.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION
That the Government of Honduras has failed to comply with its
obligation to respect and guarantee Articles 4 (Right to Life); 8 (Right
to a Fair Trial), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) in conjunction
with Article 1.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which
Honduras is a state party, with regard to the assassination of Mr.
Miguel Angel Pavón and Mr. Moisés Landaverde Recarte.
That the Government of Honduras did not carry out a thorough and
impartial enquiry to detect the persons responsible for the deeds
denounced, nor has it punished them or paid compensation to the
relatives of the victims.
To publish this report pursuant to Article 48 of the Commission's
Regulations and Article 53.1 of the Convention, because the Government
of Honduras did not adopt measures to correct the situation denounced
within the time period.