RESOLUTION Nº 12/80
1. The Commission
received the following denunciation in a letter dated June 18, 1978:
Ana Frigerio, aged 20, a student of agronomy, was arrested in her
parents' house, Olavarría 4521, Mar del Plata, on August 25, 1976. At
that time, she was confined to her bed and was unable to move on her own
for the following reason:
April 1976, Rosa Ana entered the '25th of May' Clinic in Mar del Plata,
where she underwent an operation on her spinal column, as a result of an
accident that occurred on August 24, 1974 when she was coming back from
the university. When they took her away, she was wearing a plaster cast,
and so they carried her out on a stretcher and took her away in an
ambulance from the Naval Base in Mar del Plata, where she remained.
Family members went there regularly to find out about her state of
health, because when she had been taken away, she was still in a
delicate state after her operation; she had a serious infection and
seven blood transfusions, but they took her away nonetheless.
members of her family went to the Naval Base, they were told that they
would be advised when they would be able to see her. This never
happened. They were never able to see her, nor were they able to take
her any clothes, since when they took her away, she only had on her
plaster cast. Whenever they went, authorities told them that she was
fine but they were never able to verify this.
at the end of 1976, the authorities at the Naval Base were changed, and
from that time on, for what reason I do not know, they were told that
she was not being detained there. A writ of habeas corpus was
then filed (photocopy attached) on which a reply was received on March
1, 1977, to the effect that she was being held at the disposal of the
means, then, that Rosa Ana was on the Naval Base up to the first days of
March 1977, more than seven months.
happened next was this: On March 23, 1977, Rosa's parents summoned to an
interview with the Commander of the Navy Base and other individuals.
After some talk about Rosa, the Commander told them that Rosa had died
in a confrontation, that the country was at war, and that Rosa knew
people. He gave them a note (photocopy attached) showing the number of
2. In a note dated
December 30, 1978, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of
this denunciation to the Government of Argentina, asking it to supply
the corresponding information.
3. During its
on-site observation in Argentina in September 1979, the Commission heard
testimony from the claimants, and further information on the initial
data received. The text read, as follows:
August 25, 1976, Rosa Ana FRIGERIO, aged 20 years, was arrested in her
parents house located at Olavarría 4521, Mar del Plata, Province at
victim, who was a student of Agronomy at INTA, located in Balcaro and a
branch of the National University of Mar del Plata, had been in an
automobile accident when coming from that city to Mar del Plata on
August 24, 1974. As a result of that accident, she suffered injury to
her spinal column; the attending physician recommended an operation. The
operation took place on April 26, 1976. Following hospitalization, which
lasted for three months because of an infection, she was given a graft.
During this period her condition was serious. Around July of that year
she returned home wearing a plaster cast from the waist to below the
knee, with the result that except for her arms she was completely
immobilized. Such was her condition on the day she was arrested. On at
least three occasions earlier, personnel who said they belong to the
security forces had come to the victim's house to interrogate her, which
they did with no one else present. Finally, on August 26, five or six
civilians came with an ambulance, and took her away on a chair. They
told the claimant and her mother that they were taking her to the Naval
Base in Mar del Plata. While the victim was hospitalized in the
sanatorium, other persons who also said they came from the security
forces searched her room without apparently finding anything of
the transfer, the complainant went to the Naval Base several times;
there he was given evasive answers in the guard-room. On September 10
the complainant received a telephone call from the Base, from a
lieutenant judge-advocate, who told him that his daughter was being held
at the Base at the disposal of the Executive. From then on the
complainant frequently went to the Base where he was received by various
officers, including the above-mentioned judge-advocate and other
officers, including the officers.
late 1976 the commandants and officers of the Base were changed. From
then on the complainant began to be told that Rosa Ana was not at the
Base; he was not received by any senior officer, apparently because the
previous ones had been changed.
view of these circumstances, the complainant filed a writ of habeas
corpus in February 1977 with the federal Court of Mar del Plata
(Judge Ana María Teodori). In connection with that action, which bears
the number 768, a communication was received on March 1, 1977 from the
Base Commander, which reads as follows: "I am pleased to inform you
with respect to your official letter on March 3, 1976, issued in Case Nº
768, entitled 'Contessi de FRIGERIO, Antonieta s/filing of a writ of habeas
corpus in favor of FRIGERIO Rosa Ana', that this person is being
held at the disposal of the Executive because she is guilty of
involvement in subversive activities." The Communication is dated
February 25, 1977.
March 31, 1977, the complainant received a summons from the Navy telling
him that he should appear on the following day by order of the Commander
of that unit. On appearing the following day at 9 a.m. the claimant was
received by the above-mentioned Commander, who was accompanied by a
captain. The Commander told him something along the following lines:
"Rosa Ana is (or was) held at the Base and has been killed by her
comrades in a confrontation that took place on March 8."
he was not satisfied with the reply, the complainant went to the Civil
Registry Office one month later and obtained a death certificate that
states that Rosa Ana had died from "cardiac arrest, cardiothoracic
traumatism." That is to say, a cause of death completely different
and inconsistent with the cause given by the Commander; this gave rise
to other doubts.
March 31, the above-mentioned officers delivered to the complainant an
unsigned paper stating: "Parque Cemetery, Grave 1133 - Temporary
Burial Section, sector 'B'. They told him that the victim was buried at
that place. The claimant has endeavored to obtain the exhumation of the
body in order to verify the accuracy of what he was told by the
above-mentioned officers, but so far has been unsuccessful.
the above-mentioned interview, the complainants reacted violently, and
told the officers they were talking to that they had killed Rosa Ana and
the officers did not reply. The captain merely said that the country was
at war and the victim "knew people."
information was brought to the attention of the Government in the
preliminary report that the Commission submitted to the Government of
Argentina in December 1979.
5. In a note
received by the Commission on March 27, 1980 the Argentine Government
replied as follows:
reply to the communication to the Government of Argentina from the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, relating to the
above-mentioned case, we wish to inform you of the following:
Rosa Ana Frigerio was arrested by legal forces in August 1976; this
action and the place of detention was made known to her relatives by
official reports provided by the corresponding authorities. The purpose
of the arrest was to investigate her possible links with a group of
terrorists. Because the person concerned confessed that she was a member
of that group but had not committed offenses and also because of her
decision to leave it and to collaborate by providing information, the
authorities detaining her considered it necessary to protect her and
similarly her family by not informing them of her situation because of
the possibility that they might be attacked by the terrorist
organization to which Rosa A. Frigerio had belonged, as a reprisal for
Rosa Ana was kept in an establishment where she collaborated with the
personnel responsible for counter-terrorist activities.
March 8, 1977, on the basis of information obtained by the authorities a
number of visits were made to places which Rosa Ana Frigerio and another
detainee had stated were hideouts of the terrorist group and places
where weapons and explosives were stored. On that occasion, the two
detainees accompanied the legal forces and, on arriving a short distance
from a house they pointed out in Calle Mario Bravo on the corner of
Esteban Echeverría, Mar del Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, they were
met with a heavy volley of gunfire from large caliber weapons coming
from the interior of the house, which caused the death--in situ--of Rosa
Ana Frigerio. In the same operation the other detainee died and an
officer was seriously wounded. It should be stated that neither of the
circumstances were reported at that time through the normal information
media because tactical measures of counter information were in force.
the authorities informed the family of Rosa Ana Frigerio of what had
happened and told them where her body was buried. It should be noted
that on April 25, 1979 the Federal Judge of Mar del Plata authorized the
family to exhume the body of Rosa Ana Frigerio and take it to whatever
cemetery they wished, although so far this transfer has not taken place.
regrettable episode, which is typical of the unconventional attack to
which Argentina has been subject. should be construed within the
framework of a struggle which the entire Argentine people as well as its
authorities had to wage against the terrorists.
above-mentioned information shows that Miss Rosa Ana Frigerio was
detained by legal forces on August 25, 1976 and was so detained when she
died on May 8, 1977.
2. The reply of
the Government of Argentina does not elucidate the facts reported nor
does it deny the allegations made by the claimant.
3. The Government
of Argentina has not provided the Commission with any information that
enables it to conclude that a legal investigation on the case took place
to elucidate the confused circumstances in which Miss Rosa Ana Frigerio
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. To observe to
the Government of Argentina that such acts constitute very serious
violations of the right to life, liberty and personal security (Art. I);
of the right to a fair trial (Art. XVIII) and of the right of protection
from arbitrary arrest (Art. XXV) of the American Declaration on the
Rights and Duties of Man.
2. To recommend to
the Government of Argentina: a. that it order a complete, impartial
investigation to identify the perpetrators of the acts reported; b. that
it punish the persons responsible for those acts in accordance to the
laws of Argentina; and c. that it report to the Commission within a
period of not more than sixty days on the steps taken to implement the
recommendations included in this Resolution.
3. To transmit
this Resolution to the Government of Argentina and to the claimants.
4. To include this
Resolution in the Annual Report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States, pursuant to Art. 9 (bis), paragraph c
iii, of the Statute of the Commission, although the Commission, in the
light of the steps taken by the Government of Argentina, may reconsider
the decision adopted.