RESOLUTION Nº 50/82
1. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received the following denunciation in a communication of April 28, 1979:
Ollero, a young worker and biology student. Detained on July 19, 1979 in
an operation conducted by the Naval Mechanics School on a line 187 bus.
She was detained, along with all the people on the bus, at the
intersection of Constituyentes and Albarellos in Buenos Aires, and taken
to Police Station Nº 49. She was not released, although all the other
people were allowed to leave.
this information and much more is in the hands of the judge hearing the
case. The facts have been proven by the testimony of innumerable
witnesses, including the testimony of the Deputy Police Chief of that
police precinct, who made available to the judge book Nº 40 which lists
the arrest of the young woman in question and of the other persons
detained in the operation. This detention had previously been denied.
and many other facts prove overwhelmingly that Inés Ollero was detained
by Navy Forces and that she cannot have disappeared without trace. As
stated earlier, this information is in the hands of the judge and has
come before a number of courts.
this accumulation of solid proof, Inés Ollero has not appeared.
2. In a note of
October 9, 1980, the Commission transmitted this denunciation to the
Government of Argentina and asked it to provide the corresponding
information, as well as any other information that would enable the
Commission to judge whether or not domestic legal remedies had been
exhausted in the case addressed by the present request.
3. In a
communication of January 29, 1980, the Commission sent the Government of
Argentina some additional information on the present case, and
reiterated its request for information.
4. In a note dated
March 25, 1980, the Government of Argentina responded to the Commission
in the following terms:
reference to the request addressed to the Government of Argentina by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning the whereabouts of
Argentine citizen Inés Ollero, we report the following:
19.07.77 Miss Ollero was on a line 187 bus, presumably going home, when
the bus was stopped at the intersection of Albarellos and
Constituyentes, in the jurisdiction of the Federal Capital, for a
routine traffic check. As the check began, propaganda pamphlets from a
terrorist organization were found inside the bus. When the owner could
not be determined, all the passengers were taken to the police station
with jurisdiction over the zone in order to investigate the matter. Once
inside the police station, all the passengers were identified and duly
questioned about the pamphlets that had been found. When no affirmative
answer was obtained, it was decided not to keep the passengers there any
longer and they were all released, as stated in the legal case brought
subsequently, to which reference will be made below.
Miss Ollero did not return home, her father applied for a writ of habeas
corpus, which went before the National Criminal Sentencing Court of the
First Instance Nº "V", where the merits of the case are now
being presented. That juridical action notwithstanding, a case was
brought before the National Criminal Magistrates Court of the first
Instance Nº 25, Secretariat Nº 161 to investigate an alleged
inference from the above explanation is that the denunciation filed with
the Commission was unnecessary and non-productive, since the claimant
cannot fail to be aware that domestic legal remedies under Argentine law
have not been exhausted and, as noted, the information on the case is in
the hands of the corresponding judicial authorities.
it should be pointed out that according to written statements by the
woman's father to Argentine government authorities, she was a militant
activist in an extreme left-wing youth organization. Many of its members
have left the organization to join bands of terrorists. The possibility
therefore cannot be discarded that after being allowed to leave the
police station, and fearing that a more thorough investigation into the
passengers' background would bring to light her membership in that
organization, she decided to leave voluntarily and/or to go underground
in order to avoid possible judicial action. This has been the experience
with other similar cases.
5. In a note dated
April 12, 1980, the pertinent parts of the Government response were
transmitted to the claimant, who was asked to provide observations on
6. In a note of
September 6, 1980, the claimant disputes the Argentine Government's
reply; the text is given in the appendix attached to this resolution of
which it is an integral part.
7. In a note of
December 11, 1980, the Commission transmitted the claimant's
observations to the Government of Argentina and asked it for the
corresponding reports within 30 days. The Government of Argentina has
not yet replied to that request for information.
8. The Commission
has in its possession the various court proceedings and respective
decisions, along with the testimony of a number of people who were
eye-witnesses to the circumstances in which Miss Ollero was detained.
9. In its recent
sessions, the Commission has been examining the situation of people who
have disappeared in the Argentine Republic, and has reiterated to the
Argentine Government the urgency of informing family members of their
1. In light of the
background information indicated and the documents in the possession of
the Commission there is clear evidence as to the place and time of Miss
Ollero's detention, and the procedure used, from which it is deduced
that the detention was carried out publicly by authorities of the
2. Since Miss
Ollero's detention, her whereabouts are unknown and there is fear for
her life and personal safety;
3. It is deduced
from the evidence in the Commission's possession that the events
denounced are true;
4. Despite the
foregoing, the Government of Argentina has not to date replied to the
observations presented by the claimant, as requested by the Commission
in its note of December 11, 1980.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
1. That there is
sufficient evidence that Miss Ollero was unlawfully detained on July 19,
1977 in an operation conducted by the Naval Mechanics School, when she
was on a public bus (line 187), and that she has disappeared.
2. To declare that
such events constitute serious violations of the right to life, liberty
and personal security (Article I), and of the right of protection from
arbitrary arrest (Article XXV) of the American Declaration of the Rights
and Duties of Man.
3. To recommend to
the Government of Argentina: a) that it immediately take the measures
necessary to clarify the whereabouts of Miss Ollero and to inform her
family; b) that it conduct a complete, impartial investigation to
determine responsibility for the events denounced; c.) that it punish,
according to Argentine law, those responsible for the detention and
subsequent disappearance of Miss Ollero, and d) that it inform the
Commission within 30 days as to the measures taken to put these
recommendations into practice.
4. To communicate
this resolution to the Government of Argentina and to the claimant.
5. To include this
resolution in the Annual Report to the General Assembly of the
Organization of American States, in accordance with Article 50.4 of the
Commission's Regulations, if the Argentine Government does not adopt the
stated recommendations within the abovementioned time period.
September 6, 1980
by the Claimant
One, Description of the case
contrary to custom, my daughter was unexpectedly away from our home on
the evening of July 19, 1977, at the time she should have returned, as
she did every day at the end of her studies as a biology student In the
University of Buenos Aires, I made some personal inquires and learned
with a fair degree of certainty about the basic facts of her detention
by security forces that night.
took a number of steps to find out where she was and to have her
released, but without result.
being the case, I applied for a writ of habeas corpus on August 16,
1977. The application came before the National Criminal Sentencing
Court, Letter V, Secretariat Nº 30, to which right from the beginning,
I gave the basic information that I had at that time.
was thus in a position to say that on the night of July 19, 1977, my
daughter Inés Ollero was on a line 187 bus, Internal number 13,
traveling from the Chacarita Station (In the Federal Capital) to our
home in San Andrés In the Province of Buenos Aires. I added that the
bus was intercepted at approximately 10:30 p.m. on the corner of
Constituyentes and Albarellos, in the jurisdiction of the Federal
Capital, by officials conducting a control operation. Both the bus and
the passengers were taken to Federal Police Station Nº 49. The other
passengers were released, but my daughter has remained in detention ever
that same date (16.8.77), the Court asked for detailed reports, with an
exact account of the abovementioned events, from the Commander-in-Chief
of the Army, from the Federal Police and from the Ministry of the
Interior. The replies, which were given on 25.8.77, 18.8.77 and 19.8.77
respectively, were all negative: the Army reported that it had no
information, and the Police and the Interior Department said that she
had not been detained.
order to prove the allegations, the facts of which had already been
transmitted by the Court to the agencies along with the requests, we
offered the testimony of the driver of the bus and its passengers.
after this (31.3.77), but before the testimony was taken, the Court
received a report entitled "Military Message", signed by
Colonel Roberto L. Roualea, the Deputy Commander of the Federal Capital
Subregion. The report said that on August 19, 1977, a vehicle check
procedure had been conducted in the place and at the time I had
indicated, and that as a result, all passengers on bus Nº lll has been
taken to the police station indicated earlier, from where they were said
to have been "set free". The correct date of the procedure was
the 19th of July and not August, and the correct number of the bus was
187 and not 111, as erroneously stated in the military report.
statements by the witnesses were then given and they confirmed the
correct information, saying that the date was July 19 and the number of
the vehicle was 187.
September 9, 1977, the Court ordered further requests for information
from he Commander-in-Chief of the Army and from the Federal Police,
confirming the factual information in the case, and with an express
indication that the investigation on this matter should be completed. On
September 12, 1977, the Federal Police informed the Court that Inés
Ollero was in detention, and that "there was no record along the
lines of what was requested". The Army's reply (27.9.77) restates
exactly what it said in its previous report, repeating the same errors
as to the month and the number of the bus. It gave no explanation at all
of the discrepancy between its own reply and the facts given in the
request for information, which were the correct ones.
on October 4, 1977, the Court handed down a ruling denying the action. I
entered an appeal with the National Criminal and Correctional Appeals
Court, Chamber III on November 8, 1977, but the decision was confirmed.
APPEAL FILED AGAINST THE DECISION
Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation handed down a ruling on April 25,
1978, the text of which was printed by the IACHR in its "Report on
the Situation of Human Rights in Argentina" (11.4.80), Chapter 6,
E6. The ruling accepted our request for continued action.
this order from the Supreme Court, the writ of habeas corpus continued
in the court of original jurisdiction, which thus took further steps to
(24.5.78), new reports were requested (the agencies consulted were still
always provided with the exact information in the file in order to
facilitate their replies) from the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the
Federal Police, and for the first time in the proceedings, from the
Commander of the First Army Corps.
the third time, (26.5.78) the Federal Police denied that any measures
had been taken "to restrict the freedom of the person in
12.6.78 Colonel Rouldes reiterated the "military message"
referred to above, on behalf of the First Army Corps. This time, he
corrected the date to July 19, was still in error as to the number of
the bus, and in reply to the request for the names of the officials
taking part in the procedure, said that "this is denied for
operational reasons, and because the information is not available at
this time, since papers without value had been destroyed as being
documents containing nothing new" (sic.).
the Court took testimony from all the officers of Federal Police Station
Nº 49 who were working on the night of July 19, 1977.
was learned from the statements of 35 officers, junior officers and
agents of the Federal Police that officials from the Naval Mechanics
School routinely conducted operations in that area, and used the police
station for that purpose.
most striking element of proof was the appearance of a report written at
the time (19.7.77) in the memorandum book of the police station,
reporting the operation with which we are concerned. It has the complete
list of passengers, the numbers of their identity papers and their
addresses. Inés Ollero is obviously included. There was an express
indication that the officials taking part belonged to the Naval
report lists the number of the bus incorrectly, putting 111, when in
fact the bus line was 187. It also says that all the passengers had been
"set free" from the police station.
the repeated information from the Federal Police that there was no
record of the operation was flatly disproved as a result of this
documentary evidence in a book belonging to the police station signed by
this identification by the police of the officials taking part from the
Naval Mechanics School, Rear Admiral Rubén Jacinto Chararro, Chief of
the Naval Mechanics School, was ordered to give testimony. In his
written statement (31.8.78), he admits the possibility of the existence
of the operation, but he states that he does not know whether it in fact
took place, "...an was unable to specify which officials took part
in them because nothing new was reported."
action was again rejected by the Court of the First Instance (25.9.78);
but this time, the National Criminal and Correctional Court of Appeals,
Chamber III, in our appeals procedure, ordered that the investigation
the investigation, the Court decided (21.12.78) to question all the
passengers on the bus; their names police record of 19.7.77, which
formed part proceedings.
testimony of the fifteen summoned revealed in great detail how the
people traveling that night on the intercepted bus were treated. It was
also learned that Inés Ollero was taken apart from the other passengers
because she was suspected of carrying allegedly subversive pamphlets
found in the bus. The existence of these pamphlets was admitted in an
official report for the first time when the Argentine Government's
response was forwarded to the IACHR.
Police Chief Dante Manuel Cardozo made a second statement to the Court
(he had made an initial statement along with the rest of the police
officers on 7.ó.78). He was the police officer who had been in charge
of the police station. He acknowledged the existence of such pamphlets,
not having mentioned them in his first statement, but he did not say
what they contained. He
also insisted that Inés Ollero had been released like the other
Court repeatedly demanded that the Navy Mechanics School report the list
of the personnel taking part in the operation. It had failed to provide
the Court with this information in its replies of 22.1.79 and 11.4.79.
to a further request for detailed reports, the Commander-in-Chief of the
Army merely said on June 1, 1979: "... I report that to date there
is no information in the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army
about Inés Ollero".
Court denied the action for the third time because it considered that
the habeas corpus proceeding had been completed.
October 12, 1979, the National Criminal and Correctional Court of
Appeals, Chamber III admitted our appeal and ordered that the habeas
corpus procedure continue. It ordered that new evidence be taken and
expressly stated that according to the reports in the proceedings, Inés
Ollero was not released (as stated in official reports) but that
she remained in detention. It then ordered the proceedings conducted
in camera "because of the nature of the inquiries to be made
and the undeniable institutional importance of the case ..."
case is still being heard.
give below in quotation marks each paragraph of the Government's reply
and then make our observations on it:
"On 19.7.77, Miss Ollero was on a line 187 bus, presumably
going home, when the bus was stopped at the intersection of Albarellos
and Constituyentes, in the jurisdiction of the Federal Capital, for a
routine traffic check. As the check began, propaganda pamphlets from a
terrorist organization were found inside the bus. When the owner could
not be determined, all the passengers were taken to the local police
station in order to investigate the matter."
first paragraph of the Government's reply contains information that is
substantially correct. One might ask, however, where the Argentine
Government obtained the information it gives in its reply.
question is asked because it is surprising that prior to this reply from
the Government, none of the state police or military bodies consulted by
the Court had admitted to knowing of all the events described in the
paragraph. Furthermore, those official agencies that did admit to
knowing more about the events referred to bus line 111, while both the
Army and the Navy still maintain that they have no information on Inés
"Once inside the police station, all the passengers were
identified and duly questioned about the pamphlets that had been found.
When no affirmative answer was obtained, it was decided not to keep the
passengers there any longer, and they were all released, as stated the
legal case brought subsequently, to which reference will be made
is true that the passengers were taken to the police station and that
they were identified and questioned there about the pamphlets that had
the question could be raised as to the source on which the Government's
reply is based, for the reasons we indicated above.
the most important thing is that the statement that "all" were
released has been flatly disproved by the evidence in the court
indeed terrorist pamphlets were found, possession of them might
constitute a crime under the terms of Law 20.840. It would therefore be
Ingenuous to suppose that all the passengers would have been released
within a few hours, since the elements of the corpus delicti had been
found. Furthermore, the failure in such circumstances to notify the
competent judicial authority of the facts was a clear violation of
procedural law. It should be added that Deputy Police Chief Cardozo
stated that he did not know the present whereabouts of the pamphlets
that had been found on the bus.
the Naval Mechanics School that took part in the operation in question,
and the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, informed the judge that nothing
new had happened in their operations on those days. The official in
charge of the military area also reported on 12.ó.78 that nothing new
is an obvious contradiction between those statements and the evidence
that the pamphlets were found, corroborated by the bus driver and the
passengers. Did the military personnel in the operation not tell their
superiors about finding the pamphlets? Where are the pamphlets? Why does
the Government's response admit the existence of the pamphlets while the
military authorities say that nothing new had happened?
paragraph cited says that the passengers were all released "as
stated in the legal case." This interpretation of what came out of
the court case is totally illogical, and--what is more important--is
contrary to the flat statement made by the Government agency that is
competent to make such a judgment, the Honorable National Criminal and
Correctional Court of Appeals, Chamber III, In its ruling of October 12,
1979, that on examining the facts, it had come to the conclusion that Inés
Ollero was not released after her detention.
"When she did not return home, Miss Ollero's father applied
for a writ of habeas corpus before the National Criminal Sentencing
Court of the First Instance, letter V, where the merits of the case are
now being heard."
the proceedings, I was forced three times to file appeals against lower
court rulings that had denied the action and declared it closed. I also
had to file an extraordinary appeal against the final decision of the
higher court, which had ruled in the same way. This latter appeal
produced the ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice handed down in the
proceedings on April 25, 1978, which appears in Chapter VI E6 of the
"Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Argentina"
produced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
"That judicial action notwithstanding, a case was brought
before the National Criminal Magistrates Court of the First Instance Nº
25, Secretariat Nº 161 to investigate an alleged 'unlawful
information in this paragraph is also correct, although incomplete. The
action was brought on October 14, 1977 because of the Judge's rejection
of the habeas corpus when he denied the action for the first time.
investigations at all have been conducted thus far in this action
brought on the issue of unlawful detention, unless a request sent to the
Federal Police on the day the case was brought asking them to determine
the whereabouts of Inés Ollero, in order to serve her a summons to give
testimony, can be considered to be an investigation. After that request,
a provisional stay was granted without waiting for a reply; the reply,
of course, never came.
file is at present before the Supreme Court of Justice for consideration
of an extraordinary appeal I have filed against the decision ordering
referral of the proceedings to the military courts, as having
jurisdiction over the case, for a ruling on my daughter's unlawful
"The inference from the above explanation is that the
denunciation filed with the Commission is unnecessary and
non-productive, since the claimant cannot fall to be aware that domestic
legal remedies under Argentine law have not been exhausted, and as
noted, the information on the case is in the hands of the corresponding
a glance at the first part of the paragraph shows that the denunciation
I filed with the Commission was neither unnecessary nor non-productive,
as the paragraph quoted would have us believe.
is quite true that the facts of the case, which the judiciary has
managed to gather after so long, are in the hands of the courts, and
that the domestic legal remedies permitted under Argentine law have not
been exhausted, and that we shall go on until there is a definitive
clarification of what happened, as ordered by the Supreme Court in its
ruling of April 25, 1978.
am aware of the principle in the Regulations governing the work of the
Commission, that in taking up any denunciations filed, the Commission
"shall verify, as a condition precedent" whether the internal
legal procedures and remedies of each state have been exhausted. I am
also aware that the Regulations establish that it shall verify whether
the procedures were "duly applied."
is my belief that the present case, despite the undeniable progress made
in the investigation (which was not exactly due to the reports from the
security agencies), is an eloquent example of how internal legal
procedures were not duly applied.
to the Argentine Constitution and procedural law, action seeking the
release of a person unlawfully detained, i.e., an application for a writ
of habeas corpus, must be processed within a few days. That was the case
in earlier times, before the events that concern us here. The processing
of this application for a writ of habeas corpus has now been going on
for more than three years. There have been innumerable reports from
entities of the armed forces and security agencies, which have been
contradicted by other elements of proof--at times provided by the same
forces. In addition, court requests for reports from the
Commander-in-Chief of two of the services have also been awaiting a
reply for more than a year and a half. It is not possible to say that
the information available to the courts, most of which has been provided
to the military and police authorities, is not enough to enable the
truth to be found, because most of the information was uncovered despite
the inaccuracies of much of the information conveyed by official organs.
the Argentine Government authorities themselves have used the ruling
handed down in this case on 24.4.78 by the Supreme Court of Justice of
the Nation as an example of the Court's actions "in exercise of its
function as custodian of individual guarantees. "This quotation is
taken from the book EL Terrorismo en la Argentina (Terrorism in
Argentina) presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by
the Ministry of the Interior on the occasion of its visit in September
1979. Appendix Nº 41 of the book (p.423, paragraph 4) cites the legal
theory established in the case of "Ollero, César, re habeas
corpus" on this premise. In light of this, it bears asking: to what
extent have the authorities of the Executive Branch complied with the
instructions in that ruling within their area of jurisdiction?
is the necessary and proper denunciation that we reiterate to the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for the purposes of its
"Lastly it should be pointed out, that according to written
statements by the woman's father to Argentine Government authorities,
she was a militant activist in an extreme left wing youth organization.
Many of its members have left the organization to join bands of
terrorists. The possibility cannot therefore be discarded that after
being allowed to leave the police station, and fearing that a more
thorough investigation into the passengers' background would bring to
light her membership in that organization, she decided to leave
voluntarily and/or to go underground, in order to avoid possible
judicial action. This has been the experience with other similar
part of the innumerable legal remedies I have undertaken in order to
obtain information on my daughter's whereabouts, I have written
repeatedly to various authorities of the Argentine Government and of the
Armed Forces explaining the facts. Only exceptionally have I received a
reply, albeit negative. At my request, I have had several interviews
with military authorities in which I have told them orally how I feel as
a father and have expressed my constructive opinion as an industrialist
respectful of my country's institutions. This opinion that I still hold
and will always hold.
have repeatedly said that I know my daughter Inés Ollero is affiliated
with the youth branch of the communist party. I have never said that
"she was a militant activist in an extreme left-wing youth
am unaware of the facts that behind the hypothesis that the paragraph
quoted says should not be discarded, since it is outside the sphere of
my professional or vocational activities.
must point out, however, that the conjecture put forward in the
Government's reply was demolished even before it was made, inasmuch as
the National Criminal and Correctional Court of Appeals stated on
October 12. 1979 that Inés Ollero was not released as reported when the
vehicle control procedure was revealed.
is inappropriate for agencies of the Executive Branch to make groundless
conjectures in an attempt to evade their responsibilities and throw
arbitrary suspicion on the victim of the facts being investigated, when
they themselves have failed to provide the courts with the information
demanded of them.
inner logic of the hypothesis proffered in the Government's reply is
also absurd. The "observations and critical comments of the
Argentine Government" on the report of the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, as reported in the newspaper La Nación
of Buenos Aires on May 8, 1980, page 16, last column, refer to the
political party mentioned above, among others, and say "these
political organizations have not been dissolved, and their members, like
members of other parties of a similar tendency, such as the Popular Left
Wing Front (Frente de Izquierda Popular), have not been harassed merely
on account of belonging to that tendency." In light of this overall
assessment by the Argentine Government, the conjecture put forward in
the paragraph on which I am commenting is contradictory.
I hope that the information I have provided here will be of use in considering the Government's response in this case.