REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Case 3482 (ARGENTINA)
March 6, 1981
1. In August 1978,
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received the following
Héctor Cano, an auto mechanic, born in San Juan, province of San Juan, on
November 19, 1948, was detained at the disposition of the Executive
Department. From March 27, 1976, under Decree 657/76, he was lodged in
jail unit 9 of the La Plata province of Buenos Aires.
stay was ordered by the federal judge of San Juan, Dr. Mario Alberio
Gerarduzzi, on February 10, 1977, but the prisoner remained under arrest.
The prisoner has asked to leave Argentina and, on April 11, 1978, applied
to the Embassies of Sweden and Belgium for a visa. On January 19, 1978,
the Correctional Service, New Unit, Province of Buenos Aires, issued
certification that the prisoner had applied for permission to leave the
country under law 21,650.
2. In its note of
December 30, 1978, the Commission transmitted the pertinent portions of
the denunciation to the Argentine Government, requesting that it supply
any information it considered pertinent.
3. In a
communication of August 9, 1979, the Argentine Government replied as
follows to the Commission's request for information:
indicated person was detained on 3/29/76 and tried for violation of
security law 20,840. On 6/2/76 he was placed at the disposition of the
Executive Department, in exercise of its constitutional authority, on the
assumption that the accused's activities might be a threat to peace and
2/1/77, a provisional stay was ordered in the trial to be heart by Federal
Court of the Province of San Juan and the stay was confirmed by the
Federal Court of Appeals of Mendoza. A copy of the ruling is attached. It
should be stressed that, under the provisions of the Code of Penal
Procedure, applicable in federal jurisdictions, the accused remains under
prosecution when a provisional stay is issued (Art. 435 of the Code of
Penal Procedure). The accused requested exercise of his option to leave
the country, under the provisions of law 21,650, of 10/11/78.
request was denied by Decree 197/79 based on the provisions of law 21,659
and in exercise of the authorities set forth therein. Under the provisions
of Article 13 of the above law, the application can be resubmitted six
months after the decree denying it. However, no application has thus far
4. In a
communication of August 16, 1979, the Commission informed the claimant of
the Government's reply and asked if he wishes to comment on it.
5. In a
communication of February 20, 1980, the Commission was informed by the
claimant that Mr. Raúl Héctor Cano continues to be detained after four
years, solely at the disposition of the Executive Department, and that on
December 17, 1979, exercise of the right to choose to leave the country
was again denied.
6. This case was
included by way of illustration in the report on the status of human
rights in Argentina (Doc. OEA/Ser.L/V/II.49) published by the Commission,
because the evidence available to the Commission constitutes prima
facie proof of the truth of the facts.
1. In light of the
above-mentioned background, Mr. Raúl Héctor Cano was arbitrarily
arrested ant deprived of his liberty on March 27, 1976;
2. On June 2,
1976, Mr. Cano was places at the disposition of the Executive Department;
3. The Federal
Court of the Province of San José issues on February 1, 1977, a temporary
stay, which was confirmed by the Federal Court of Appeals;
4. On two
occasions, exercise of the right to choose to leave the country as
established in the Constitution and regulated in law 21,650, was denied;
5. The IACHR has,
on several occasions, expressed its views on prolonged detentions, without
a specified term and without justified cause, which are an unreasonable
application of measures restricting liberty during a constitutional state
of emergency and actually constitute punishment.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
1. To declare that
the Argentine Government violated the right of protection from arbitrary
arrest (Art. XXV) and the right to due process of law (Art. XXVI) of the
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties Of Man.
2. To recommend to
the Government of Argentina: a) that it release Mr. Raúl Héctor Cano or
grant him the right to choose to leave the country; and b) that it report
to the Commission in ninety days on the measures taken to implement this
3. To transmit
this resolution to the Government of Argentina and to the claimant.
4. To include this resolution in the Annual Report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, pursuant to Article 50(4) of the Commission's Regulations, if the Argentine Government does not implement the recommendations by the above deadline.