RESOLUTION Nš 3/84
May 17, 1984
1. Several notes
that reached the Commission on December 10, 1982, charged that Mr.
Domingo Laino had been arbitrarily detained by the police in Asuncion,
Paraguay. Prior to this, Mr. Laino had been arrested on several
occasions and on one of them, he had been held in confinement in the
city of Mbuyapey, Department of Paraguari, by order of the Executive
Branch, under the authority of Article 79 of the Constitution.
2. In a cable
dated December 10, 1982, the Commission transmitted to the Government of
Paraguay the pertinent parts of the charge. It requested information
about the reason, place and conditions of detention of Mr. Laino, as
well as the charges made against him.
3. On December 13,
1982, the Government of Paraguay replied to the request for information
from the Commission in the following terms:
Laino is being held at the disposal of the Executive Branch of the
Nation, in accordance with Article 79 of the National Constitution
(state of siege).
4. Having been
informed that Mr. Laino had been expelled from the country, the
Commission sent a cable to the Paraguayan Government on December 16,
1982 in which it acknowledged receipt of the letter of December 13 and
stated the following:
information reaching this Commission asserts that Domingo Laino has been
expelled from the country. If this assertion is true, I would appreciate
it if Your Excellency would inform us of the reason for it and the
procedure followed. We wish to inform Your Excellency that under the
terms of Article 31 of the Regulations of this Commission, this request
for information does not constitute any prejudgment of the admissibility
of the petition.
5. On January 4,
1983, the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Commission received a
letter from the Paraguayan Government dated December 15, 1982. That
letter informed the IACHR that Mr. Domingo Laino, who was being held
under the authority of Article 79 of the National Constitution,
"had been advised that the Executive Branch would transfer him from
one side of national territory to the other, as the aforementioned
constitutional provision allows. Mr. Laino chose to go abroad. Since
yesterday, December 14, 1982, he has been located in the city of
Clorinda, the Argentine Republic, and is a free man."
6. The pertinent
parts of the reply of the government were sent to the petitioner who, in
a letter dated January 25, 1983, denied emphatically that Mr. Laino had
voluntarily left the country. The petitioner added that at the time Mr.
Laino was arrested in his own house, the police took with them 2,000
copies of the book, El General Comerciante, authored by Mr.
Laino, which deals with the late General Anastasio Somoza, the former
President of Nicaragua. The book was scheduled to go on sale December
7. On February 25,
1983, two letters were received from the Government of Paraguay. Both
were signed by the Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador
Francisco Barreiro Maffiodo. In one of the letters, the government
insisted that Mr. Laino left the country of his own free will and in the
other it remitted to the Commission a clipping taken from the newspaper,
Hoy, dated February 22. That article includes statements made by
the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Sabino Montanaro, to the UPI news
agency. The pertinent parts of the statements read as follows:
21 (UPI): The Paraguayan Minister of the Interior, Sabino Montanaro,
said that political exiles, except one whom he called "mentally
unbalanced" and another whom he linked to communism, may return to
Paraguay individually, but not in a group.
to Montanaro, the "mentally unbalanced person" is the founder
of the Christian Democratic Party, Luis Resck, and the person associated
with Marxism is the well-known writer, Augusto Roa Bastos....
who has held the interior portfolio for 15 years, said that the reason
for the lengthy state of siege was the fear that "subversive acts
will occur and after that we will have to decree again" the measure
which has been in effect since Stroessner took power in 1954.
Domingo Laino, a leader of the Authentic Liberal Radical Party, in exile
for having published a book against the late Nicaraguan dictator,
Anastasio Somoza, Montanaro said that he was "dangerous because of
his connections with left-wing elements of other countries."
confirmed that Laino, whose book was confiscated by the government, was
linked in Argentina to the Marxist People's Revolutionary Army, and the
left-wing peronist guerrillas known as the Montoneros.
reason for his deportation, he stated, was that Laino was responsible
for having painted political slogans on walls in the streets, an act he
considered "the beginning of a destabilization campaign against the
8. Later on, the
Commission learned that Mr. Laino had attempted to return to Paraguay on
March 23, 1983, but was prevented from getting off the Aerolineas
Argentinas airplane that carried him and forced to return to exile in
the same aircraft. Mr. Laino again attempted to return to Paraguay on
April 29, 1984, with the same results.
9. The Commission,
noting an obvious contradiction between the statements of the government
in its letter dated December 15, 1982, and the statements made by the
Minister of the Interior, Sabino Montanaro, in the interview with the
UPI news agency to which paragraph 7 of this resolution refers,
addressed the Paraguayan Government in a letter dated June 16, 1983, in
the following terms:
Cases Nos. 4563, 7848 and 8027
its last session the IACHR took up the aforementioned cases and found
that there exists a contradiction between statements made by Your
Distinguished Government in its letters of December 15, 1982, June 31,
1981 and August 24, 1982, pertaining to these cases, and the statements
made by the Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sabino Augusto Montanaro, in
his declarations to the press which appeared in an article in the
newspaper Hoy of February 22, 1983, a clipping of which was sent
to the IACHR attached to a note from the Minister of Foreign Affairs
signed by the Deputy Secretary of that portfolio, Ambassador Francisco
effect, on one hand, in the notes referred to above, the government
maintains that Messrs. Laino, Resck and Roa Bastos chose to leave the
country after being detained for a period under the authority of Article
79 of the National Constitution, thus giving the impression that they
did so voluntarily, and on the other, the Minister of the Interior
states to the press that Mr. Laino was deported "for having painted
political slogans on walls in the streets, an act he considered the
beginning of a destabilization campaign against the government,"
that Luis Alfonso Resck was deported because "he is a mentally
unbalanced person and an inciter to rebellion" and that the other
expelled person, the writer Roa Bastos, "has ties with Soviet and
Cuban elements and wanted to give a lecture at a high school and a
university" and that "before he could begin to indoctrinate
our youth to organize guerrilla warfare or to rise up against the
government, we expelled him from the country."
another part of his statement, the Minister ads, "the other exiles
may return to the country, including the dissidents of the Colorado
petitioners have denied that the aforementioned persons left the country
voluntarily. Actually, in agreement with the statements made by the
Minister of the Interior, they confirmed that the aforementioned persons
were forced to leave the country and have been denied permission to
return. They gave as an example the case of Mr. Laino who, according to
a letter whose pertinent parts were sent to the Paraguayan Government in
a note dated April 5, 1983, attempted to return to the country on March
25, 1983, in a scheduled Aerolineas Argentinas flight but was forced to
return to the place of embarkation in the same airplane that took him to
view of the foregoing, the Commission has given me specific instructions
to write to the Government of Paraguay to request information about the
exact situation of Messrs. Domingo Laino, Luis Alfonso Resck and Augusto
Roa Bastos. Specifically, the IACHR would like to know: If, as the
Minister of the Interior states, Messrs. Laino, Resck and Roa Bastos
were expelled from the country. If this is the case, the Commission
would like to have a copy of the verdict handed down by the court that
ordered the expulsion of the aforementioned persons. If, to the
contrary, this is not the case, the Commission would like to know on the
basis of what legal provision the Paraguayan Government does not allow
the aforementioned persons to enter the country.
The Government of Paraguay has not, to date, replied to the
aforementioned letter and Mr. Domingo Laino still remains in exile,
according to letters received by the Commission.
1. The right of
every person to live in his own country, to leave it, and to return to
it when he considers it advisable, is recognized by all international
instruments that safeguard human rights, among them, the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, Article 8 of which reads:
person has the right to fix his residence within the territory of the
state of which he is a national, to move about freely within such
territory, and not to leave it except by his own will.
2. In taking up
the problem of expulsion of nationals, the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights has pointed out:
is cause for alarm and concern the frequency with which the measure of
expulsion of nationals is resorted to not as the exercise of an option,
as some legislations provide, but as an act imposed upon the person by
force and against which the person has no recourse, in violation of the
right of residence and free movement established in Article 8 of the
American Declaration. (Annual Report of the IACHR, 1976, p. 18).
expulsions, administratively decreed without any type of legal
proceedings, generally have been for an undetermined length of time,
thus increasing even more their cruelty and irrationality, and making
this sanction even more onerous than one attached to the commission of a
crime which always has a sentence of a set period of time. (Annual
Report of the IACHR, 1980-1981, p. 120).
declarations of the Minister of the Interior, Dr. Sabino Montanaro,
given to the UPI news agency and printed in the edition of the newspaper
Hoy of February 22, 1983, the text of which was sent officially
to the Commission by the Paraguayan Government in a note dated February
22, signed by the Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, led to the
unmistakable conclusion that Mr. Domingo Laino did not voluntarily leave
the country but was forced to leave his native country and remain on
foreign soil against his will.
4. From the same
declarations made by Minister Montanaro and the lack of a reply to the
note from the Commission dated June 23, 1983, it follows that the
expulsion of Mr. Domingo Laino from the country was decreed
administratively, without any type of legal proceedings, and without
recourse to any appeal, as a means of eliminating a political dissident
whom the government considers a threat to its internal security.
5. The liberty of
persons includes the liberty of remaining in the country of which the
person is a citizen and which constitutes the center of his
professional, family and social life. The expulsion of a citizen by his
government, under normal circumstances, is totally excluded by current
human rights norms.
in view of the information related and the considerations made, on the
ground of Articles 48, 49 and 50 of its Regulations.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. To declare that
the Government of Paraguay has violated Articles VIII (right to
residence and movement), XVIII (right to a fair trial), XXV (right of
protection from arbitrary arrest) and XXVI (right to due process of law)
of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
2. To recommend to
the Government of Paraguay: (a) That it take the measures necessary so
that Mr. Domingo Laino may return to his home country, Paraguay, and
enjoy all the rights and guarantees that the Paraguayan Constitution and
its laws and international instruments relating to human rights confer
to him. (b) That it provide for a full and impartial investigation to
determine the persons responsible for the alleged acts and impose on
them the corresponding penalty in accordance with Paraguayan law. (c)
That it report to the Commission within the term of sixty days on the
measures taken to put this recommendation into practice.
3. To communicate
this resolution to the Government of Paraguay.
4. To publish this
resolution in the Annual Report of the Commission to the General
Assembly of the Organization of American States if the Government of
Paraguay does not accept, within the aforementioned term, the