This report covers the activities carried out by the Commission in
The IACHR held its 88th Regular Session on February 6-17, 1995; its
89th special session on April 18-19, 1995; and its 90th regular session on
September 11-21, 1995.
During this session, the Commission elected its Executive Board
consisting of Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, Chairman; Dean Claudio Grossman, First
Vice Chairman; and Ambassador John S. Donaldson, Second Vice Chairman. The other members of the Commission are Dr. Leo Valladares
Lanza, Dr. Patrick Robinson, Dr. Oscar Luján Fappiano, and Professor Michael
The Commission considered and adopted the Annual Report submitted to
the General Assembly at its twenty-fifth regular session.
It also approved a Special Report on the Human Rights Situation in
The Commission continued its analysis of the observance of economic,
social, cultural, and women's rights in the Americas.
The Commission adopted a decision to include in the Annual Report for
1994, reports on the general situation of human rights in Colombia, El
Salvador, Cuba and Guatemala.
The Commission continued to examine the human rights situation in
The Commission received information on the human rights situation in
Chiapas, Mexico, and agreed to continue to monitor developments there.
The Commission deplored the armed conflict between Ecuador and Peru.
During this session, the Commission held hearings during which it
received information from Permanent Representatives of governments accredited to
the OAS, from non-governmental organizations and individuals, and listened to
their testimony and declarations regarding the overall human rights situation in
different states and specific cases currently being handled by the Commission.
The Commission also received a visit from the Chairperson of the Truth
and Justice Commission of Haiti, Dr. Francoise Boucard.
Finally, during this session the Commission also reviewed the proposed
text of a draft inter-American instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples.
89th special session
Taking part in this special session were Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, Dean
Claudio Grossman, Ambassador. John S. Donaldson, Dr. Leo Valladares, Professor
Michael Reisman, and Dr. Patrick Robinson.
The Commission discussed matters relating to the draft declaration on the
rights of indigenous peoples and agreed to certain changes taking into account
the comments and observations put forward by the members during the discussions.
On that occasion, the Commission met with representatives of the Human
Rights Foundation and decided to publicize the project among members of the
legal community in OAS member countries.
The Commission analyzed specific cases in various countries, as well as a
communication from a non-governmental organization regarding independent
representation of petitioners before the Court and certain aspects of their
pleading before the Court.
The Commission also held a retreat during which it examined a number of
pending human rights issues. These
included its own procedural practices.
Taking part in this session were the Chairman, Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía;
First Vice Chairman, Dean Claudio Grossman; Second Vice Chairman, Ambassador
John S. Donaldson; and Dr. Patrick Robinson, Dr. Leo Valladares, Dr. Oscar Luján
Fappiano, and Professor Michael Reisman. During
this session, the Commission received visits from representatives of
governments, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals interested in the
observance and protection of human rights.
It heard testimony regarding the overall situation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms in various states as well as regarding specific cases
currently before the Commission.
The Commission was also visited by three representatives of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, who offered to collaborate with the
The Commission approved various reports on specific cases in different
countries and confirmed its intention to carry out an on site visit to Brazil in
December 1995 and to Venezuela in the first half of 1996, having received
invitations from the Governments of those two member states. The Commission also accepted the invitation by the Government
The Commission approved the preliminary draft Inter-American Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This
document has been sent to the governments of OAS member states, indigenous
organizations, and other entities interested in the subject for comments and
During this session, the Commission adopted amendments to articles 12 and
13, paragraphs 2 and 3; article 19, paragraph 2, letter a; and to article 47,
paragraph 6 of its Regulations. The
new texts read as follows:
The Secretariat of the Commission will consist of an Executive Secretary,
two Assistant Executive Secretaries, and such professional, technical and
administrative staff as are needed to comply with the Commission's tasks.
of the Assistant Executive Secretaries shall stand in for the Executive
Secretary in his absence or because of some impediment.
Executive Secretary, Assistant Executive Secretaries, and Secretariat staff
shall exercise the utmost discretion regarding all matters that the Commission
members may not take part in the discussion, investigation, assessment or
decision regarding an issue submitted to the Commission if
a. They are nationals of the country
under the general or specific review of the Commission or if they are accredited
with that country or are members of a diplomatic mission to it.
Permanent residents in the state under review may abstain from taking
part if they consider that
report will be transmitted to the State concerned, which shall not be authorized
to publish it.
Regarding the special study on prisons, the IACHR resolved to reiterate
to the governments of member states that have not yet done so that they should
send their replies to the questionnaire drawn up by the Commission on this
The Commission expressed its concern regarding the increase in violence
in the Urabá region of Colombia and issued an urgent call for peaceful
coexistence in that part of Colombia, so as to avoid violations of the right to
Finally, the Commission agreed to hold its next regular session from
February 26 to March 8, 1996.
REGULAR SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE OAS
The Commission attended the twenty-fifth regular session of the General
Assembly in Montrouis, Haiti. It
was represented by IACHR Chairman, Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía; the First Vice
Chairman, Dean Claudio Grossman, and the Second Vice Chairman, Ambassador John
Donaldson, assisted by the Executive Secretary, Dr. Edith Márquez, Dr. Domingo
Acevedo, and Dr. Bertha Santoscoy. During
the Assembly, the Ad Hoc Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs paid tribute to
the work carried out by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. During the General Assembly, the IACHR met with the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights and discussed various matters relating to
cases filed by the IACHR.
Various resolutions were adopted at this Assembly, and, in particular,
one on the Annual Report of the IACHR, which reads as follows:
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN
RIGHTS AND SPECIAL REPORT ON THE
RIGHTS IN HAITI
(Resolution adopted at the ninth plenary
held on June 9, 1995)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
HAVING SEEN the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights (CP/doc.2561/95), the special report on the situation of human rights in
Haiti (CP/CAJP-1004/95), the presentation of those reports by the Chair of the
Commission, and the observations and recommendations of the Permanent Council of
the Organization regarding those reports (AG/doc.3202/95); and
That the member states of the Organization of American States have
proclaimed in their Charter as one of its fundamental principles respect for the
rights of the individual without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or
That the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was established by the
Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, held in Santiago,
Chile, in 1959, and that its principal function, according to the OAS Charter,
is to promote the observance and protection of human rights and to serve as a
consultative body of the Organization;
That the ideal of a free human being, unfettered by fear or poverty, can
only be fulfilled if conditions are established which permit all individuals to
enjoy their economic, social, and cultural rights as well as their civil and
That international protection of human rights reinforces or complements
the protection afforded by the domestic laws of member states and is based upon
the attributes of the human being;
That the heads of state and government attending the Summit of the
Americas, held in December 1994, renewed their commitment to further
strengthening the inter-American system for the protection of human rights;
That the return to constitutional order in Haiti has resulted in an
improvement in the status of all human rights, even though problems remain in
this area, highlighting once again the strong links that exist between
democracy, development, and human rights as interdependent, mutually-supportive
That the effective exercise of representative democracy is the best
guarantee that human rights will be fully respected; and
That the member states reaffirm their conviction as to the recognized
inextricable ties between human rights, democracy, and development,
take note of the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(CP/doc.2561/95) and the special report on the situation of human rights in
receive the recommendations and observations presented by the Permanent Council
for consideration by the General Assembly and to transmit them, along with those
set forth in this resolution, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
take note of the comments and observations of the member state governments
regarding the annual report and the steps the governments are taking to
strengthen the promotion, observance, and protection of human rights.
urge those member states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, or accede
to, as the case may be, the American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of
San José," and the other inter-American instruments for the promotion and
protection of human rights.
likewise recommend to the member states that they accept the competence of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to receive and examine communications
from states concerning other states in accordance with Article 45.1 of the
American Convention on Human Rights and that they recognize as binding the
jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
urge member states to guarantee and exercise special vigilance with regard to
the human rights of women, indigenous populations, children, refugees, persons
with disabilities, migrant workers and their families, disenfranchised groups,
minority groups, and victims of racial discrimination; to urge them to bring
about conditions that will foster harmony and tolerance between those groups and
all sectors of society; and to call upon the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights to continue to give priority attention to these matters.
take note of the progress made in the effective observance of human rights in
the region, especially the steps being taken by member states to enhance the
promotion, observance, and protection of human rights in their own countries,
and at the same time to express concern over the persistence of serious human
reiterate the recommendation made to the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights in resolution AG/RES. 1112 (XXI-0/91) that in its Annual Report it
continue to refer to its activities to promote and extend the observance of
human rights in the member states.
urge member states to continue to cooperate with the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights as it conducts on-site visits, in keeping with applicable
provisions, because of their importance to the promotion and protection of human
invite the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to provide cooperation and
assistance, within the framework of strengthening democratic systems and at the
request of the state concerned, in the promotion and protection of human rights,
in coordination with other organs, agencies, and entities of the inter-American
system where appropriate.
emphasize that the incorporation of new rights and freedoms in the system
envisioned in the American Convention on Human Rights, and any other amendment
thereto, must conform to its Articles 31, 76, and 77.
reiterate its most vehement condemnation of domestic and international terrorism
in any shape or form and by any agent and repudiate the grave consequences of
such acts, which, as stated at the Summit of the Americas, "...constitute a
systematic and deliberate violation of the rights of individuals"; and to
take note of the information presented to the member states by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in compliance with paragraph (c) of
resolution AG/RES. 1112 (XXI-0/91) under "Recommendations to the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights," recommending that it continue
to provide such information, for which purpose it shall take account of
information provided by the member states, among other sources.
13. To urge
the member states to continue to provide the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights with assistance and support and with the resources it needs in order to
properly perform its tasks.
express its appreciation to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for
its unflagging efforts during the institutional crisis and the perilous human
rights situation that existed in Haiti.
reiterate that freedom of speech prevails in any democratic society; it should
not be subject to prior censorship but should entail subsequent liability for
any abuse thereof, in accordance with such internal laws as the member states
have legitimately established to guarantee respect for the rights and
reputations of others and to protect national security, law and order, and
public health and morals.
recommend that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights continue to
consider, as a priority, adopting the necessary measures to remedy conditions in
prisons and reduce to a minimum the number of detainees awaiting trial, and to
request that it report thereon to the General Assembly at its next regular
17. To ask
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue to report on action
taken with regard to the Permanent Council's observations and recommendations
forwarded by the General Assembly.
18. To urge
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to continue attaching special
importance to dialogue with the member states concerning progress made and
difficulties encountered in the observance of human rights.
recommend that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in coordination
with the General Secretariat, other OAS bodies, and the Inter-American
Development Bank, consider the possibility of devising plans to promote, teach,
and publicize human rights, both in general and specifically for law enforcement
agents, to be submitted to the Permanent Council for consideration and placed at
the disposal of those member states that so request, if appropriate.
CONDUCTED BY THE COMMISSION
On site visit to Haiti
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visited Haiti from March 20
to March 24 to observe the human rights situation in that country.
The IACHR's special delegation consisted of Dr. Patrick Robinson, a
member of the IACHR, and Dr. Bertha Santoscoy, the lawyer in charge of Haitian
affairs, assisted by Dr. Antonio Añez-García and Mrs. Cecilia Adriazola.
During its stay in Puerto Príncipe, the Delegation met with Mr. Jean
Bertrand Aristide, the President of Haiti.
It also saw the following government authorities:
Mrs. Claudette Werleigh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Jean Joseph
Exume, the Minister of Justice; Mr. Maurice Lafortune, the Minister of Trade and
Industry; and Mr. Evans Paul, the Mayor of Puerto Príncipe.
The Delegation met Ambassador Colin Granderson, Director of the OAS/UNO
Civilian Mission and Mr. Ian Martin, the Mission's Director of Human Rights;
Mrs. Francoise Boucard, Chairman of the Truth and Justice Commission; Mr.
Anselme Rémy and Mrs. Joselyn Lasségue, the representatives of the Provisional
Electoral Committee; and Mr. Nguyen Dong, a United Nations staff member in
charge of technical assistance and coordination of the election process.
In addition the Delegation met Paul Dejean and Necker Dessables of La
Plataforme, a human rights organization; Father Antoine Adrien, a longstanding
representative of the Presidential Commission; and Serges Gilles and Philippe
Sivencon, who represented the Partido Nacional Progresista Haitiano.
On site visit to Brazil
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accepted an invitation from
the Brazilian Government to visit that country on December 4-8 in order to
observe the human rights situation there.
The IACHR delegation consisted of Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, Chairman of
the Commission; Dean Claudio Grossman, First Vice Chairman;
Ambassador John Donaldson, Second Vice Chairman; Dr. Patrick Robinson;
and Dr. Oscar Luján Fappiano. They
were assisted by Ambassador Edith Márquez Rodríguez, Executive Secretary; Dr.
David J. Padilla, Assistant Executive Secretary; Dr. Domingo Acevedo, Legal
Adviser; Dr. Martha Braga; Dr. Osvaldo Kreimer; Dr. Milton Castillo; and Dr.
Felipe Sánchez. Administrative
support was provided by Mrs. Gabriela Hageman, Mrs. Ana Cecilia Adriazola, Mrs.
Martha Keller, and Ms. Tania Hernández.
In order to carry out its observation tasks, the Commission divided
itself into four groups. The first
visited Brasilia and Río de Janeiro; the second worked in Sao Paulo and Río de
Janeiro; the third group visited the states of Bahía and Pernambuco; while the
fourth worked in Pará and Roraima. All
the groups met at the end in Río de Janeiro to evaluate their findings and held
a press conference on Saturday, December 9.
In Brasilia the IACHR met with the President of the Republic, Fernando
Henrique Cardoso, and a large number of other federal state authorities in
Thanks to this monitoring and the contacts established, as well as the
Commission's usual review of the human rights situation in Brazil, it was
possible to obtain an overall assessment of the current state of affairs, in
respect of human rights, in that country. The
IACHR also gathered valuable information to be used in the report it will draw
up regarding this trip.
Visit to the United States
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by invitation of the United
States Government visited a number of so-called Marielito prisoners in various
penal institutions throughout the country.
These included the Lompoc Correction Center in California, and
Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas.
The IACHR delegation in the visit to Califronia consisted of Ambassador
John Donaldson, a member of the Commission; Dr. David Padilla, Assistant
Executive Secretary, Dr. Relinda
Eddie, a lawyer specializing in human rights issues; and Ms. Janet Pahlmeyer
Davies, an interpreter.
Its delegation to Leavenworth consisted of Dr. Patrick Robinson and
Ambassador John Donaldson; Drs. Relinda Eddie and Milton Castillo, lawyers
specializing in human rights issues; and Marjorie Buergenthal and Ronnie Rodríguez,
At both institutions the Commission received information regarding the
prisoners it interviewed and made inquiries concerning the overall accommodation
facilities. The main aspects
addressed were the medical installations and facilities available to Cuban
refugees (Cubanos del Mariel): lodging;
educational opportunities available in the institutions; vocational training and
recreational programs; arrangements for annual reviews of the detention of
already sentenced inmates; the availability of legal advisory services for
inmates; difficulties with respect to visits by relatives living far from the
institution; and disciplinary methods applied at these institutions.
Visit to Colombia
Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, member of the Rapporteur Committee for Colombia
and Dr. Manuel Velasco Clark, the Commission Secretariat's lawyer responsible
for that country visited Santafé de Bogotá on December 11-13, 1995.
The purpose of their trip was to observe how the Government of Colombia
and the petitioners in cases 11.007, 11.141, 11.101, and 11.020 were meeting the
commitments assumed in agreements of understanding signed before the IACHR in
Washington during its 90th session.
During their visit, the IACHR representatives held various working
sessions with the Colombian authorities, with nongovernmental human rights
organizations backing the denunciations, and with relatives of the victims. They also met with members of
the Follow-Up Committee responsible
for monitoring compliance with the recommendations of the Commission
Investigating the Violent Occurrences in Trujillo, as well as with members of
the Committee to promote the Administration of Justice in the case of the
massacres in the Villatina district of Medellín (case 11.141), on the El Nilo
estate in Caloto (case 11.101), and in Los Uvos (case 11.020).
The visit ended with an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Special mission to Guatemala
Dr. David Padilla, Assistant Executive Secretary, made a special trip to
Guatemala on July 5-10, 1995, to seek protection for the prosecuting attorney
whose life had been threatened by paramilitary groups.
This involved a case currently pending before the Commission.
ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
In respect of case 11.009 regarding Mr. Adolfo Garrido and Mr. Raúl
Baigorria who were arrested by the Mendoza Province police on April 28, 1990 and
whose whereabouts has been a mystery since then, the Commission filed a
complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on May 29, 1995.
On September 11, 1995 the Court received a note from the Government of
the Republic of Argentina admitting the events described in the complaint and
the legal consequences deriving from them.
The Court summoned the parties to a hearing on February 1, 1996 in order
to discuss the law in the case.
From March 9 to March 12, 1995, Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, a member of the
Commission and rapporteur for Colombia, and Dr. Manuel Velasco Clark, the IACHR
Secretariat's lawyer in charge of Colombian affairs, travelled to Santafé de
Bogotá, Colombia and subsequently to Bucaramanga in the Department of Santander,
in order to represent the Commission in a judicial procedure ordered by the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights. On
that occasion they recorded the testimony of a former Colombian soldier, Gonzalo
Arias Alturo, regarding his part in the detention and subsequent disappearance
of the trade unionist Isidro Caballero and of María del Carmen Santana in
The witness, Arias Alturo, testified in the offices of the Technical
Enquiries Unit (Cuerpo Técnico de Investigaciones - CTI) of the Attorney
General's Office before the Magistrate commissioned by the Court, Dr. Armando
During their stay in Colombia, the Commission's delegates also
interviewed the Presidential Advisor on Human Rights, the Ombudsman (Defensor
del Pueblo), and other Colombian authorities, as well as the representatives of
some nongovernmental organizations specializing in human rights.
At its Eighteenth Special Session the Court discussed the substantive
issue in the case of Isidro Caballero Delgado and María del Carmen Santana and
pronounced judgment on December 8, 1995. Its
the Republic of Colombia had violated the rights to personal freedom and to life
of the above-mentioned persons.
the Republic of Colombia had not violated the right to personal integrity.
the Republic of Colombia had not violated the obligation to take steps to
implement effectively the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention,
nor to provide judicial guarantees and protection during the process.
the Republic of Colombia had not violated Articles 51.2 and 44 of the
the Republic of Colombia is obliged to continue criminal proceedings in
connection with the disappearance and presumed death of the above-mentioned
persons and to insist on the sanctions contemplated under domestic law.
the republic of Colombia is obliged to pay just compensation to the relatives of
the victims and to reimburse them for the expenses they have incurred in
pursuing this matter with the Colombian authorities.
the type and quantity of compensation and the reimbursement of expenses will be
established by this Court and that the appropriate proceedings to this effect
are now open.
On December 22, 1995, the Commission filed a complaint against the
Republic of Ecuador in case 11.273 regarding Rafael Iván Suárez Rosero.
Mr Suárez has been under preventive arrest since June 23, 1992 without
being tried or informed of the charges against him.
The Commission has requested the Court to determine whether the Republic
of Ecuador is responsible for violating articles 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, and 25 of the
American Convention on Human Rights.
In a resolution dated June 4, 1995, the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights ordered urgent measures to be taken to protect the lives and personal
integrity of witnesses María Elena Arrivillaga de Carpio, Karen Fischer de
Carpio, Mario López Arrivillaga, and Angel Isidro Girón Girón, as well as
those of Abraham Méndez García, the attorney in the case investigating the
death of Jorge Carpio Nicolle in case 11.333.
These measures were later extended in favor of Lorraine Maric Fischer
At its Thirty-Third Regular Session, the Inter-American Court heard the
arguments of the Commission and of the Government of Guatemala with regard to
the above-mentioned provisional measures.
After listening to the statements of the parties, the Court resolved:
ratify the provisional measures previously ordered by the Court.
2. To require that the parties
inform the Court periodically concerning the implementation of those measures.
At the same session, the Court heard the arguments of the parties
regarding the preliminary exceptions interposed by the Government of Guatemala
in the Paniagua Morales case, known as the "Panel Blanca" case, in
which alleged members of the Estate Police (Guardia de Hacienda) kidnapped and
murdered several civilians in 1987 and 1988.
On August 3, 1995 the Commission submitted for consideration by the Court
a complaint against the Republic of Guatemala related to case 11.219, which
deals with the forced disappearance, brought about by Guatemalan security
forces, of Mr. Nicholas Chapman Blake, a United States journalist whose
disappearance took place in 1985. His
remains were discovered in 1992.
The Guatemalan Government has interposed three preliminary exceptions.
For its part, the Court convoked a public hearing on January 28, 1996 to deal
with the preliminary exceptions put forward by that Government.
At its Eighteenth Special Session, the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights began its examination of the merits in the Genie Lacayo case.
Thereafter the Court received the testimony of three witnesses presented
by the Commission. They were: Mr.
Raymond Genie Peñalba, Ms. Alicia Duarte Bojorge, and Mr. Hernaldo Zúñiga
Montenegro, presented by the Commission.
The Court had previously held a public hearing to deal with a refusal to
appear and objections to various witnesses in the case.
During that hearing, the Court heard the arguments presented by the
Government of Nicaragua and by the Inter-American Commission.
On November 28, 1995, the Court resolved on this as follows:
reject the refusal to appear and objections presented by the Government of the
Republic of Nicaragua to the above-mentioned witnesses.
authorize the President of the Court to convoke a public hearing whenever he
should deem it appropriate to receive the witnesses' statements.
The date chosen is September 5, 1996.
On January 19, 1995, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights passed
judgment in the Neira Alegría and Others case and declared, inter alia,
that Peru is obliged to pay the relatives of the victims in this case just
compensation and to reimburse them for expenses incurred in the actions they
undertook before the Peruvian authorities.
The Court also established that "the form and amount of the
compensation and reimbursement of expenses shall be fixed by Peru and the
Commission in common accord within six months of notification of the
Due to the Peruvian State's failure to reply, the Commission has not been
able to conduct any kind of negotiation regarding this matter. In
Resolution 1 of August 1, 1995, the Court granted the Commission until September
30 to provide and present a document and evidence substantiating appropriate
reparation and expenses in this case. On
September 30, in compliance with this Court order, the Commission submitted to
it a document calling for the payment of compensation and expenses in accordance
with the Court's resolution.
Complying with a decision taken by the Commission at its Eighty-seventh
session, on January 11, 1995 the Commission submitted for consideration by the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights two complaints against the Peruvian State.
The first refers to case 11.154 (María Elena Loayza) and the other to
case 10.733 (Ernesto Castillo Páez). Both
complaints are being processed and the Government has been formally notified.
On September 23, 1995 a hearing took place at the Court's headquarters in
order to hear the arguments of the parties concerning the preliminary exceptions
interposed by the Peruvian State.
From October 23 to 27, 1995 a special IACHR delegation was in Venezuela
for a meeting with Deputy Walter Márquez, the legal representative of the
victims in the "El Amparo" case.
The purpose of the meeting was to arrive at a joint agreement on
reparations and indemnifications to the families of the victims and survivors of
the "El Amparo" killings, which case is pending in the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights. The IACHR
delegation consisted of Dr. Oscar Luján Fappiano, member of the Commission and
delegate for the case before the Court, and Dr. Milton Castillo, lawyer of the
Executive Secretariat. The
delegation had the administrative support of Mrs. Cecilia Adriazola.
WITH THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TRUTH AND JUSTICE IN HAITI
In 1995 the Inter-American Commission supported the National Commission
on Truth and Justice in Haiti (CNVJ).
The Truth Commission has Haitian and international members, and
established by Presidential Decree on March 28, 1995, to determine the truth
regarding the gravest violations of human rights committed between September 29,
1991, and October 15, 1994.
As part of the support provided, the Commission sent the CNVJ the Special
Reports on the Human Rights Situation in Haiti that had been prepared during the
tenure of the de facto regime, and information that the complainants
had duly authorized for transmission. In
addition, the Secretariat appointed Dr. Bertha Santoscoy as legal adviser to the
According to the reports presented by Dr. Santoscoy, who served as
Director of the CNVJ's Investigative Unit for the first four months, the first
stage of the investigation began in July with the participation of 50
investigators assigned to gather information on human rights abuses in every
part of the country. Also in this
initial stage, the locations were identified at which victims might be buried so
that preparations could be made for the work of the group of forensic experts.
It had been agreed that the second stage, that of examination of complaints,
would be carried out at the end of September.
Later the CNVJ will prepare its final report for presentation to the President
of the Republic so that he may decide on its publication.
During this period the Commission received a grant from the Canadian
Government of approximately $30,000 to expedite the computerized follow-up of
cases and denunciations, streamline procedures, to make registration of events
and exchanges of documents more reliable, and to facilitate supervision of
tasks. The Commission is working in
cooperation with the Center for Research and Development of Human Rights of the
University of Ottawa and with the Canadian Commission of Human Rights (a
In the OAS's public information home page on the Internet, the IACHR is
including the basic documents of the Inter-American system and all the annual
and special reports, and reports on individual cases, that the Commission has
produced. This ensures electronic
access to these materials and makes it possible to carry out subject searches.
As part of the work of promoting human rights, several members of the Commission and staff of the Secretariat participated in meetings, conferences and seminars on human rights arranged by different institutions in member states of the OAS and in other countries.