doc. 6
1 July 1985
Original:  Spanish







A.          Organization of the State


1.          The Constitution in force in Bolivia was approved by a Constituent Assembly that met from 1966 to 1967, and was enacted on February 2, 1967, by the then-President, General René Barrientos.


2.          This Constitution adopted the democratic, representative form of government on the basis of the fact that sovereignty rests with the people.  Inalienable and absolute exercise of that sovereignty is delegated to the legislative, executive and judicial powers, powers which cannot be invested in a single organ.1


3.          The legislative power is composed of a bicameral National Congress.  The two chambers are the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.  The deputies are elected by universal and direct suffrage, by a simple plurality of votes and with proportional representation of minorities.  The law establishes the number of deputies on the basis of geographic density.  Deputies hold office for four years.


The Chamber of Senators is composed of three senators from each department.  They, too, are elected through direct and universal suffrage, two for the majority and one for the minority.  The legislative power establishes and approves laws, repeals them, amends them or interprets them, in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.2


4.          One of the powers that the Constitution invests in the legislature concerns its role as a political check on executive decisions while a state of siege is in effect.  Article 111 of the Constitution states that “If the Congress should meet in regular or extraordinary session while the Republic or a portion thereof is in a state of siege, the continuation of such state of siege must have legislative authorization.  The same procedure shall apply if a decree of state of siege is issued by the executive power while the chambers are in session.”  This article also provides that for the executive to be able to extend a state of siege or declare another state of siege within the same year, the consent of the Congress is required.


5.          Article 82 of the Constitution provides that during the Congressional recess, a Congressional Committee shall function, presided over by the Vice President of the Republic.  Among other functions, it must monitor the observance of the Constitution and respect for civil guarantees.


6.          The executive power is exercised by the president of the Republic, in conjunction with the ministers of state.  The president is elected by direct suffrage, as is the Vice President.  The constitutional term of office is four years, without extension.  Neither the President nor the Vice president can be reelected until four years have elapsed since termination of his constitutional mandate.  Article 90 established the mechanism for electing a president should none of the candidates obtain the required majority.


The Constitution states that in the event of the president’s temporary disability or absence, he shall be replaced by the vice president and, in the vice-president’s absence, by the president of the Senate, the president of the Chamber of deputies, and the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, in that order.3


“As long as the vice president does not exercise the executive power, he shall serve as president of the Senate, without prejudice to the election by that body of a president to take his place in his absence.”4


Among the functions of the head of the executive branch of the government, the president must preserve and defend the internal order and the external security of the Republic (Article 96, paragraph 18); designate the representative of the executive power on the Electoral Courts (Article 96, paragraph 23), and grant amnesties for political offenses, without prejudice to those that may be granted by the legislative power (Article 96, paragraph 13).  Finally, the president, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, may declare a state of siege in such portion of the territory as may be necessary (Article 111), within the constitutional limitations which will be discussed further on.5


7.          The judicial power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice, the Superior District Courts, and any other courts and tribunals that may be established by law.  The administration of justice is gratis and no extraordinary courts or tribunals may be established.6


The justices on the Supreme Court of Justice are elected by the Chamber of deputies from slates of three proposed by the Senate; the magistrates on the District Courts are elected by the Senate by an absolute majority of votes, from slates of three proposed by the Supreme Court of Justice.  The judges are independent in the administration of justice and are subject only to the law.  Further, the judicial power enjoys economic autonomy, and has its own budget administered by the Supreme Court of Justice.7


In accordance with Article 122 of the Constitution, the regular courts are to take cognizance of all litigation between private parties and between such parties and the State when the latter acts as a person under private law.  They also decide direct appeals for annulment brought against any act or resolution of any public authority other than judicial.


The justices on the Supreme Court hold office for ten years; judges on the District Courts hold office for six years, while sectional judges (jueces de partido) and examining judges (instructors) hold office for four years.  No magistrate may be removed or suspended except by final judicial decisions or in those cases determined by law.8


One of the fundamental powers of the Supreme Court is to preserve the Constitution.  Article 127 stipulates that the Supreme Court is “To take cognizance of, in sole instance, questions of pure law wherein the decisions rest upon the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a law, decree, or resolution of any kind.”  It is also empowered to the cognizance, in sole instance, of suits against the resolutions of the legislative power, whenever such resolutions may affect one or more concrete right, either civil or political.


8.          By the terms of Articles 129 and 130 of the Constitution, the public ministry represents the State and society and is exercised by committees appointed by the legislative chambers, by the attorney general, by district attorneys and by any other officials, who by law, are members of the public ministry.  The attorney general is appointed by the President from a slate of three proposed by the Senate and holds office for ten years.  The only way he can be removed from office is by virtue of a sentence of conviction.


9.          The third part of the Constitution concerns special regimes.  Among these, the following merit particular mention: the social regime; the agrarian and rural labor regime; the cultural regime; the family regime, and the electoral regime which sets forth matters related to the electoral system, suffrage, political parties and electoral bodies.9


10.          The Constitution is the supreme law of the legal system and the principles, guarantees and rights recognized therein may not be altered by laws governing their exercise.10


11.          The Constitution may be amended in part, in the manner prescribed by the Constitution.  The need for the amendment must be specified precisely in an ordinary law approved by two thirds of the members present in each of the chambers.  The law declaring the amendment cannot be vetoes by the executive power, which must enact it.


B.       The System of Individual Rights and Guarantees


1.          Titles One and Two of Part One of the Constitution, entitled “The Person as a Member of the State,” contain the rights and duties of the individual; his individual guarantees, and the juridical measures established for his protection.11


2.          The Constitution provides that no type of servitude is recognized and no one shall be compelled to render personal services without his full consent and due compensation.  The individual rights established in Title one include the following:


        Equality before the law, without distinction as to race, sex language, religion, political or other opinion, origin, economic or social condition, or any other;


        The right to live, health and security;


        The right to express ideas and opinions freely;


        The right to meet and associate for lawful purposes;


        The right to work and to engage in commerce, industry or any other lawful activity, under conditions that do not injure the collective welfare;


        The right to receive an education and acquire culture;


        The right to teach under the supervision of the State;


        The right to enter, remain in, travel through and leave the national territory;


        The right to make decisions, individually or collectively;


        The right to private property, provided it fulfills the social function;


        The right to fair remuneration for work, and


        The right to social security, in the form of determined by the Constitution and the laws.


3.          Title Two establishes the following:


        Protection against arbitrary arrest;


        A prohibition against any kind of torture, coercion, extortion or any form of physical or moral violence;


        No one may be tried by special commission or brought before judges other than those appointed prior to the commission of the offense;


        The inviolability of the right of defense;


         The presumption of the innocence of the accused;


         The right of justice and due process;


         The benefit of the law in criminal matters;


         The right to the remedy of Habeas Corpus and the remedy of Amparo;


         The inviolability of correspondence;


          The inviolability of the home, and


          The right to vote and to participate in government.


4.          The rights and guarantees listed below are set forth in Part Three of the Constitution, which concerns the special regimes.  These rights are as follows:


In social matters:


         Freedom of employers to form associations (Article 159);


         The right to unionize (Article 159);


         The right to strike (Article 159);


Under the agrarian and rural labor regime:


        The existence of communal, cooperative and private ownership of land is guaranteed (Article 167);


        The existence of rural labor organizations is guaranteed;


In cultural matters:


        The freedom to teach under the supervision of the State is guaranteed.  (Article 177);


        Freedom of religious instruction is guaranteed (Article 182);


In family matters:


         Marriage, the family and motherhood are under the protection of the State (Article 193);


        All children, regardless of origin, have equal rights and duties in respect of their parents (Article 195);


        The State shall protect the physical, mental and moral health of children and shall uphold the rights of children to a home and to an education (Article 199);


On electoral matters:


        Suffrage is guaranteed and is based on universal, direct and equal, individual and secret, free and obligatory voting, under public scrutiny and based on the system of proportional representation (Article 219);


        The right to be elected (Article 221);


        The right to organize into political parties, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Law (Article 222);


         The autonomy, independence and impartiality of the electoral organs are guaranteed (Article 226).


Finally, it must be pointed out that in Article 35, the Constitution expressly provides that the declarations, rights and guarantees listed in the Constitution shall not be taken as a denial of other rights and guarantees not set forth therein, which emanate from the sovereignty of people and from the republican form of government.


C.       The Current Legal System and Restrictions on Individual Rights and


1.          The 1967 Constitution is in force, but under the restrictions announced by the Government itself when it assumed command of the nation; in other words, all provisions that do not contravene the basic purpose of the National Reconstruction process remain in effect.  Thus, the constitutional system is applied so long as there is no conflict of interest between the provisions of the Constitution and the provisions adopted by the military government.


2.          With the military insurrection of July 17, 1980, the political organization of the State to which this commission made reference earlier, was substantially modified through the proclamation entitled “Participation of the Armed Forces in the currently Political Process.”  With this proclamation, such measures as the following were adopted:  a) to disregard the results of the elections held on June 29, alleging that they were fraudulent; b) to declare the functioning of the Congress and any measures it may have adopted to be unconstitutional; c) to place the government of National Reconstruction in the hands of junta composed of the commanders of the country’s three armed forces and which will appoint one of its members as president of the Republic; d) to honor all international pacts and agreements signed by Bolivia and to maintain diplomatic ties with all those countries that respect Bolivian sovereignty and its right to self-determination; e) to draft statutes to govern the political parties; f) to set down the appropriate laws on labor and union matters so as to normalize their activities; g) to declare the militarization of the entire national territory, by putting military law into full effect, and h) to preserve the 1967 Constitution in respect to all aspects that do not contravene the purposes and objectives of the new Government.


The Governing Junta thus assumed the functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers and also exercised the constituent power by disregarding the outcome of the elections that chose the National congress which, in turn, was to have exercised its constitutional mandate to elect the new president, since the candidate who won the election did not obtain the legal majority required in the Constitution.


3.          These as well as those other provisions to which the Commission will refer affect the full observance and exercise of the human rights set forth in the American Convention and recognized in the Constitution.


4.          Other provisions that limit the functioning of the State powers to the detriment of fundamental guarantees are the following:  Decree 17531, of July 21, 1980, whereby the leadership of the trade unions, business associations, professional associations, and associations of working and nonworking laborers were suspended, and Decree 17536 of July 30, 1980 which instituted patriotic service to the State, which all citizens in exercise of their civil rights are compelled to render.


Special mention should be made of decree Law 17607, of September 17, 1980.  Through this Decree Law, the Government of National reconstruction decreed that the National Constitution of February 2, 1967, was valid in keeping with the basic objectives of the National Reconstruction process.12  The decree also upheld the validity of the Civil Code, the Civil Procedural Code, the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedural Code, the Family Code, the Minors Code, all Commerce Code, and Law Governing the Organization of the Judiciary and all those legal and administrative provisions neither expressly amended nor repealed.


Through Decree Law 17608 of September 17, 1980, the President created the National Advisory and Legislative Commission, empowered to help draft and revise laws, decrees and other resolutions and to advise the President and the Junta on political, economic, institutional, social and international matters.  This same decree established the procedure to be followed by that Commission (“CONAL”) where legislation was concerned.  This body, which took over some of the functions of the legislative power, acted on its own authority and in constant coordination with the Office of the President or the Junta.13  The members of CONAL were appointed by the President, in consultation with the Junta.14


On September 17, 1980, the President ordered a nation-wide reappointment of the Judiciary.  Through Decree 17612, he appointed the new members of the Supreme Court, the magistrates on the Superior District Courts, the sectional judges and the examining judges in the civil, criminal and family courts of the departmental capitals.


On July 17, 1981, the first anniversary of the military insurrection, the Junta not only confirmed General García Meza as president, but also introduced a number of changes in the Government Statute which did not alter the substance of the standards cited earlier.  In the Statute, the Junta undertakes the functions of the legislative power and is ratified as the supreme organ of the Bolivian State and the body that will steer the process of National Reconstruction.  Other provision are as follows:  The Junta has full command of the armed forces; it has authority over the Ministers of State; its members enjoy the immunities and privileges of the President of the Republic; the President must consult the Junta in advance with respect to basic decisions involving political, social, economic, international and military matters; the Statue and the basic documents of the National Reconstruction process may be modified only by a unanimous decision of the members of the Junta; the President, with the consent of the Junta, may appoint the justices on the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and the Comptroller General.


With the resignation of General García Meza on August 4, 1981, which will be mentioned in Chapter IV of this Report, the Junta assumed governance of the nation on a temporary and associate basis.  Later, by a Supreme Decree of August 26, the Junta established the regulations to govern the associate form of government and reconfirmed the validity of the 1967 Constitution insofar as it does not contradict the various measures adopted by the Military Government.  In that same decree, the Military Government also confirmed all administrative, judicial and institutional acts adopted by the Junta s of the date on which in undertook administration of the National Reconstruction process.


5.          The Commission wishes to point out that the constitutional and legal framework as limited by the provisions enacted by the new Government, creates a legal system that, while leaving the principal laws in effect, nevertheless affects the protection of fundamental human rights and suspends other rights recognized by the Constitution and established in international instruments on this subject.


Further, the reports that the IACHR has received indicated that the Bolivian authorities have acted with total disregard for the laws in force, repeatedly transgressed the very spirit of the Constitution and acted in a manner contrary to the purposes of the announced program of National Reconstruction.  This will be analyzed carefully in the corresponding chapters of the present report.


D.         State of Siege under the Bolivian Regime


1.          As a constitutional precept, state of siege is set forth in Bolivia’s Constitution as an exceptional measure to preserve public order in cases of grave danger caused by internal disorder or international war.15


The head of the executive power is empowered to exercise this measure.  With the approval of the Council of Ministers, the Chief of state may declare a state of siege in such portion of the territory as may be necessary.


2.          As pointed out earlier, if the Congress should convene while the state of siege is in effect, the state of siege must have legislative authorization to remain in effect.  The same is true if the chambers are in session.


The state of siege is eminently temporary in nature.  Thus, the Constitution states that if not lifted within ninety days, it shall expire ipso facto, except in the case of civil or international war.  The measures adopted are also temporary in nature.  Article 111 provides that those persons who have been subject to restrictions shall be set free, unless they have been placed under the jurisdiction of competent courts.


The state of siege cannot be extended beyond ninety days, nor can another state of siege be declared within the same year without congressional authorization.


3.          Article 112 lists the effects of a declaration of a state of siege, and specifically points out that the rights and guarantees granted by the Constitution shall not be suspended by the mere declaration of a state of siege.


The guarantees and rights of persons charged upon good grounds with conspiring against the public order can be suspended, subject to the following limitations:


a.       The legitimate authority may issue summonses or arrest warrants against the accused, who must be brought before the competent judge within forty-eight hours;


b.       If the preservation of public order necessitates the removal of the accused, they may be ordered confined to a departmental or provincial capital that is not unhealthful;


c.       Banishment for political reasons is prohibited, but a person confined, sought or under arrest on such grounds, who requests a passport to leave the country, may not be denied it for any reason whatever and the authorities must grant him the guarantees necessary for that purpose;


d.       Persons carrying out orders which violate the above guarantees may be tried at any time, even if the state of siege has ended, as guilty of an offense against the constitutional guarantees, and the fact that they obeyed superior orders shall not serve as an excuse;


e.       International war is the only case where censorship of correspondence and all publications media may be established.


4.          The National Congress serves as a political check on the executive’s exercise of the powers of the state of siege.  It is provided that the executive must submit a complete account to the Congress of the reasons why the state of siege was declared, give the outcome of the judicial proceedings ordered and suggest measures necessary to meet obligations incurred through direct loans and the collection of taxes in advance.  Congress must make a decision, by either approving what was done or establishing the responsibility of the executive power.  The congress is empowered to conduct the necessary investigation.


5.          Finally, Article 115 stipulates that neither congress nor any association or public gathering may grant to the executive power extraordinary powers, the whole of public power, or give it supremacy by which the life, the honor and the property of Bolivians shall be at the mercy of the government or of any person whatsoever.


6.          Since the time of the proclamation of the “Participation of the Armed Forces in the Current Political Process,” which placed the entire country under military law and imposed an indefinite curfew, the new government of Bolivia has ignored the limitations imposed by the Constitution itself in the event of irregular situations, by failing to comply with clearly defined provisions that restrict its action and seek to guarantee the essential rights of the citizenry in times of juridical abnormality.


E.       Other Laws


1.          Without attempting an exhaustive analysis of the other laws in force in Bolivia, in this section the Commission will discuss those other laws that in its view have some bearing upon the protection of human rights and are in force at the present time:


a)          Penal Code, enacted through the Supreme Decree No. 10426 of August 23, 1972.  In Book Two, this Code lists the crimes against the security of the State.  In Chapter II it establishes the crimes against the internal security of the State, while Chapter IV lists the crimes against international law.  With respect to crimes against the internal security of the state, mention should be made of Article 121 concerning “armed insurrections against the security and sovereignty of the state,” which establishes the following:  Those who take up arms to alter the Constitution or the form of government established therein, depose some of the public powers of the National Government or prevent, albeit temporarily, the free exercise of their constitutional powers or their reappointment to office shall be liable to a punishment of five to fifteen years imprisonment.”  (The underlining is ours).


“Those who organize or form groups of armed irregulars, be they urban or rural, under internal or foreign influence, to encourage armed confrontations with regular forces or the police, or to perpetrate assaults against the life and security of persons, the territorial integrity of the State shall be liable to a punishment of fifteen to thirty years imprisonment.”


The Commission also wishes to point to Article 138 in the chapter on crimes against international law.  That article addresses the crime of genocide and provides that “Any individual who, intent upon the total or partial destruction of a national, ethnic or religious group, either kills or injures members of the group, subjects them to inhumane living conditions, imposes upon them measures designed to prevent their procreation or uses violence to remove children or adults to other groups, shall be punished by ten to twenty years imprisonment.”  “The author or authors of bloody massacres within the country or any other individual either directly or indirectly responsible for same shall be liable to the same punishment.  If the guilty individual(s) is a public official or civil servant, he or she shall receive an additional 100 t0 500 days imprisonment.”


The importance of these laws will be seen in the chapters of this Report.


b.          Penal Procedural Code, enacted by Supreme Decree No. 10426, of August 23, 1972.  This Code repealed the penal procedural code enacted through a law of August 6, 1898, and any other conflicting provisions.


c.          Civil and Civil Procedural Codes, enacted through Legislative Decree 12760, of August 8, 1975.  In Title VII the Civil Procedural Code establishes the procedure for the proceedings and remedies provided for in the Constitution.  Of these, mention should be made of the proceedings of unconstitutionality or non applicability, the remedy of habeas corpus, the remedy of amparo, and the direct remedy of nullity.  Supreme Court review of the decision is provided for in respect to the first three cases.


d.          Family Code, enacted through Supreme Decree No. 10426 of August 23, 1972, and which governs the entire legal system relative to the family.


e.          Minors Code, enacted through Legislative Decree No. 12538 of May 30, 1975, and which governs the exercise, enjoyment and guarantees of the rights of minors within Bolivian territory.


f.          Law Governing the Organization of the Judiciary, enacted through Legislative Decree No. 10267, of May 19, 1972.


g.          Law on the Organization of the Military Judiciary, enacted through Decree Law No. 13,321 of January 22, 1976.  It is composed of two sections and 123 articles.  The first section concerns the Tribunals of Military Justice, military jurisdiction in times of peace and the organization of military justice in general.  The second section deals solely with military jurisdiction in wartimes.


It should be pointed out that Article 105 of this law establishes national jurisdiction by providing that the jurisdiction of the military court in wartime is the entire territory of the Republic.  Territories declared to be military zones also fall under military jurisdiction, even in times of peace.  (The underlying is ours)


As was seen earlier, when the Armed Forces took power they placed the entire country under military law, thereby making the Military Codes applicable to civilians and transferring competence to hear cases involving criminal acts provided for under criminal laws from the regular judges to military judges.


Despite the foregoing, the Commission has no knowledge and has received no information to indicate systematic, arbitrary or prolonged application of the standards of military criminal justice in trying civilians.


h.          Military Penal Code, enacted through Decree Law 13321 of January 22, 1976.  This Code is divided into three books.  The first is general in nature and concerns the application of the Military Penal Law, the crime, the criminal and the punishment.  The second and third books refer to the crimes against the security of the State, duty and military honor, and crimes against military personnel and against the property of the armed forces.


The Military Penal Code establishes the death penalty for treason in its various forms, disloyalty and espionage.


i.          Code of Military Penal Procedure, enacted Decree Law 13321 of January 22, 1976.  This code establishes the general and specific principles of procedure in this field.


F.       Human Rights and the International Legal System


1.          Bolivia is a member of such international organizations as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, whose charters uphold protection and respect for human rights.  Bolivia has participated in a number of meetings, among them the Paris and Bogotá meetings that adopted the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, respectively.


2.          Bolivia deposited the instrument of accession to the American Convention on Human Rights or Pact of San José, Costa Rica, on July 19, 1979.  The President of the nation at that time was General David Padilla Arancibia.  Prior to that, through Supreme Decree 16575, the Bolivian Government has declared its accession to this inter-American legal instrument, and had pledged to observe it.


3.          The Bolivian Republic has also signed or ratified various international legal codes related to this topic.  These include the following:  the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; The Inter-American Convention on Asylum; the Convention on the Rights and Duties of States in Cases of Civil War; the Convention on Political Asylum; the Inter-American Convention on Political Rights of Women; the Inter-American Convention on Diplomatic Asylum; the Inter-American Convention on Territorial Asylum; ILO Convention No. 87, concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Rights to Organization; ILO Convention No. 98 concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organization and to Bargain Collectively; ILO Convention No. 100 concerning equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value; ILO Convention No. 102 concerning Minimum Standards of Social Security, and ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation.15


G.       Bolivia and the American Convention on Human Rights


1.          By virtue of its accession to the American Convention, Bolivia undertook to respect the rights and freedoms upheld in that Convention and to guarantee their free and full exercise, in accordance with Article 1 thereof.


2.          Chapter IV of the Convention deals with suspension of guarantees.  Article 27.1 states that in time of war, public danger, or other emergency that threatens the independence or security of a State Party, it may take measures that, to the extent and for the period of time strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, suspend its obligations under the present Convention, with certain limitations.  The underlining is ours.)


3.          The text of Article 27.2 of the Convention is very clear.  The provision contained in paragraph 1 of that article does not authorize any suspension of the right to juridical personality, the right to life, but right to humane treatment, freedom from slavery, freedom from ex post facto laws, freedom of conscience and religion, the rights of the family, the right to a name, the rights of children, the right to nationality, the right to participate in government, or the right to the legal guarantees essential to the protection of such rights.


As for the other rights set forth in the Convention, Article 27.3 provides for certain formal requirements over and above the substantive requirements mentioned above, in order for a state to be able to exercise the right to the suspension.


Those requirements are as follows:


a.       It must immediately inform the other states parties to the Convention, through the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, of the provisions the application of which has been suspended;


b.       The reasons that gave rise to the suspension; and


c.       The date set for the termination of such suspension.


5.          In the case that concerns us, that is, the State of Bolivia vis-à-vis the Convention, a distinction must be made between those rights that can be suspended provided the substantive conditions and formal requirements described earlier are met, and those that cannot be suspended under any circumstances and whose nonobservance would be contrary to the spirit and letter of the Pact of San José, Costa Rica.


6.          In the first of these situations, we find that with the military coup of July 17, 1980, the Government of Bolivia suspended the right to meet; freedom of association; freedom of thought and expression; the right to personal freedom and the right to movement and residence, by declaring the entire country to be a military zone; it retained the current Constitution only insofar as it did not contravene the objectives of the new Government, and supplemented by the measures adopted in the days and months subsequent to July 17, 1980.


The Commission finds no direct causal relationship between the acts of opposition that the military declaration occasioned and the actions and decisions the Bolivian authorities took, at times legally and at other times ipso facto.  In the Commission’s opinion, the Bolivian authorities took, at times legally and at other times ipso facto.  In the Commission’s opinion the Bolivian authorities exceeded the limits of state action by disregarding the restrictions on the use of such measures stipulated in the American Convention both with respect to the gravity of the situation and the period of time such measures should remain in effect.


Furthermore, the Commission has no knowledge to the effect that the military Government of Bolivia has made proper use of the constitution and legal powers that would allow it, by the very terms of the Constitution, to suspend certain individual rights and guarantees for reasons of public order, thereby respecting the content of the Convention.


As for the formal requirements, Bolivia has not yet complied with the obligation to inform the other states parties to the Convention, through the General Secretariat of the Organization, of the provisions whose observance it has suspended, the reasons for that suspension and the date set for the termination of such suspension.


7.          Political rights are among the rights that cannot be suspended under any circumstances.  In the list contained in article 27.2, political rights are among those not subject to suspension by the States.

[ Table of ContentsPrevious  | Next ]


1.  Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

2.  Articles 46, 59, 60 and 63 of the Constitution.

3.  Articles 87 and 93 of the Constitution.

4.  Article 94 of the Constitution.

5.  Article 96-13, 96-18, 96-23, and 111 of the Convention.

6.  Article 116 of the Constitution.

7.  Articles 117, 119, 125, and 127 of the Constitution.

8.  Article 126 of the Constitution.

9.  The constitutional regime for these topics will be analyzed in greater detail in the corresponding chapters.

10.  Articles 228 and 229 of the Constitution.

11.  Articles 5 through 35 of the Constitution.

12.  In its preamble, the Decree states the following:  “That in compliance with their constitutional mandate to defend and preserve national independence, the security and the stability of the republic and the national honor and sovereignty, the Armed Forces of the Nation have undertaken the leadership of the nation to carry out extensive national reconstruction; that despite a succession of internal governments and the orderly functioning of the honorable national Congress, those governments have made no statement as to the validity of the bodies of fundamental laws in the country, to guarantee the State of Law; that for the Government of National Reconstruction to exercise fully the power it now holds, the State of Law must be restored for the sake of proper administration of justice in all realms of Bolivian life.”

13.  On April 6, 1981, President García Meza ordered CONAL to make its priority a comprehensive draft of a new constitution, “in keeping with the new needs of the Republic and with a view toward development based on sovereignty, permanent participation on the part of the national majority, and a solid and lasting institutional stability.”  Thus, the Military Government assigned the functions of the constituent power to this Commission.

14.  According to information the Commission has obtained, on September 10, 1981, the Military Government of General Celso Torrelio Villa ordered the dissolution of the National Advisory and Legislative Commission (CONAL), which had been the target of severe criticism on the part of various sectors, which questioned its legality and strongly opposed its mandate to draft a new constitution.


15.  Articles 111 through 115 of the Constitution.

15.  It is important to recall that when the Armed Forces took power, their proclamation of July 17 stated that they would continue to honor and uphold all the pacts and treaties to which Bolivia was party.