Case No. 1736 (Honduras)

Case 1736, March 8, 1972, denouncing the death of severe agricultural workers and the arbitrary arrest of others, members of the "Liga Campesina." The events are alleged to have occurred on February 18, 1972, in the town of Talanquera, Department of Olancho, with the intervention of the armed forces and several landowners of the area, who were named as those responsible for plotting and carrying out the aforementioned acts.

By a note dated March 29, 1972, the Commission requested the appropriate information on this case from the Government of Honduras, in accordance with articles 42 and 44 of its Regulations.

That government, by a note of April 13, 1972, informed the CIDH that the appropriate agencies had been apprised of the case.

The Commission studied this case at its Twenty-ninth Session (October 1972). Taking into account the response from the Honduran Government, as well as the fact that the claimants had not supplied information on the exhaustion of the internal legal remedies of the Republic of Honduras, the Commission decided to send the government of that country another communication, informing it of the seriousness of the events denounced and requesting that it "submit information which would allow an examination of the case, extending for 60 days the term provided for in Article 51 of the Regulations," and to request the claimants to complete the denunciation in accordance with Article 54 of the Regulations.

Pursuant to that decision, the Commission addressed the Government of Honduras in a note dated November 1, 1972, and the claimants on November 15, 1972.

In a note of December 19, 1972, the Government of Honduras replied to the foregoing request, forwarding a copy of the report of the Investigating Committee appointed to shed light on the events in Olancho. In addition, the Honduran Government offered to submit supplementary information on the result of the actions taken by the competent judicial authorities in that jurisdiction. Thus, in a note of January 5, 1973, the government sent a copy of the report of the Supreme Court of Honduras on the case. One section of that report states the following:

"This Supreme Court has understood that the conclusions of the Honduran judicial authorities on the events at La Talanquera, about which the Commission on Human Rights of the OAS desires to be informed, refer to the final decisions which the jurisdictional power in our country can reach in its cognizance of those deplorable events. To date definitive decisions have not been handed down in either of the two cases that were brought as a result of those circumstances; although in one of them - that relating to the denunciation made against agricultural workers who were alleged to have been involved in those events - a verdict has been reached which would free them, since no merit has been found for their detention.

"According to our criminal procedure, the release of those workers will be definitively ratified by dismissal of the charges, to judge from the summary information gathered. Such dismissal of the charges given with all of the legal formalities is equivalent to a definitive veredict, with regard to the facts themselves as well as to further reponsibilities, if there are any."

In accordance with its Regulations, the Commission sent the claimants, in a note of January 31, 1973, the pertinent parts of the data submitted by the Government of Honduras. In a communication of March 3, 1973, the claimants presented observations and comments on the case, particularly on the information submitted by the Government of Honduras.

The Commission began its examination of Case 1736 at its Thirtieth Session (April 1973), having available the data supplied by the Government of Honduras and the observations and comments of the claimants.

Pursuant to the recommendations of the rapporteur appointed at that session (Professor Manuel Bianchi), the Commission decided to transmit to the Honduran Government the pertinent parts of the observations and comments of the claimants in order to give the government an opportunity to reply to them. To that end, the Commission sent the Government of Honduras a note dated June 15, 1973.

In a note of June 30, 1973 (No.1236), the Government of Honduras stated the following:

Despite the fact that the communication of March 3, 1973, sent to the Commission by the claimants contained no new data on the case, but rather personal judgments, immediately on receiving the aforementioned note from Your Excellency, I forwarded it, together with the appendices, to the Supreme Court and the National Agrarian Institute, and as soon as I receive their comments I shell transmit them to the distinguised Commission.

The Commission continued to study case 1736 at its Thirty-first Session (October 1973). In view of the circumstances aforementioned, it decied to repeat its June 15, 1973, request for information from the Honduran Government, earnestly requesting that such information be provided no later than February 1, 1974, so that the Commission might take it into account at its Thirty-second Session, scheduled for April 1974.

Accordingly, a communication dated December 14, 1973, was sent to the Government of Honduras.