Washington College of Law|
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
RESOLUTION No. 3/84
CASE 4563 (PARAGUAY)
May 17, 1984
- 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.
- 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
- On December 13, 1982, the Government of Paraguay replied
to the request for information from the Commission in the following
Domingo 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).
- 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:
Additional 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.
- 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."
- 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 10, 1982.
- 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:
Asuncion, 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.
According 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....
Montanaro, 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.
Concerning 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."
He 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.
The 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 government."
- 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
- 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:
Ref: Cases Nos. 4563, 7848 and 8027
In 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 Barreiro Maffiodo.
In 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."
In another part of his statement, the Minister adds, "the
other exiles may return to the country, including the dissidents
of the Colorado Party."
The 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 Asuncion.
In 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 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.
- 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:
Every 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
- In taking up the problem of expulsion of nationals, the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has pointed out:
It 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).
These 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).
- The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Therefore, in view of the information related and the
considerations made, on the ground of Articles 48, 49 and 50 of its
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
- 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.
- 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.
- To communicate this resolution to the Government of
- 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 recommendations made.