Washington College of Law|
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
RESOLUTION No. 7/86
CASE 9233 (NICARAGUA)
April 16, l986
- The petition submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, according
On December l9, l982, Mr. JORGE FERNANDO ESCOBAR RIVERA, aged 56
married, by trade a mechanic, and a resident of Managua, disappeared in circumstances that
have not yet been clarified.
Since the date of his disappearance an intense search has been made through
newspapers, prisons, hospitals, etc., to ascertain his whereabouts. To the astonishment of
members of his family, on December 20 of that same year two members of the Sandinista Police
appeared in the Altagracia neighborhood asking where Mr. Fernando Escobar Rivera lived and
then appeared at his house carrying the registration permit of his vehicle and stating that he was
under arrest in No. 3 Substation of the Police because he had been in a collision, which
subsequently proved to be false.
On December 24 of that same year, an anonymous telephone call informed his wife
Jorge Fernando was under arrest in El Chipote and the anonymous informant stated that he
knew it because he had been detained in the same place. Following that telephone call, Mrs.
Escobar Rivera contacted the State Security Department, which denied the information; she also
reported the case to the Complaints Department of the Ministry of the Interior without any
In January 1983, Mrs. Escobar Rivera was summoned to the Police Processing
to make a declaration on the circumstances of his disappearance so that the pertinent
investigation could be made although no information was obtained. An official of the
above-mentioned office told her in confidence that Escobar Rivera was indeed under arrest in
El Chipote but that that fact had been denied in order not to impede the investigation. However,
on several occasions members of the Police Investigation Department located in La Plaza del
Sol came to her house and took down a great many details of the circumstances of the
disappearance without informing her of the results of the investigation.
On April 28, l983, an appeal of habeas corpus was filed on behalf of Escobar
against the Director of State Security, who had denied the arrest. To that end, his wife was
summoned on various occasions in June and July of that same year to house No. 50 where she
was interrogated, as was her daughter, about details of the life and activities of her husband and
she was asked whether she could recognize his motorcycle, to which she replied that she could
but that she would have to go to the facilities in Chipote; however, she did not do so because
she feared she would be arrested. Subsequently, on August 4, l983, a member of the State
Security came to her house to summon her to House No. 50, which summons she complied with
and was interviewed by Colonel Espinales, who told her that he had orders from above that he
should hand over to her the motorcycle of her husband in the traffic offices. On August 5 and
6, Mrs. Escobar Rivera went to the traffic offices to take delivery of the motorcycle but was told
that it would not be handed over to her until she brought the pertinent order from the state
security; on August 8 she again had an interview with Col. Espinales in order to request the
above-mentioned order but he did so by telephoning the traffic offices and on that same day
Mrs. Escobar Rivera actually received the motorcycle her husband was driving on the day of
It should be pointed out that when the motorcycle was examined a paper was
under the seat. It was the driver's license and registration permit of Mr. Escobar Rivera, which
greatly surprised his wife since the registration permit was the same one as that the members
of the Sandinista Police who came to the house of Mr. Escobar Rivera on the day following his
disappearance were carrying and therefore it is deduced that, if the State Security Authorities
handed over the motorcycle and his documents to Mrs. Escobar Rivera, they were aware of the
whereabouts of her husband; however, on December 6, l983, when she visited the Public
Relations Offices in El Chipote, she was informed that the case was closed but that she should
not worry because her husband was alive.
In addition to the above-mentioned steps, on June 16, l983, the Court of Appeals
III Region ordered the Office of the General Prosecutor to ascertain the place of detention and
the authority that ordered the arrest of ESCOBAR RIVERA, which step has not produced any
Furthermore, all the remedies, both judicial and legal, for establishing the
of Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera have been exhausted, all of which proved fruitless.
- The transmission of the petition to the Government of Nicaragua on February 29, l984
requesting it to provide such information as it deemed pertinent.
- The communication of October 25, l984, in which the petitioner informs the
of the various steps taken to ascertain the whereabouts of Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera,
filing of an appeal of habeas corpus on April 28, l983 to the Criminal Division of the Appeals
- The communication of November 14, l984 which repeats to the Government of
the request for information made, and states that, should that information not be received, the
would consider the possibility of applying the then Article 39 of the Regulations, according to
The facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been transmitted to
government of the State in reference shall be presumed to be true if, during the maximum period
set by the Commission under the provisions of Article 34, paragraph 5, the Government has not
provided the pertinent information, as long as other evidence does not lead to a different
- The communication of April 16, l985 from the Government, in which it limits itself to
that the General State Security Directorate has reported that Mr. Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera
never been arrested on its orders.
- The petition presented satisfies the requirements for admissibility established by Article
of the American Convention on Human Rights and that, in addition, the requirements of domestic
have been exhausted.
- That, by reason of their nature, the facts that are the subject matter of the petition do
permit the application in this case of the friendly settlement procedure.
- That the facts reported by the petitioner disclose the existence of the initial recognition,
agents of the Government of Nicaragua, of the arrest of Mr. Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera,
also to be inferred from the fact that members of the police force were in possession of the
documents of the victim when they appeared at his house on the day following his disappearance.
- That the arrest of Mr. Escobar Rivera was similarly recognized on various subsequent
occasions as a result of the many steps taken by members of his family, who were informed that
under detention, on the order of the State Security, in the El Chipote prison, which information
since been denied.
- That despite the steps taken and investigations carried out to ascertain the whereabouts
Mr. Escobar Rivera and of the time that has elapsed, the reply of the Government of Nicaragua of
16, l985 is extremely terse and reveals the lack of interest of that Government in providing the
Commission with reliable information on so serious an event as that reported.
- That the General Assembly of the Organization of American States declared, by
666 (XIII-0/83) that "The practice of the forced disappearance of persons in the Americas is an
to the conscience of the hemisphere and constitutes a crime against humanity."
- That the Nicaraguan Government has not presented observations on Resolution No. 7
which was transmitted to it.
In view whereof:
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
- To declare that the Government of Nicaragua has violated the right to personal liberty,
forth in Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and the right to life, recognized
Article 4 by the actions of its agents who were responsible for the arrest and subsequent
of Mr. Jorge Fernando Escobar Rivera.
- To recommend to the Government of Nicaragua that it conduct a thorough
the facts reported in order to identify the persons responsible, and bring them to trial, so that the
penalties so serious a way of proceeding demands may be imposed upon them and that it adopt
necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such serious events.
- To include this Resolution in its Annual Report for the purposes of Article 63
g of its
Regulations and transmit it to the petitioner.