Washington College of Law|
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
RESOLUTION No. 22/86
CASE 7920 (HONDURAS)
April 18, l986
HAVING SEEN the background information on this case, viz:
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received the following petition in a
communication dated October 7, l981:
We condemn the arbitrary arrest, in Tegucigalpa, of ANGEL MANFREDO
VELAZQUEZ RODRIGUEZ, since September 12 of this year, for unknown reasons. We
assign responsibility for that action to Colonels Leonidas Torres Arias (G-2), Gustavo Alvarez
(FUSEP), Juan López Grijalba (National Investigation Department) and Hubbert Bodden
(Commander, First Battalion of Infantry, Tegucigalpa). We have exhausted legal remedies
without success. We know that he is in the First Battalion of Infantry in Tegucigalpa, together
with many other "Missing" political prisoners from Honduras and El Salvador but the
authorities deny his arrest. This situation is a matter of concern to the community of
and to the country in general. We are hoping that he will be released soon.
- In a cablegram dated October 14, l981, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts
petition to the Government of Honduras requesting it to provide the pertinent information.
- In a note dated November 24, l981, the Commission transmitted to the Government of
Honduras additional information provided by the petitioner in this case, requesting it to take such
to enable the Commission to have full information on the case as soon as possible. That
was the following:
ANGEL MANFREDO VELASQUEZ RODRIGUEZ, a UNAH student, was
apprehended, without an arrest warrant, by members of the National Investigation Directorate
and of G-2 (INTELLIGENCE) of the Armed Forces of Honduras and taken to an unknown
His arrest was carried out in Tegucigalpa on the afternoon of September 12, l981
above-mentioned persons, in the presence of several eyewitnesses who saw that he was put into
a vehicle that took him to the police cells where he has been subjected to violent interrogations
and cruel tortures and accused of alleged political crimes.
Initially he was taken together with other prisoners to the cells of the II station of
State Security Force located in the El Manchén neighborhood of that city, where agents
specializing in torture did everything possible to make him confess to crimes they attributed to
him without giving him any opportunity to defend himself.
On September 17, l981 he was transferred to the First Battalion of Infantry where
continued the above-mentioned cross examinations and all the police and security forces
systematically denied his arrest.
Accordingly we are appealing to the Inter-American Commission on Human
intercede with the pertinent authorities so that justice may prevail and guarantee the life and
safety of Angel Manfredo Velasquez Rodríguez.
- Since the Commission did not receive a reply, it repeated to the Government of
in the note of May 14, l982, the request for information, pointing out that, should it not receive it
a reasonable period, it would begin to consider the application of Article 42 (formerly Article 39)
the Regulations of the Commission whereby the facts reported will be considered to be true.
- In a note dated June 4, l982 the Government of Honduras acknowledged receipt of the
communication of May 14, l982, mentioned above, and stated that "the competent authorities are
carrying out all possible investigations on this matter and that as soon as we obtain a reply on
request we shall immediately send it to you so that the respective processing may continue".
- In the notes of October 6, l982, March 23, l983 and August 9, l983, the IACHR
the Government of Honduras the request for information on this case and again pointed out that,
such information not be received, the Commission would apply the provisions of Article 42
Article 39) of its Regulations.
- At its 61st Regular Session (October l983), the Commission, taking into account the
the Government of Honduras had not provided the information repeatedly requested, decided to
presume that the facts that are the subject matter of the petition were true, pursuant to the
of Article 42 (formerly Article 39) of its Regulations, and to that end approved a Resolution (No.
the operative part of which reads as follows (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.61, doc.44):
- By application of Art. 39 of the Regulations to presume the facts of the
communication of October 7, 1981, concerning the detention and subsequent disappearance of
Mr. Angel Manfredo Velasquez Rodriguez in Honduras, to be true.
- To observe to the Government of Honduras that such acts constitute very
violations of the right to life (Art. 4) and the right to personal liberty (Art. 7) of the American
Convention on Human Rights.
- To recommend to the Government of Honduras: a) that it undertake a complete
impartial investigation to determine the persons responsible for the acts denounced; b) that
pursuant to Honduran law that the persons responsible be punished; and c) that it inform the
Commission within a maximum period of 60 days about the measures taken to put into practice
the recommendations set forth in the present Resolution.
- Once the period of time set forth in paragraph three of this Resolution has
and if the Government of Honduras has not presented observations, the Commission will
include this Resolution in the Annual Report to the General Assembly pursuant to Art. 59 (g)
of the Commission's Regulations.
- That resolution was transmitted to the Government of Honduras in the note of October
l983, informing it that the period set in paragraph 3 thereof for the submission of observations on
Resolution 30/83, would run from the date of the respective note.
- The Government of Honduras, in a note dated November 18, l983 (Official Letter No.
and within the period set, submitted observations on Resolution 30/83 which may be summarized
- That the domestic law of Honduras had not been exhausted in the case,
Official Letter No. 2586 of the Supreme Court of Justice of that country, which states that a writ
of habeas corpus in favor of Angel Manfredo Velásquez and others was pending
court and a copy thereof was attached to the note of November 18.
- That, in addition, the above-mentioned Official Letter from the Court stated
is false that the Director of that Directorate has said that additional persons are under arrest or
that they were being investigated for offenses against the security of the state and with the
exception of MARIA ODILIA MEDRANO or INES CONSUELO MURILLO CHAWEDER
who were earlier brought before the courts. Therefore the DNI authorities are unaware of the
whereabouts of the other persons that are the subject matter of petitions, although every effort
is being made to discover their whereabouts, even though it is difficult for the police authorities
to obtain this information from the communist countries of Nicaragua, Cuba, Russia and other
- That, furthermore, the Government of Honduras wished to point out that "it has
ceased nor will it cease to make every effort that will make it possible to reliably establish the
whereabouts of Mr. Angel Manfredo Velásquez Rodríguez, proof of which is that
authorities are following up the information provided by the Mayor of the Municipality of
Langue, Department of Valle, who states that Mr. Velásquez Rodríguez,
according to rumors
"has been prowling around this locality, rumors of people, he says, who have seen him and that
he avoids being identified since he is going around with groups of guerrillas from El Salvador
and that when they are pursued by the Salvadorian military he comes to take refuge in this
sector, because he is familiar with it. In addition, some rumors of the people of Nacaome state
the same thing, that they saw him in March of this year; that he has contacts with other
communists in this community and that he travels between Nicaragua and El Salvador through
d. That, in the light of the above, the Government requested the Commission to
reconsider the resolution adopted.
- In its communication of January 17, l984, the Commission transmitted to the petitioner
pertinent parts of the observations of the Government of Honduras, requesting it to send any new
additional information on the case.
- In its communication of 17 February 1984, the petitioner made the following
the observations of the Government:
The Director General of the National Investigation Directorate (DNI) says that he does
the whereabouts of the person sought, "although every effort is being made to ascertain their
whereabouts". Nevertheless, no attention has been given to the particular case of Angel
Manfredo Velásquez and one of the men who arrested him was José Isaias
Vilorio, which was
reported to the then Director of the DNI and the present Head of Military Intelligence (G-2),
General Juan López Grijalba.
The Government does not mention by name the Mayor of Langue, Valle, who has echoed
rumor that the missing person is a Salvadorian guerrilla, that mayor could be:
- Fidel Díaz, 1981 and - Antonio Yañez, 1982 until December l983.
- At its 62nd session (May 1984) the Commission studied the request of the
Honduras for reconsideration and decided to continue to study the case.
- Pursuant to that decision, the Commission sent the Government of Honduras a note
30, l984, requesting the following information on the status of the case before the competent
of the country:
Whether the remedies of domestic law had already been exhausted;
- Whether the proceedings on the writ of habeas corpus lodged on behalf
of Mr. Angel
Manfredo Velásquez and others had been concluded and what had been the results;
c. Whether the Report of the Municipal Mayor of Langue, a copy of which the
Government of Honduras had transmitted together with its note of November 18, l983,
mentioned above, had appeared as a party in a judicial proceeding for determining the
whereabouts of Mr. Velásquez;
- Whether an investigation has been made of the complaint against Mr. José
Vilorio, allegedly involved in the disappearance of Mr. Velásquez, which had been
reported earlier to the then National Director of Investigations, General Juan José
Grijalba, as stated in the file of the IACHR and,
- If the depositions of the persons who had allegedly stated that they had seen Mr.
Velásquez had been given in due legal form to the competent authorities.
- In the above-mentioned note the Commission also informed the Government of
that it was hoping to receive a reply before the beginning of its next session (63rd), scheduled for
October l984 so it could complete its study of this case; this request was repeated on January 29,
and it was pointed out that the Commission would adopt a final decision during its session
to begin on March 4 of that year.
- At its 64th Session (October l984) the Commission decided to postpone its final
examination of the case and to grant the Government of Honduras a period of thirty days in which
send the findings of above-mentioned investigation and the data requested in the note of May 30,
- In its cablegram of March 1, l985, the Government of Honduras requested
of consideration of this case until the next session since, in accordance with Decision No. 232 of
14, l986, it had set up an Investigating Commission composed of senior officials with authority
exhaustively examine the complaints concerning alleged violations of human rights, to clarify
facts and establish the identity of the persons who were responsible so that the corresponding
penalties may be imposed upon them" and that that Commission had requested the government to
it a period of ninety days in which to render a report on the results of its activities, which period
not yet expired.
- That time limit was communicated to the Government of Honduras by cablegram on
- In its note of April 8, l985, the Government of Honduras acknowledged receipt of the
cablegram of March 11, mentioned above, but did not send the data and information requested by
Commission in its note of May 30, l984 nor the findings of any investigation that may have been
out by the Special Commission established by Decree 232 of June 14, l984.
- In its cablegram of April 4, l986 (No. 717) the Government of Honduras informed the
Commission of the following: "In the wake of new items on the radio and in the press, this Court
First Instance proceeded to conduct the pertinent proceedings and consequently the
investigations on the disappearance of persons in the national territory, and specifically as a
the complaint of Mrs. Gertrudiz Lanza González, Juana Paula Valladares Lanza, Vertilia
Proceedings were instituted against Gustavo Alvarez Martínez, Daniel Bali Castillo, Juan
Grijalba, Juan Blas Salazar, Alexander Fernández, Marcos Hernández and another
Gradiz, for the crimes of murder, torture, abuse of authority and disobedience, in re prejudice of
Eduardo Lanza, Reinaldo Díaz, Manfredo Velasquez, Rafael Antonio Pacheco, Marco
Jorge Eureque, Rolando Vindel Zavala, Gustavo Morales and others, which proceedings were
by this Court whose judgement has already confirmed by the First Court of Appeals, except in
of General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez, whose testimony was not taken, because he was
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
- That the new information provided in the cablegram of April 4, 1986, by the
Honduras on the investigations carried out in this case, transmitted to the Commission almost two
after it had been requested is not sufficient, in the opinion of the Commission, for carrying out a
examination of the case nor does it warrant reconsideration of Resolution 30/83 adopted at the
Session of the Commission;
- That, on the contrary, from all the information available on the case, it is inferred that
Angel Manfredo Velasquez Rodríguez is still disappeared and that the Government of
Honduras--despite the many requests of the IACHR and, in particular, the detailed request for
information of May 30, l984--has failed to show that the facts reported are not true;
- That the information provided by the Government of Honduras in its telegram of April
l986 does not address the points requested by the Commission, nor is the willingness of the
Government of Honduras to pursue the investigation in order to clarify the facts to be inferred
telegram, which only reports that the Court which conducted the proceedings on the facts
Case 7920 had dismissed the proceedings and that its judgment had also been confirmed by the
Court of Appeals;
- That in this case there has also been an unjustified delay in the administration of justice.
- That, in view of what is stated in paragraphs 2 and 3 above, it may be concluded that
Government of Honduras has not implemented the recommendations of the Commission;
- That, in the case that is the subject matter of this resolution, the Commission has not
able, by reason of the nature of the petition, to apply the friendly settlement procedure provided
Article 48, paragraph 1, f of the American Convention on Human Rights and in Article
45 of its
- That, since the friendly settlement procedure is not applicable, the Commission
the provisions of Article 51, paragraph l, of the Convention and give its opinions and conclusions
the issue submitted to it for its consideration;
- That, in addition, the information provided by the Government of Honduras has been
insufficient since the results of the investigation of the Special Commission on disappeared
unknown and sufficient time has elapsed since the facts which gave rise to this complaint were
- That, in addition, since the friendly settlement procedure is not applicable, the
may, pursuant to Article 50 of its Regulations, submit the case to the Inter-American Court of
Rights if the Government has not complied with the recommendations made, and
- That, on September 9, l981, the Government of Honduras declared its recognition of
jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in accordance with Article 62 of the
- To confirm in all its parts Resolution 30/83 of October 1983, and consequently to deny
request for reconsideration submitted by the Government of Honduras.
- To refer the case to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights for the purposes
for in Article 63, paragraph 1 of the Convention, and therefore that the Court may decide that
been a violation of the rights to life (Article 1), to humane treatment (Article 5) and to personal
(Article 7) of the American Convention on Human Rights; that the consequences of the situation
by the violation of those rights should be remedied and that the party or parties injured should be
granted just compensation.
- To transmit this resolution to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to the
and to the Government of Honduras, in accordance with Article 50, paragraph l, of the