Press Release

IACHR Takes Case involving El Salvador to the Inter-American Court

April 29, 2013

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case No. 12.577, Rochac y otros, El Salvador.

The facts of this case refer to the forced disappearance of the boys Jose Adrian Rochac Hernandez, Santo Ernesto Salinas, Manuel Antonio Bonilla Osorio and Ricardo Ayala Abarca, and the girl Emelinda Lorena Hernandez. This disappearances took place between 1980 and 1982, in circumstances with similar characteristics: within the context of an armed conflict, after the execution from military operatives to the called “counter-insurgency”, in which their relatives were either killed or managed to escape, and who were last seen with members of the armed forces, who abducted them and decided over their destiny.

More than 30 years after their disappearance, it has not been established the destiny or whereabouts of any of the victims. These crimes remain in impunity, given that the State did not conduct a serious and diligent investigation, within a reasonable period, on the forced disappearance of the victims, as a mechanism to guarantee their rights and to ensure the rights to truth, justice and reparation of their family members. The Commission also concluded that El Salvador violated the right to family and special protecton of the boys and the girl, as it was the State the one that, through the actions of tits Armed Forces, led to the separation of the victims from their families of origin, through their forced disappearance.

The case was sent to the Inter-American Court on March 21, 2013, because the Commission deemed that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in its Report on the Merits of the case. In that report, the Inter-American Commission recommended the State to conduct a thorough, impartial, and effective investigation into the fate or whereabouts of José Adrián Rochac Hernández, Santos Ernesto Salinas, Emelinda Lorena Hernández, Manuel Antonio Bonilla, and Ricardo Ayala Abarca and, if they are found, make the necessary efforts to ensure family reunification. If it is established that any of them is not alive, take the measures necessary to deliver their remains to their next-of-kin; to conduct a thorough, impartial, and effective investigation into the facts to determine the responsibility and to punish all the perpetrators of the human rights violations to the detriment of the victims in the instant case, including the investigations necessary to determine the responsibility and punish the persons who participated in covering up the facts and in the denial of justice; to make adequate reparation to the victims of the instant case, including both the material and non-material aspect; to adopt the measures necessary for ensuring the effectiveness and permanence for the time necessary of the search commission, the search webpage, and the genetic information system being implemented in the framework of what was ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the judgment of the case of the Serrano Cruz Sisters. In particular, ensure that these measures are established through the legal mechanisms that provide legal certainty in its functioning and sufficient budget; and to adopt non repetition measures to ensure that the integral protection system of children is implemented effectively, including the strengthening and adequacy with the international standards of the Civil Registry system and the adoption system.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 28/13