Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Peru to the Inter-American Court

October 17, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in case 12,745 –Rigoberto Tenorio Roca concerning Peru.

The case concerns the detention, transfer, torture and subsequent forced disappearance of Rigoberto Tenorio Roca, which began on July 7, 1984. The perpetrators were Marines in the Province of Huanta, Department of Ayacucho. These events transpired against the backdrop of systematic violations of human rights that occurred amid the internal armed conflict in Peru, in an area and at a time when the use of forced disappearance of persons suspected of being terrorists or terrorist collaborators, was systematic and widespread. To this day, the fate or whereabouts of Rigoberto Tenorio Roca is still unknown and no one has ever been made to answer for his forced disappearance.

The Inter-American Commission referred case 12,745 to the Court’s jurisdiction on September 1, 2014, after concluding that the State of Peru had failed to comply with the recommendations the Commission made in its Merits Report. In that report, the Commission had recommended that the Peruvian State undertake a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the whereabouts of Rigoberto Tenorio Roca. Should the investigation establish that the victim is no longer alive, the Commission recommended that the State take the measures necessary to hand over his remains to his next of kin; that it conduct, within a reasonable period of time, impartial and effective criminal proceedings to establish the facts, identify all those responsible and impose the corresponding penalties; that it make full reparations for the human rights violations committed, including just compensation and the establishment and dissemination of the historic truth of the events. The Commission also recommended that the domestic laws be made to conform to inter-American standards regarding the criminalization and prosecution of forced disappearance of persons; that it take the measures necessary to prevent a recurrence of similar acts in future, especially by making human rights courses part of the curriculum in the Armed Forces’ training schools, and that it publicly acknowledge its international responsibility and make a public apology.

This case will be an opportunity for the Inter-American Court to issue a finding on the systematic and widespread use of forced disappearance during the Peruvian armed conflict, and the particularly heavy toll that the Truth Commission says it had on the Department of Ayacucho. Likewise, this case involves a number of factors facilitating impunity that call for an express ruling from the Court.

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. 123/14