REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
1. In a
communication of May 1977, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
received the following complaint:
BUSTOS was detained on April 11, 1976, in Misiones by the Personal
Investigations Brigade and taken to the Regiment offices in Posadas, where
she was tortured until she lost consciousness. According to the last
report received, Miss Bustos was on the verge of death.
2. In a note of
December 8, 1977 the Commission transmitted this denunciation to the
Government of Argentina, requesting information on the case.
3. In a note of
January 9, 1978, the Argentine Government replied to the Commission as
Permanent Mission of the Argentine Republic to the Organization of
American States informs the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that
the Argentine Government emphatically denies all responsibility in the
reported deaths of the following persons, none of whom have arrest
records: 129, BUSTOS, Mónica (Case 2488).
4. The Commission
requested in a note of March 23, 1978, that the claimant submit this
comments on the Government's reply.
5. In a
communication of April 26, 1979, the claimant contested the Government's
reply as follows:
Beatriz Bustos, 26
years of age, was detained on April 11, 1976, in the locality of CARUPA,
city of Posadas, province of Misiones, by security forces, and taken to
Alcaldia for a three month period, during which time nothing was known of
her whereabouts. Subsequently, information was obtained that she was
tortured and beaten, and was held in the Villa Devoto Prison in July 1976.
This information was obtained through correspondence received from the
at the time of her detention nor at present are the legal grounds for her
arrest known, despite innumerable efforts to obtain information on the
reason for her detention. These efforts include sending official
communications to the Ministry of the Interior, the National Bureau of
Penal Institutions, and a writ of habeas corpus to the Federal Capital
Court with a request that she be released.
6. The Commission
transmitted to the Argentine Government the complainant's observations in
a note of May 30, 1979, and requested that it supply information on the
7. The claimant
submitted to the Commission the following additional information:
receiving notice of the visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights, Mónica Bustos was interviewed by some six or seven persons, who
proposed that she sign a document renouncing guerrilla warfare. She
replied that she could not make any renunciation, since she had never
taken part in guerilla warfare or in subversion.
she signed the document, she was offered a transfer to section G-1 (of the
three sections in the prison, this is the one in which prisoners are
allowed to read newspapers, work, receive visitors, and obtain other
benefits, including the use of perfume).
she refused--because she said such a renunciation would have been a
lie--she was transferred that same night around midnight from that section
of the prison to section G-III, where prisoners are not permitted to read
newspapers, work, or received visits, except for interrogation.
information was submitted to the Argentine Government in a note of October
8. In a note of
January 17, 1980, the Argentine Government gave the following reply to the
requests for information.
person named has been detained and placed at the disposition of the
Executive Department, in exercise of the authority conferred under Article
23 of the National Constitution in force since 1853, because it is
considered necessary to consolidate domestic peace, according to Decree
332 of May 5, 1976.
Beatriz BUSTOS is lodged in an appropriate detention facility, and at no
time has been subjected to torture of mistreatment. Such procedures are
prohibited in the Argentine Republic, and the Government diligently sees
to it that they do not incur.
is no record that Mónica Beatriz BUSTOS has exercised the right to
request permission to leave the country, a petition that would be duly
evaluated if received.
based on the legitimacy of her detention and the consequent falsity of the
information in the denunciation, that denunciation should be rejected
9. The claimant
submitted his comments on the Government's reply in a communication of May
5, 1980, stating as follows:
Mónica Beatriz Bustos was detained on April 11, 1976, and not on
May 5 of that year, which is the date the decree placing her at the
disposition of the Executive Department was signed. During the interim
period, she was illegally imprisoned in the Women's Jail of the Police
Headquarters in the province of Misiones, in Posadas, the capital of that
state. She was subjected there to savage torture that left her in a coma
for three days. She was saved by the intervention of the Diocesan Bishop
of Posadas, Monsignor Jorge Kemerer, who succeeded in locating her despite
the denials of the authorities.
Bishop Jorge Kemerer, residing at 222 Félix Azara Street 3300
Posadas, Misiones, Argentina, along with Professor Víctor Rene Nicoletti,
the Vice Rector of the National University of Misiones, (then Dean of the
School of Social Sciences), residing at 485 Colón Street, 3300 Posadas,
Misiones, Argentina, who also intervened in the case because Mónica was a
student in that institution, attest to the facts stated above.
The detention of Mónica Beatriz Bustos, while based on Article 23
of the National Constitution is illegal because of its prolongation. In
fact, the law and legal doctrine have repeatedly declared that an arrest
that exceeds a reasonable time for the security of the country becomes a
punishment and authority to impose punishment is expressly and
emphatically denied to the President of the nation by Articles 29 and 95
of the Constitution.
Mónica Beatriz Bustos, has, in fact, not requested the right to
choose to leave the country. But that should be in her favor. Since she is
convinced of her innocence and wishes to be useful to her society and her
country, and since she believes that Argentines should solve their own
problems within their borders, she does not wish to live in exile.
There is no doubt that Mónica Beatriz Bustos has committed no act
that justifies her detention for four years under inhumane and cruel
conditions--as this Commission verified when it conducted its on-site visit
to Argentina and the Villa Devoto Prison. If her detention had been
justified, the Executive Department would have accused her through the
Public Prosecutor in compliance with its legal obligation, and it has not
In a note of July 18, 1980, the Commission transmitted the
pertinent portions of the claimant's comments to the Argentine Government,
requesting that all appropriate information should be remitted to it for
consideration in thirty days, pursuant to its Regulations.
To date, the Argentine Government has not replied.
1. Miss MONICA
BEATRIZ BUSTOS has been imprisoned since April 11, 1976, and has been
placed at the disposition of the Executive Department, under Decree 332 of
May 5, 1976;
2. During the
first days of her detention, Miss Bustos was illegally subjected to
torture, which seriously endangered her life and personal security, and
the Argentine Government has not refuted the denounced events;
3. The Argentine
Government initially denied to the Commission that Mónica Beatriz Bustos
had been detained, as shown in its note of January 9, 1978, and two years
later, in a communication of January 17, 1980, it recognized that she was
4. To date, no
specific charges have been made against Miss Bustos, and her detention has
become arbitrary because the Government has exceeded reasonableness in its
detention, since there are no duly justified grounds for its action;
5. The IACHR has
expressed its views on a number of occasions about prolonged detentions
without a specified term and without justified cause, which are an
unreasonable application of measures restricting liberty during a
constitutional state of emergency and actually constitute punishment.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
1. To declare that
the Argentine Government violated the rights to life, liberty and personal
security (Art. I); the right of protection from arbitrary arrest (Art. XXV)
and the right to due process of law (Art. XXVI) of the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
2. To recommend to
the Argentine Government: a) that it immediately release Miss Mónica
Beatriz Bustos; b) that it order a complete and impartial investigation to
determine the perpetrators of the reported illegal acts of torture; c)
that it report to the Commission in ninety days on the measures taken to
implement the above recommendations.
3. To communicate
this resolution to the Government of Argentina and to the claimant.
4. To include this resolution in the Annual Report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, pursuant to Article 50(4) of the Commission's Regulations, if the Argentine Government does not implement these recommendations by the deadline indicated above.