REPORT No. 3/11
ADMISSIBILITY
P-491-98
NÉSTOR ROLANDO LÓPEZ, ET AL.
ARGENTINA
January 5, 2011

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 15, 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Commission,” “the IACHR,” or “the Inter-American Commission”) received a petition submitted by
Gerardo Nicolás García, Claudia Ramírez, Marcelo Montero, Flavia Piccinini, Maximiliano Sánchez,
Milton Hernán Kees, Juan Manuel Kees, Laura Marcela Serrano, Alejandra Coria, Oscar Suárez,
Alejandra Marina Luna, Carla Castiglioni, and Julio Helisondo Jara (hereinafter “the petitioners”), who
state that they are inhabitants of the province of Neuquén. They claim that the Argentine Republic
(hereinafter “Argentina” or “the State”) is responsible for violations committed with prejudice to Néstor
Rolando López, Miguel Ángel González Mendoza, José Heriberto Muñoz Zabala, Julio Eduardo Gómez,
Cristian Eduardo Crespo, Juan Pablo Lucero, Néstor Zacarías Pardo, Hugo Alberto Blanco, Eduardo
Enrique Aguilera de la Hoz, Mario Leonardo Aguilera de la Hoz, Omar Garrido, Héctor Darío Sánchez,
Aldo Manuel Omán, Raúl Colicheo, Alfredo Guzmán and Héctor Sosa (hereinafter “the alleged victims”)
when they were transferred to prisons inordinately far from their places of residence.
2.
The petitioners contend that the State is responsible for the violation of the right to
humane treatment and of the rights of the family provided for, respectively, by articles 5 and 17 of the
American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”), in
connection with the obligation to respect and guarantee rights provided for by article 1.1 of same. In this
respect, they claim that the transfer of the alleged victims to locations distant from their place of residence
infringes their right to a treatment respecting their dignity; it considerably affects their relations with their
next of kin; it prevents effective access of their defense counsel, which makes the exercise of their
defense difficult at the stage of enforcement of their sentence; it unlawfully removes them from the
enforcement judges under whom they find themselves; it prevents the fulfillment of the re-socialization
function of the imprisonment, and clearly constitutes a form of punishment that transcends the convict,
and affects the next of kin of the alleged victims.
3.
The State, in turn, argues that the fact that the inmates convicted by the courts of the
Province of Neuquén are being held in federal facilities outside that province is chiefly because the
province lacks sufficient prisons capable of housing the inmate population. Moreover, it contends that the
fact of having been transferred outside of the provincial jurisdiction cannot be construed to be cruel,
inhumane, and degrading punishment, and that domestic law provides procedures to request transfers
and extraordinary visits, thus legally guaranteeing inmate contact with their immediate family. The State
also objected to the petitioners’ claim that domestic remedies had been exhausted.
4.
After analyzing the positions of the parties and, pursuant to the requirements established
by articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission decides to declare the case
admissible for the purpose of examining the alleged violation of the rights provided for by articles 5 and
17, in connection with article 1.1. of same. The Commission also decides to notify the parties of this
decision, to publish it, and to include it in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the OAS.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5.
The petition was received on October 15, 1998. On April 10, 2003, the Commission
requested additional information from the petitioners. On September 24, 2003, a response from the
petitioners was received. On November 14, 2003 the Commission forwarded to the State the pertinent
parts of the petition, granting it two months to submit its reply. In a December 19, 2003 note, the State

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