REPORT Nº 124/01
CASE 12.387
ALFREDO LÓPEZ ALVAREZ
HONDURAS
December 3, 2001
I.

SUMMARY

1. On December 13, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereafter “the
Commission” or “IACHR”), received a petition submitted by the Organización Fraternal Negra
Hondureña, OFRANEH [“Honduran Black People’s Fraternal Organization”], represented by its
president Mrs. Gregoria Flores (hereafter “the Petitioner”], on behalf of Mr. Alfredo López
Alvarez, a Honduran citizen of Garífuna descent (hereafter “the victim”), against the Republic
of Honduras (hereafter “the Honduran State”, “Honduras”, or “the State”). The petition
declares that the victim is a recognized Garífuna leader, a defender of his people’s human
rights, that in this context he was arrested on April 27, 1997, and accused of a crime that he
did not commit, that he has been held until this date in preventive detention, and that his case
is still at the indictment stage. The violations denounced relate to alleged irregularities
committed by the justice authorities during the criminal proceedings undertaken against the
victim, involving trial for the crime of possession of and trafficking in narcotics, whereby the
Honduran State violated the right to due process, to judicial guarantees and to the right of
equality before the law, enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights (hereafter
“the Convention” or “the American Convention”).
2. With respect to admissibility, the Petitioner argues that her petition is admissible, in light of
the exceptions to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies and the deadline for
submitting the petition, as stipulated in Article 46(2)(a) and (b) of the Convention.
3. For its part, the State argues, on the question of admissibility, that Mr. Alfredo López
Alvarez was imprisoned for the crime of possessing and trafficking in narcotics, one for which
release on bail does not apply, that all guarantees granted by the right of legitimate defense
have been observed, and that criminal justice actions available under Honduran domestic
legislation are still in process.
4. The Commission considers that the Petitioner’s charges, if proven, could constitute
violations by the State of the right to personal liberty (Article 7), the right to a fair trial (Article
8), the right to equality before the law (Article 24), the obligation to respect rights (Article
1(1)) and the right to judicial protection (Article 25), of the Convention, to the prejudice of
Alfredo López Alvarez, and after examining the positions of the parties and fulfillment of the
requirements stipulated in Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, it has concluded that it is
competent to hear the complaint and to declare the petition admissible.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5. On December 13, 2000, the Commission received the petition submitted by the Petitioner
against the Honduran state, and on January 11, 2001, it sent the relevant portions of the
petition to the State and requested it to transmit any observations with respect to how the
complaint should be handled, within 30 days. On March 23, 2001, the Petitioner requested the
Commission to order precautionary measures on behalf of the victim, in light of the fact that
he had been removed from the Tela Penal Center, and that his whereabouts was unknown at
the time of the application. The Commission asked the State to provide information on the
application for precautionary measures, on the same date. On March 24, the Commission was
advised by the Petitioner, by telephone, that Mr. Alfredo López Alvarez had been transferred to
the Cortés Penal Center. On April 11, 2001, the Commission again asked the State to submit
observations on the petition, the relevant portions of which were sent to it on January 11,
2001.

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