REPORT Nº 43/01
CASE 11.015
March 5, 2001


1. On May 18, 1992, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the “InterAmerican Commission,” “Commission” or “IACHR”) received a communication that Mrs. Sabina
Astete lodged against the Republic of Peru (hereinafter “Peru”, “Peruvian State” or “State”).
The communication alleges that on May 6, 1992, 500 Peruvian Army troops descended upon
Lima’s “Miguel Castro Castro Prison” by air and overland. Targeting cellblock “1A” and armed
with heavy artillery, their objective was to transfer the prisoners to the “Santa Mónica” Prison.
But an attack on Miguel Castro Castro Prison ensued, leaving 34 inmates dead and another 18
wounded. The communication alleges that by these actions, the Peruvian State violated the
rights to life, humane treatment, personal liberty, the principles of freedom from ex post facto
laws and of non-retroactivity, and the right to equal protection before the law, recognized,
respectively, in articles 4, 5, 7, 9 and 24 of the American Convention on Human Rights
(hereinafter the “American Convention” or “Convention”). The State did not file an objection
claiming failure to exhaust the remedies under domestic law. The Commission is therefore
deciding to admit the case and proceed with its analysis of the merits.


2. The Commission received Mrs. Astete’s communication on May 18, 1992 and within days
obtained information about the events from a variety of sources, including communications
sent by inmates. The Commission opened the case on June 12, 1992, and forwarded the
pertinent parts of the petition to the Peruvian State, requesting that it supply pertinent
information within 90 days.1
3. On August 18, 1992, the IACHR decided to grant precautionary measures and requested the
Government of Peru to send an official list of the persons who either died or disappeared as of
the time of the events at “Miguel Castro Castro” prison, as well as information on the wounded
and where they were taken.
4. On September 11, 1992, the State sent detailed information on the measures taken in
connection with the Commission’s request; it sent additional information on October 26, 1992
and November 9, 1992.
5. On December 14, 1992, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights granted provisional
measures in connection with the situation at the Peruvian prisons, including the “Castro
Castro” penal institution.
6. On March 22, 1999, Mrs. Astete requested that the Commission make all information on this
case available to attorneys Fiona McKay and Curtis Doebbler.
7. On April 4, 2000, Mrs. Astete informed the IACHR that Dr. Curtis Doebbler was no longer
representing her in the case.2 On June 30, 2000, Mrs. Astete sent the IACHR a list of the
alleged victims of the May 1992 events at Castro Castro Prison and informed it that the list
might be incomplete because the Government was refusing to supply any further information.

The IACHR was asked to intervene as the events were in progress, and even sent a special mission to Peru. See
IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, 1993, paragraphs 94 to 97.
By letter dated April 10, 2000, Dr. Doebbler informed the Commission that he was still interested in
representing the alleged victims in the instant case. On June 28, 2000, the Commission sent Dr. Doebbler a letter
informing him that it would have to defer to Mrs. Astete’s wishes in regard to Dr. Doebbler’s representation of her in the
case, and would therefore be terminating any representation he might have had in the case.


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