REPORT Nº 36/06
PETITION 577-05
ADMISSIBILITY
FRANCISCO USÓN RAMÍREZ
VENEZUELA 1
March 15, 2006
I.

SUMMARY

1. On May 23, 2005, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the
“Commission,” the “Inter-American Commission,” or the “IACHR”) received a petition
submitted by Mr. Héctor Faúndez Ledesma (hereinafter the “petitioner”), in representation of
Brigadier General (retired) Mr. Francisco Usón Ramírez (hereinafter the “alleged victim”, or
“Mr. Usón”). In his complaint the petitioner alleges that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
(hereinafter “the Venezuelan State,” “Venezuela,” or “the State”) is responsible for the alleged
violation of articles 5 (right to humane treatment), 7 (right to personal liberty), 8 (right to a
fair trial), 13 (right to freedom of thought and expression) and 25 (right to judicial protection)
of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the “Convention” or the “American
Convention”), with prejudice to Mr. Usón. The complaint also asserts that the State has failed
to comply with the obligations provided for by articles 1.1 (obligation to respect and guarantee
rights) and 2 (obligation to adapt domestic legislation) of said instrument.
2. The petitioner claims that when the State, under military jurisdiction, arrested, prosecuted,
found guilty and sentenced Mr. Usón for the crime of “insults to the National Armed Forces,”
for statements he made on a television program, it violated his rights to personal liberty, to
freedom of expression as well as to a fair trial and judicial protection. The petitioner also
claims that the conditions under which Mr. Usón was kept in preventive detention, and is now
serving his prison sentence, constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, violating his
right to humane treatment.
3. The State contends that the criminal proceedings under military jurisdiction against Mr.
Usón “were at all times respectful of legal and constitutional principles, as well as of the
international human rights instruments signed and ratified by the Republic of Venezuela.”
Regarding the petitioner’s allegations about the violation of his right to humane treatment, the
State claims that the prison conditions to which Mr. Usón is subjected do not amount to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment, and that “they have as their basis the guarantee of the
welfare of the inmate population.”
4. Pursuant to the provisions of articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention and articles 30
and 37 of the Commission’s rules of procedure, and after analyzing the petition without
prejudging the merits of the case, the Commission decided to declare the petition admissible
regarding the alleged violations of articles 7, 8, 13 and 25 of the American Convention, in
connection with articles 1.1 and 2 of same. The Commission declared the complaint
inadmissible with respect to article 5 of the American Convention. The Commission also
decided to notify this decision to the parties, publish it and include it in its Annual Report to the
General Assembly of the OAS.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5. The complaint was lodged by the petitioner before the Executive Secretariat of the
Commission on May 23, 2005. On June 1, 2005, the Commission began processing the petition
under number 577/05. Subsequently, on June 28, 2005, the Commission transmitted the
relevant portions of the petition to the State, granting it two months to submit its
observations.
6. On August 24, 2005, the State requested an extension of thirty days to submit its
observations, which was granted by the Commission on August 29, 2005.
1

Commissioner Freddy Gutiérrez, of Venezuelan nationality, did not participate in the deliberations or in the voting
related to this report, pursuant to the provisions of article 17.2.a of the IACHR´s Rules of Procedure.

1

Select target paragraph3