REPORT No. 77/11 CASE 10.932 ADMISSIBILITY AND MERITS “SANTA BARBARA” CAMPESINO COMMUNITY PERU July 21, 2011 I. SUMMARY 1. On July 26, 1991, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the “Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the Center of Studies and Action for Peace (CEAPAZ) 1 (hereinafter “the petitioners”), which claimed that the Republic of Peru (hereinafter “the State” or “the Peruvian State”) bore responsibility for the alleged disappearance of 15 individuals who mostly were members of two families from the community of Santa Barbara, Huancavelica Province, including seven children whose ages ranged from eight months to seven years old. The petitioners allege that the above disappearances were perpetrated by members of the Peruvian Army on July 4, 1991, and that the Army obstructed the efforts of the judiciary to conduct a judicial investigation into the facts. 2. The petitioners say that, despite the fact that the criminal responsibility of the military personnel charged was suitably established in the course of the investigation, and that even the military justice system found six members of the military to be responsible for the alleged offenses, on January 14, 1997, the Supreme Court applied Amnesty Law 26479, as a result of which the case lapsed into impunity. Later, after criminal proceedings were reopened in 2005, the petitioners say that on March 10, 2006, the courts ordered that the trial of the six accused should wait until they had been apprehended, and that on December 6, 2007, the trial of one of the accused began following his capture. According to the petitioners, 20 years after the disappearance of 15 members of the community of Santa Barbara, not one of the perpetrators has been convicted in a final judgment, clearly showing the impunity in which the facts languish. 3. The petitioners argue that the alleged offenses constitute, inter alia, violations of the rights to life (Article 4 of the Convention), humane treatment (Article 5 of the Convention), personal liberty (Article 7 of the Convention), and juridical personality (Article 3 of the Convention) of the 15 people who were illegally detained and then forcibly “disappeared.” They also argue that, given that seven of the alleged victims were children at the time of the events, the State has also violated Article 19 of the Convention. The petitioners further charge violation of Articles 1, 8 and 6 of the Inter-American Convention against Torture in connection with the 15 victims. The petitioners argue that the impunity that still surrounds the alleged offenses as well as the due-process shortcomings that plagued the investigations amount to violations of Articles 2, 8, and 25 of the American Convention and Article I of the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons. 4. Initially, the State said that it had been determined that 14 members of the Santa Barbara community had been retained and were missing. Later, the State acknowledged that the acts perpetrated in the community of Santa Barbara concerning the 15 alleged victims in the case constituted violations of the rights to liberty, life, and physical integrity recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, all of which instruments were in force at the time of the events. The State holds that, although, at first, the Peruvian Army personnel who took part in those events benefited from Amnesty Law 26479 in January 1 In the course of processing the petition, the IACHR was informed by the petitioners in a communication of July 7, 1992, that the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) had become a joint petitioner in the case.