REPORT No. 129/17
CASE 12.315
MERITS
CARLOS ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ PRIETO AND CARLOS ALEJANDRO TUMBEIRO
MERITS
ARGENTINA
OCTOBER 25, 2017

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On July 30, 1999, and March 31, 2003, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter “the Commission,” “the Inter-American Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received two petitions that
alleged the international responsibility of the Argentine Republic (hereinafter “the State,” “the Argentine State,”
or “Argentina”) for the alleged illegal and arbitrary arrests to the detriment of Carlos Alberto Fernández Prieto
and Carlos Alejandro Tumbeiro in May 1992 and January 1998, respectively, by agents of the Buenos Aires
Police. The Office of Public Defense of the Nation (Defensoría General de la Nación), as the petitioner, indicated
that the arrests were not authorized by an arrest warrant nor were they carried out in a situation of flagrancy,
but were based exclusively on purported suspicious attitudes on the part of the alleged victims.
2.
The State argued that it is not internationally responsible insofar as the arrests were legal and
in keeping with the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or “the
Convention”). The State held that the decision of the police agents to intercept the vehicles in which Messrs.
Fernández and Tumbeiro were riding was due to their “suspicious attitude.” It indicated that the arrest and
subsequent institution of criminal proceedings against the alleged victims were due to the seizure of drugs and
weapons in their vehicles. It added that the criminal proceedings and consequent convictions were
accompanied by respect for due process guarantees.
3.
After analyzing the information available, the Commission concluded that the Argentine State
is responsible for violating the rights to personal liberty, judicial guarantees, and judicial protection,
established at Articles 7(1), 7(2), 7(3), 7(5), 8(1), 11(2) and 25(1) of the American Convention, in relation to
the obligations established at Articles 1(1) and 2 of the same instrument to the detriment of Carlos Alberto
Fernández Prieto and Carlos Alejandro Tumbeiro.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

4.
The processing of the two petitions – which were joined given the similarity of the facts – up
to the issuance of the admissibility report is described in Report No. 5/12 of March 19, 2012.1 On April 11,
2012, the Commission notified the parties of that report and placed itself at the disposal of the parties to pursue
a friendly settlement. On July 24, 2012, the petitioner presented its observations on the merits. On August 8,
2012, the IACHR forwarded those observations to the State and gave it four months as provided in the Rules of
Procedure to submit its observations on the merits. To this day the State has not presented those observations.
The petitioner has submitted several briefs, which were forwarded to the State.
III.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

Position of the petitioner

5.
The petitioner alleged that the Argentine State is responsible internationally for the alleged
illegal and arbitrary arrests to the detriment of Carlos Alberto Fernández Prieto and Carlos Alejandro Tumbeiro
in May 1992 and January 1998, respectively, by agents of the Buenos Aires Police. The petitioner indicated that
their detentions were not pursuant to any judicial order, nor did they occur in a situation of flagrancy, but were
due exclusively to purported suspicious attitudes on the part of the alleged victims.
1 IACHR, Report No. 5/12, Case 12,315, Admissibility, Carlos Alberto Fernández Prieto and Carlos Alejandro Tumbeiro,
Argentina, March 19, 2012.

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