4 20. In addition, the Commission is competent ratione temporis because the obligation to respect and guarantee the rights protected by the American Convention was already in force for the State at the time of the events alleged in the petition. 21. Finally, the Commission is competent ratione materiae because, as will be explained further, the petition contains allegations of actions that could constitute violations of human rights protected by the American Convention and by the Inter-American Convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons, ratified by Peru on February 8, 2002. B. Exhaustion of domestic remedies 22. Article 46(1)(a) of the American Convention provides that, in order for a petition presented to the Inter-American Commission under Article 44 of the Convention to be admitted, the remedies under domestic law must have been pursued and exhausted in accordance with generally recognized principles of international law. This requirement was established to allow national authorities the opportunity to consider alleged violations of protected rights and, if applicable, resolve such matters before they might be heard by an international body. 23. The prior exhaustion requirement applies when the national system truly provides available recourse to properly and effectively remedy the alleged violation. In that connection, Article 46(2) stipulates that such requirement shall not apply when the domestic law of the state concerned does not afford due process of law for the protection of the right in question, or if the alleged victim has been denied access to the remedies under domestic law, or if there has been unwarranted delay in rendering a final judgment under the aforementioned remedies. 24. The precedents established by the Commission indicate that whenever an ex officio prosecutable crime is committed, the State is obliged to institute and pursue criminal proceedings and that, in such cases, this is the suitable channel to clarify the facts, prosecute the responsible parties, establish appropriate criminal penalties, and make possible other means of reparation. The facts described by the petitioners concerning the alleged forced disappearance of Teresa Díaz Aparicio, under Peruvian law, constitute criminal actions whose investigation and prosecution should be instituted by the State on its own initiative. 25. The information submitted by the parties indicates that the Peruvian State learned of the alleged disappearance of Mrs. Díaz Aparicio on September 2, 1992, through the notice of this petition sent by the IACHR. Subsequently, in its report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru of March 12, 1993, the Commission expressed concern over reports of various persons who were disappeared between May and August of 1992, among them Mrs. Teresa Díaz Aparicio, nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University, the journalist Pedro Yauri, and members of the peasant community of El 2 Santa. Although that information was in the public domain, it was only in March of 2003 that the Office of the Special Prosecutor on Forced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Executions, and Exhumation of Clandestine Graves ordered the opening of investigations into the alleged disappearance of Mrs. Díaz Aparicio. The IACHR notes that the investigation of those facts may have been obstructed by adoption of Law No. 26479 on June 15, 1995, Article 1 of which granted […] general amnesty to military, police, or civilian personnel […] investigated, reported, indicted, prosecuted, or convicted for common and military crimes […] for all actions derived from or arising upon occasion or as a consequence of the struggle against terrorism […] between May of 1980 and 3 the date of this law’s enactment. 26. Similarly, Article 6 of Law No. 26479 stipulated that “actions or offenses under this law are not subject to investigation […] and all court cases being prosecuted or on which decisions have been 2 IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Peru, OAS/Ser.L/V/II.83, Doc. 31, March 12, 1993, Section III. SITUATION SINCE APRIL 5, 1992, paragraph 90, available at www.cidh.oas.org/countryrep/Peru93sp/iii.htm. 3 Law No. 26479 of June 14, 1992, available on the website of the Congress of the Republic of Peru: www.congreso.gob.pe/ntley/Imagenes/Leyes/26479.pdf.

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