complaint. The State responded on March 5, 2004. On April 22, 2004, the petitioners submitted their observations on the information from the State, and the State responded on February 15, 2005 by submitting further observations. III. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES A. The petitioners 6. The complaint received by the IACHR alleges that José Adrián Rochac Hernández was the victim of a forced disappearance, presumably at the hands of members of the Armed Forces of El Salvador and members of paramilitary groups from the zone of San Martín. The petitioners claim that this case pertains to a pattern of disappearance of children during the armed conflict. Regarding the facts of the case, the petitioners state the following: On December 12, 1980, at about nine o’clock in the morning, a military raid took place in the canton of San José Segundo of the Municipality of San Martín; the raid was comprised of paramilitary forces from the zone of San Martín and troops of the Armed Forces of El Salvador (FAES) under the command of General Rafael Bustillo. The Hernández Rochac family lived in the canton of San José Segundo. At that time, the household was comprised of Mrs. María Silverio Rochac, age 38, her six children, Sergio Antonio, age 12; María Juliana, age 10; María Del Tránsito, age 8; José Adrián Rochac, age 5; Ana Margarita, age 3; and a newborn child Nicolás Alfonso, age 6 days, all bearing the surname Rochac Hernández. For their safety and in view of the raid that was taking place, the Rochac Hernández family decided to lock the doors of its house. The soldiers and paramilitary forces who were members of the raid reached the house of the Rochac Hernández family, broke down the doors and asked for weapons, they immediately hit Mrs. María Silverio and afterwards they took her out of the house, and the child Sergio Antonio, who was very attached to his mother, went outside with her. They were both taken at about 30 meters away from the house, where they were shot and killed instantly. Afterwards the military withdrew from the place, taking with them the child José Adrián, and the three sisters and six-day-old child were left alone. The soldiers and paramilitary troops went in the direction of San Bartolomé Perulapía; near Santa Elena, which is on the highway to Suchitoto, there were army trucks waiting for the soldiers. At about five meters away from the house of the Rochac Hernández family, there was Mrs. Dolores López Beltrán, who saw the child José Adrián Rochac Hernández, who appeared distraught, taken away by the soldiers of the Salvadoran Armed Forces. Nearby, where the Army trucks were waiting, on the edge of the highway, Mrs. Jesús Beltrán (deceased) lived as a displaced person, and she saw the child; she knew him because he was a distant relative; she later saw him when he was lifted into one of the trucks. Since then, his whereabouts have been unknown. One of the persons involved both in the raid and in the accusations made against the Rochac Hernández family was Mr. Rodolfo López Miranda (deceased), who at that time was a member of the paramilitary corps of San Martín. 7. The petitioners allege that in El Salvador there are no effective remedies to find children reported missing during the armed conflict. They point out that, during the war, the relatives of the alleged victims did not resort to reporting violations because many families kept away from military raids and also for fear that, if they reported incidents, the authorities would suspect them of collaborating with the guerrilla. Therefore, during this period, there were no viable remedies. Afterwards, the amnesty law enacted in 1993 made it impossible to enforce the recommendations of the Truth Commission regarding the investigation of human rights violations. Finally, they indicate that the writ of habeas corpus, which should be adequate for cases of forced disappearance, is not effective in El Salvador. 8. Despite the above, the petitioners point out that they have resorted to various proceedings, which have been ineffective and insufficient. On May 29, 1996, the child’s father, Mr. Alfonso Hernández Herrera, went to the Asociación Pro-Búsqueda, and on May 31, 1996, turned to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of Human Rights. Likewise, on April 10, 2002, Mr. Alfonso Hernández Herrera, filed a formal request for the investigation of the whereabouts of his son José Adrián Rochac, with the Soyapango Subregional Office of the Attorney General’s Office. Because he received no response, on October 16, 2002, Mr. Alfonso Hernández Herrera filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus with the Constitutional Law Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. 2

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