CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Second periodic reports of States parties due in 1995
[10 June 1996]
* The initial report submitted by the Government of Paraguay is contained
in document CAT/C/12/Add.3; for its consideration by the Committee,
see documents CAT/C/SR.158, 159 and 161 and the Official Records
of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth session, Supplement No. 44
(A/49/44, paras. 52-65).
1. As a State
party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Paraguay hereby submits its second
report for consideration by the Committee against Torture, in conformity
with the provisions of article 19 of the Convention.
2. The present
report refers to, as sources of supplementary and additional information,
the initial report submitted by the Republic of Paraguay (CAT/C/12/Add.3)
and the supplementary report, submitted in response to the questions
raised by the Committee in connection with the initial report.
3. In conformity
with the principles enshrined in its new Constitution adopted on 20
June 1992, Paraguay shares the international community's responsibility
and desire to protect and monitor fundamental human rights; for this
reason it has acceded to and ratified a number of international and
regional instruments in this field.
more than three decades of dictatorship, the Government of Paraguay,
conscious of its historic responsibility, has ratified the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment by Act No. 60/90 of 1 January 1990. It has thus reasserted
its manifest desire and firm intention to ensure the full realization
of representative, participatory and pluralistic democracy, based
on recognition of human dignity, and fundamental human rights, thereby
helping to ensure the universality of the Convention and making a
clear commitment before the community of nations.
5. In its
initial and supplementary reports, the Government of Paraguay described
in detail the constitutional provisions and specific rules of national
law that ensure respect for the human rights of all persons on its
territory and subject to its jurisdiction, and also its commitment
to combat any form of torture and impunity.
6. This report
covers the period 1991-1995, and draws the Committee's attention to
the measures adopted by the Government of Paraguay to prevent and
punish torture. Bearing in mind the guidelines regarding the form
and content of reports, the present report includes the new provisions
and positive measures adopted in relation to the various articles
of the Convention.
Information on new measures and new developments of relevance to
the implementation of the Convention
7. The legal
framework is determined by the current Constitution, which prohibits
torture. Article 5 states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or
to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. Genocide and
torture, and the enforced disappearance of persons, abduction and
homicide for political reasons shall be imprescriptible".
is currently considering a new draft Penal Code, which was formulated
by the Penal Code Sub-Committee, set up by the Parliamentary Committees
on Legislation and Constitutional Affairs. This draft, which is annexed
to this report, characterizes and establishes penalties for the offence
of torture, and even specifies that acts of torture committed by a
public official or with his consent should not go unpunished.
9. The texts
on which the draft Penal Code is based were described in full in the
supplementary report submitted by Paraguay to the Committee.
have been significant developments in the judicial sphere in relation
to numerous cases in which statutory limitation applied to acts of
torture committed under the previous regime. In two such cases, the
Republic's highest legal authority, the Supreme Court, has handed
down judgements declaring the offence of torture to be imprescriptible,
thereby confirming the decisions of the lower courts and judges on
11. It should
also be emphasized that article 5 of the Constitution itself provides
that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading punishment or treatment and specifically stipulates that
torture is imprescriptible. Similarly, article 100, paragraph 2, in
chapter VII of the draft Penal Code declares punishable acts characterized
by law and covered by article 5 of the Constitution to be imprescriptible;
as indicated above, torture is one of them.
of physical abuse in places of detention are few and far between,
but do not go unpunished when reported to the proper authorities.
With the present structure of the National Police since the adoption
of an act unifying the various police forces and abolishing the Delegaciones
de Gobierno (government delegations), various human rights bodies
are able to make visits to police premises. These are readily accepted
by the National Police high command. The new structure also makes
it possible to respond positively to complaints of physical ill-treatment
and to take administrative measures to dismiss the officer responsible,
without prejudice to the institution by the Public Prosecutor's Department
of criminal proceedings to punish persons guilty of torture.
the advent of democracy, it has not been necessary to declare a state
of emergency. Parliament is currently considering a Public Prosecutor's
Department Organization Bill which empowers the Attorney General,
when a state of emergency has been declared, to intervene directly
in cases involving habeas corpus, to visit places of detention or
transfer centres, to keep a register of detainees and to ensure that
persons are given the option of leaving the country. The Bill also
allows an action of unconstitutionality to be brought against the
decree or act establishing the state of emergency if it fails to comply
with the requirements set out in the Constitution. To clarify this
point, we may cite article 288 (Title III) of the Constitution, which
contains the following provisions regarding states of emergency:
"In the even of an
international armed conflict, whether or not formally declared,
or serious internal disturbance placing in imminent danger the
authority of this Constitution or the regular functioning of the
organs established by it, Congress or the Executive may declare
a state of emergency in part or all of the national territory,
for a maximum period of 60 days. If the declaration is made by
the Executive, the measure shall be approved or rejected by Congress
within a period of 48 hours"
14. The 60-day
limit may be extended for successive periods of up to 30 days, for
which an absolute majority of both Chambers shall be required.
Parliament is in recess, the Executive may declare a state of emergency
for a single period of no more than 30 days, but must within eight
days submit the declaration for approval or rejection by Congress,
which will be convened de jure for a special session solely
for that purpose.
16. The decree
or law declaring the state of emergency must set forth the grounds
and facts on which it is based, the length of time it will remain
in force, the territory affected and the rights that it restricts.
the state of emergency is in force, the Executive may order the following
measures only, by decree and on a case-by-case basis: the detention
of persons suspected of having participated in any acts of this nature,
their transfer from one place to another within the Republic, and
the prohibition or restriction of public meetings and demonstrations.
18. In all
cases, suspects will have the option of leaving the country.
19. The Executive
will immediately transmit to the Supreme Court of Justice the names
of persons detained under the state of emergency and inform it where
they are being held or have been taken, in order that a judicial inspection
may be possible.
detained under the state of emergency must be held in clean and healthy
facilities not intended for ordinary offenders or must remain under
house arrest. Transfers must always be to clean and inhabited places.
21. A state
of emergency may in no circumstances interrupt the functioning of
the powers of the state, the applicability of the Constitution or
specifically habeas corpus.
may at any time, by an absolute majority, order the state of emergency
to be lifted if it considers that the reasons for its declaration
the state of emergency has ended, the Executive is required to inform
Congress, within a period of not more than five days, of the action
that has been taken while the state of emergency was in force.
articles of the Bill under consideration concern the responsibility
of public officials who act arbitrarily and the penalties to which
they are liable. For example, if, in the course of his duties or in
connection with them, an official inflicts physical ill-treatment
or injury or causes it to be inflicted, he will incur a penalty. Similarly,
any official who, in connection with criminal or other proceedings
involving coercive measures, physically ill-treats another person
or in any other way uses violence to compel him to make or not to
make a statement, is liable to punishment. The Constitution also establishes
the responsibility of public officials, article 106 stipulating that
"No official or public employee shall be exempt from responsibility.
In cases of violations, offences or breaches committed by them in
the performance of their duties, they shall be personally responsible,
without prejudice to the subsidiary responsibility of the State. The
State shall be entitled to demand the reimbursement of any sums it
has had to pay in that connection".
25. No applications
have been received that raise the question of compliance with this
article of the Convention. In any event, compliance with the Constitution
is mandatory; it prohibits extradition on political grounds or if
there is any likelihood that the person concerned might be subjected
to torture by the authorities of the applicant country.
297 bis of the draft Penal Code under consideration characterizes
torture in the following terms:
"(1) Any person who,
with the intention of destroying or seriously harming the personality
of the victim or of a third party, and acting in an official capacity
or with the agreement of an official:
a punishable act against:
(a) Another person's
(c) His sexual
(e) The lawful
exercise of public duties; or
2. Inflicts serious
psychological suffering on the victim, shall be liable to a custodial
sentence of not less than five (and not more than 15) years.
"(2) Paragraph 1 shall
apply even when the official's status:
1. Lacks a valid
legal basis; or
2. Has been assumed
by the perpetrator."
the bill before Parliament specifies those acts that may constitute
acts of torture and furthermore covers the circumstances in which
this violation of human dignity may occur; it even lays down penalties
for public officials guilty of such acts.
28. The courts
of first instance have handed down final sentences against public
officials of the pre-1989 regime in a number of cases. Some of them
are cited below:
of Mario Schaerer Prono: a 25-year sentence was imposed on four former
of Amilcar Oviedo: a 25-year sentence was imposed on one official
and a 5-year sentence on another. The representative of the Public
Prosecutor's Department has appealed against the differentiation of
punishment evident in these decisions and called for a 25-year sentence
against both officials;
of the Ligas Agrarias (Agrarian Leagues): the court imposed a sentence
of 24 years, 4 months and 15 days on a former official;
of Alberto Alegre Portillo: two officials received sentences of 12
years and six months.
29. The cases
cited above are the result of criminal investigations into acts of
torture, unlawful detention and even homicide, in which the judicial
system has done its utmost to gather evidence in order to establish
the crime. No sentences have yet been handed down in the other cases
involving acts of torture committed prior to 1989, although a number
of trials are at the sentencing stage; there is every possibility
that those responsible will receive prison sentences.
30. In cases
that occurred since 1989 and were reported to the courts, convictions
have also been handed down against public officials who abused their
position, and a number of proceedings instituted on the basis of a
complaint by the Public Prosecutor's Department concerning physical
ill-treatment by police officers or prison guards are still under
way. Charges have also been laid in respect of a number of complaints
against military personnel suspected of physically ill-treating soldiers
performing compulsory military service, and the military courts have
been instructed to investigate them.
31. The records
of the Public Prosecutor's Department yield the following statistics
for cases since 1991 in which criminal proceedings have been instituted
in respect of alleged physical ill-treatment by public officials:
ill-treatment in police stations, five cases; ill-treatment in prisons,
seven cases; ill-treatment in the course of police operations, three
5 and 6
have been no developments since the previous reports were submitted
to the Committee. However, under the draft Penal Code now before Parliament,
punishable acts in respect of which Paraguay has ratified treaties
are considered to be subject to universal legal protection. Accordingly,
Paraguayan criminal law will apply to cases in which Paraguay is required
by the terms of the Convention to prosecute a punishable act, even
if it has been committed abroad.
article 145 of the Constitution admits a supranational legal order
on an equal footing with other States to guarantee the realization
of human rights.
have been no developments with a bearing on the information contained
in the previous reports nor have there been any difficulties in implementing
this article of the Convention. The procedures based on the minimum
rules and the relevant extradition treaties, in accordance with the
guidelines of international law, remain fully in force and, as a result
of the institution of the new legal system, they are fundamentally
in conformity with the provisions of the Convention.
is no cause to modify anything stated in the previous reports.
36. The procedures
relating to extradition treaties are still fully in force. Moreover,
the view that the rules of the Convention are fully applicable is
substantiated by the provisions of article 141 of the Constitution,
which stipulates that international treaties which have been validly
concluded and approved by acts of Congress and whose instruments of
ratification have been exchanged or deposited shall form part of domestic
law, with the rank determined by article 137. The latter article establishes
the following order of precedence: the Supreme Law of the Republic
is the Constitution. The Constitution, the treaties, conventions and
international agreements approved and ratified, the laws enacted by
Congress and other legal provisions of lower rank, sanctioned in consequence,
constitute national positive law.
37. A development
of the utmost importance occurred in 1992 with the discovery of the
files of the Policía de la Capital (Asunción Police) dating
back to the period prior to 1989. They have been thoroughly checked
and provide evidence on the status of detained persons, together with
other documents confirming the repression that took place before 1989.
These documents have been used as evidence in a number of trials concerning
human rights violations, and further criminal proceedings are pending
against persons suspected of committing torture before 1989.
the so-called "Archivo del Terror" (Archives of Terror) documention
centre came into operation, the relatives of victims have requested
numerous documents; documents or copies confirming that persons were
detained have been issued, as well as information relating to persons
held by the National Police (known at the time as the Asunción Police).
In order to shed additional light on this matter we append to this
report two publications donated by their authors: "Es Mi Informe"
(My report) and "El Paraguay y la Operación Condor en los Archivos
del Terror" (Paraguay and Operation Condor in the Archives of Terror),
for which we are grateful to Mrs. Rosa Palau Aguilar.
39. The significance
of these documents has led to the creation of a Judiciary Documentation
Centre for the Protection of Human Rights, which has in turn prompted
the Office of the Attorney General to issue a decision establishing
a Committee on Justice and Truth composed of individuals of unquestionable
integrity such as Mr. Augusto Roa Bastos, Mr. Luis Alfonso Resk, Mr.
Ramiro Dominguez, Mr. Miguel Angel Pangrazio and the journalist Mr.
Alcibiades González Delvalle.
40. The above-mentioned
documents are available to anyone, and the members of the Committee
may be consulted during office hours. Copies of these documents to
be used for legal purposes may be obtained rapidly through a habeas
data procedure, the legal remedy currently in force under the
41. The National
University has included the subject of human rights in its programme
of studies, with the following sub-topics: affirmation of human rights,
internationalization of human rights, definition of human rights,
and human rights in Paraguay. The programme thus covers the whole
range of international human rights documents, as well as comparative
and, in particular, constitutional law in this field.
rights are also being taught at the secondary level, using the experience
of the generation of citizens who lived under the previous regime
in order to instil an awareness of human rights.
43. On behalf
of the Paraguayan State, the Directorate-General for Human Rights
within the Ministry of Justice and Labour has carried out various
promotion, dissemination and training projects. The most recent include
seminar on disability, trade unionism and participation in community
development, organized by the Paraguayan Association for the Blind,
the Paraguayan Centre for Deaf-Mutes and the Asunción Association
for the Rehabilitation of the Physically Impaired, with the support
of the United Nations, the Department of Charity and Social Welfare,
and the Directorate-General for Human Rights (Ministry of Justice
and Labour) and the sponsorship of the National Institute for the
Protection of Persons with Special Needs;
on the National Constitution, indigenous peoples and the international
instruments of the International Labour Organization (ILO), organized
by the Paraguayan Institute for Indigenous People under the auspices
of the Commission on Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs of the Chamber
of Deputies, the Directorate-General for Human Rights (Ministry of
Justice and Labour) and the Catholic University's Centre for Anthropological
(c) A Human
Rights Documentation and Information Centre and Library, established
with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
the Centre for Human Rights and the Directorate-General for Human
Rights (Ministry of Justice and Labour);
(d) In the
area of formal education, an inter-agency committee has been set up,
made up of officials of the Ministry of Education and Worship, the
Directorate-General for Human Rights, and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) active in the field of education. Two other activities carried
out in this domain are additional one-day training seminars for secondary
education supervisors and for the Ministry of Education's technical
guidance team. This plan has made it possible to develop programmes
and events in the area of educational reform and to incorporate the
subject of human rights into the school curriculum;
(e) In the
field of justice, a project on diagnosis, classification and treatment
in the prison system has been prepared, developed and implemented
in cooperation with the Directorate of Penal Institutions, which has
also sponsored a statistical analysis of minors held in the Colonel
Panchito López Re-education Institute and legal assistance programmes
for minors in situations of extreme poverty;
workshops have been held on curriculum development and on the preparation
of a manual on civic education for secondary school teachers of human
rights. These workshops were organized in cooperation with the Inter-American
Institute of Human Rights, which has its headquarters in Costa Rica,
and experts in formal and informal education. Participants included
officials of the Ministry of Education and Worship and the Curriculum
Department, administrators working in the field of indigenous affairs,
teachers of Guaraní and representatives of NGOs;
second "Youth Elections", with the slogan "You, too, have a role to
play", which included all primary and secondary schools in Paraguay,
were held within the framework of the promotion and dissemination
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
first "Manual of Curriculum Guidelines for Human Rights Education",
developed with the help of Chilean, Colombian and Costa Rican experts,
was published by the Directorate-General for Human Rights in cooperation
with the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights;
(i) A training
programme provided instruction in the use of the teachers' manual
"The Curriculum and Human Rights":
one: training of 40 monitors from various primary and secondary
school systems during April 1994;
two: Distribution of the manual, "The Curriculum and Human Rights"
in 18 primary school districts at eight-hour workshops which trained
45 teachers per day in its use. The project was supported by the Catholic
University, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Social Law and Political
Economics (CIDSEP), the Swedish Commission of Jurists, and regional
government officials and administrators;
three: One-day workshops on programme assessment and implementation,
carried out with the participation of 45 teachers who conducted training
seminar on the legal framework for ethnic development, organized by
UNDP and the Directorate-General for Human Rights (Ministry of Justice
on a theoretical and practical analysis of the evolution of the implementation
of human rights in judicial decisions, organized by the Directorate-General
for Human Rights and the Supreme Court, under the auspices of the
Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.
44. The Government
of Paraguay, in cooperation with the United Nations Centre for Human
Rights, is currently carrying out a project on the development and
implementation of the National Plan for the Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights.
45. The National
Plan originated in a request for cooperation from the Paraguayan Government
to the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.
An international adviser (male) and a national adviser (female) carried
out a diagnostic study, which was then submitted to civil society
and government agencies for their consideration at a seminar entitled
"Proposal for a Plan of Action for the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights in Paraguay".
to the decisions taken at that seminar, a conference of NGOs was organized
in order to enable those organizations freely to elect their representatives
to the Preparatory Committee for the Development of the National Plan
of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Paraguay
(PRECOM); as a result, five members and their alternates were elected
from various organizations working in the field of human rights. Five
representatives of governmental organizations and their alternates
were also elected to the Committee, whose work culminated in the preparation
of rules of procedure to be used by the soon-to-be-established drafting
47. The importance
of the Preparatory Committee's work lies in the fact that, perhaps
for the first time, representatives of the government and NGOs sat
down together to discuss and work on the theme of human rights, a
fact which augurs well for the future.
48. The Office
of the Attorney General has also held seminars on human rights, including
the following: a seminar on human rights trials in Paraguay, which
informed the public of the progress of the criminal proceedings against
a number of officials of the former regime; a seminar on minors in
conflict with the law; a seminar on the implementation of international
human rights law; and a seminar-workshop on doctrines and jurisprudence
in the field of human rights. These seminars targeted police officers
and prison guards from all districts; for example, from 14 to 17 November
1994, practical workshops were held to instruct police and prison
officers in the mandatory regulations stemming from the international
human rights instruments to which Paraguay is a party.
49. The National
Police Organization Act of 1993, establishes its structure, functions,
powers and objectives. Article 3 of that Act stipulates that police
officers shall conform to constitutional and legal provisions in the
exercise of their functions and that their actions shall be based
on respect for human rights. Among the responsibilities and powers
established in article 6 of the Act are the following:
"(8) Summon or arrest
individuals in accordance with the law and within the framework
established by the Constitution. Persons summoned must appear
on a working day and during working hours and shall be heard and
dealt with on the day and at the time indicated. Any delay shall
be considered an abuse of authority.
"(9) Arrest persons
caught in the act, and those suspected, of committing an offence,
in the manner and for the period established under the Constitution
and the law, informing them of the reason for their arrest and
their rights, and bringing them before the competent judge."
50. The National
Police have publicly announced that they no longer act without proof,
that their Criminal Investigation Department has modern laboratories
through which scientific evidence is made available to the courts
when needed, and that one of their priorities is the professional
training of staff, who are given instruction in the international
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.
51. It has
also been announced that by decision No. 816 of 3 October 1995, signed
by the Minister of the Interior, a new Human Rights Protection Office
has been established within the Legal Department of the Ministry of
the Interior. A copy of this decision is appended. Although no information
is as yet available on the future range of activities of this new
office, it follows from the decision establishing it that one of its
specific functions will be the handling of complaints of human rights
violations committed by police officers.
52. The Office
of the Attorney General has prepared the preliminary draft of a reform
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which sets forth basic principles
in the area of human rights, incorporating the constitutional provisions
concerning the need to respect the accused's rights during questioning
and, in its preamble, describing the accused's statement as an indispensable
act by which he voluntarily provides information concerning circumstances
in his favour, and denies the charges against him. Since 1991, the
Office of the Attorney General has seconded an official of the Public
Prosecutor's Department to Tacumbú prison with a mandate to ensure
the rights of prisoners and report any cases of physical abuse. In
addition, weekly visits are made to the various prisons in the capital
and periodic visits are made to those in the interior in order to
give prisoners an opportunity to voice their concerns. This has made
it possible for complaints to be made against police and prison authorities
in specific cases of ill-treatment of prisoners and for proceedings
to be instituted against those responsible for such acts.
with the provisions of the Constitution is obligatory throughout the
Republic. The fact that criminal law explicitly prohibits physical
harassment or punishment and establishes penalties for abuse of authority
by public officials, and that the draft Penal Code calls for the punishment
of arbitrary acts, including physical harassment by public officials,
constitutes proof of the will to ensure that no human rights violation
54. The judicial
apparatus of the Republic as a whole and the Public Prosecutors's
Department constitute trustworthy entities to which citizens may turn
in order to lodge a complaint concerning any human rights violation.
55. The Executive
includes a Directorate-General for Human Rights, the principal function
of which is to disseminate the various international instruments ratified
by Paraguay and to prepare human rights reports. Each of the two Chambers
of Parliament also has a Human Rights Commission to which citizens'
complaints of alleged physical ill-treatment may be submitted.
56. The human
rights branch of the Public Prosecutor's Department and the courts
accept and process all types of complaint according to the procedural
directives currently in force. In the interior of the country, the
regional governments include human rights departments to which complaints
of ill-treatment may be addressed.
have been no complaints of torture in the form of intimidation or
threats since 1989, but article 4 of the Constitution guarantees State
protection of life and physical integrity to all citizens.
14 of the Public Prosecutor's Department Organization Bill, currently
before Parliament, states: "The Public Prosecutor's Department shall
protect anyone who, by cooperating in the administration of justice,
places himself at risk, particularly in the case of offences associated
with organized crime, abuse of authority or human rights violations.
To this end, it shall have an ongoing programme to protect witnesses,
victims and its own employees".
59. A bill
currently before Parliament, which originated in 1993 and was subsequently
amended, is being considered with the following wording:
"Art. 1. Those
persons whose right to life, physical integrity or freedom was
violated by officials, employees or agents of the State during
the dictatorship of 1954-1989 shall be compensated under this
"Art. 2. The
following human rights violations shall be compensated under this
(a) Enforced disappearance;
(b) Summary or
(c) Torture resulting
in manifest physical or psychological impairment;
(d) Unlawful detention
for a continuous period of over one year;
(e) Unlawful detention
for a continuous period of over three months."
60. The provisions
of this bill cover offences against human dignity committed by public
officials between 1954 and 1989. In order to be eligible for compensation,
claims must be made either following a final decision by the courts
or through the Office of the Ombudsman. The bill also extends eligibiity
for compensation to a surviving spouse or to relatives within the
first degree of consanguinity (this bill has already been provisionally
passed by the Senate).
61. In cases
of torture committed after 1989, article 106 of the Constitution makes
public officials personally responsible for offences of all kinds,
without prejudice to the subsidiary responsibility of the State.
who has been the victim of physical harassment by public officials
may, irrespective of any legal action he may be entitled to take,
apply to the Crime Victims' Assistance Office within the Public Prosecutor's
Office. The function of this office is to provide assistance and treatment
to victims, arrange for an evaluation of the psychological and social
harm suffered, and advise family members on ways of assisting in the
victim's treatment and recovery.
63. The national
courts' jurisprudence has been constant and consistent in considering
that a statement lacks evidential value and may not, therefore, be
used in a court of law unless it was made before the appropriate court
and, essentially, unless it was made in accordance with the constitutional
guarantees that protect accused persons.
64. It is
important to note that article 30 of the Public Prosecutor's Department
Bill stipulates that prosecutors may question an accused at a police
station without the presence or participation of any police officer,
except when police presence is required for security reasons. An accused
person's statement shall, in all cases, be made in an appropriate
place which conforms strictly to the provisions of the Code of Criminal
Procedure. Article 31 of the Bill states that:
"When he arrives at
the police premises, the prosecutor shall verify:
1. The accused
person's physical condition;
2. The conditions
compliance with all the accused person's rights;
the date and time of the arrest or detention have been duly recorded;
a case file has been duly opened in accordance with the provisions
of the Code of Criminal Procedure;
6. The existence
and accuracy of the list of the accused person's property confiscated
by, or turned over to, the authorities;
treatment of victims or informants.
If he notes
any irregularity, he shall prepare a report which he shall immediately
submit to the Assistant Public Prosecutor."
65. As stated
above, article 5 of the Constitution specifically prohibits torture
and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. Various chapters
and articles of the Penal Code currently under consideration also
define and establish penalties for any attack on or infringement of
human dignity, whether committed by an ordinary citizen not employed
by the public administration or by a public official. For purposes
of illustration, the draft Penal Code, prepared by the Penal Code
Subcommittee of the Parliamentary Committees on Legislation and Constitutional
Affairs for consideration by Parliament is annexed to this report.
66. For the
first time in almost 40 years, the Republic of Paraguay has a Government
headed by a civilian, Mr. Juan Carlos Wasmosy, who, on various occasions
both within the country and in international forums, has expressed
his firm intention to strengthen democracy in the country and, by
so doing, to preserve and respect the rule of law. The President of
the Republic declares that his Government will not cover up excesses
or abuses by those who forget their responsibilities as public servants,
and that he will always place the social State subject to the rule
of law before any individual interest.
67. The country
is openly engaged in strengthening democracy through the steady consolidation
and rationalization of its State powers, carrying out investigations
and bringing about major changes which guarantee greater public confidence
in its leaders and representatives and ensuring the participation
of citizens and the media, which enjoy full freedom of information.
All these changes have been ratified by the Government through instruments
aimed at the complete elimination of impunity and the abuse of power.
68. The Legislature
includes various specialized committees in a number of areas, in particular
human rights and the investigation of illicit acts, which are supported
by article 195 of the Constitution. One provision of this article
authorizes both Chambers of Congress to set up joint investigatory
commissions on any matter of public interest, or on the conduct of
its own members, and obliges public officials and private individuals
to appear before such commissions in order to supply any information
and documentation that may be required of them.
69. The Council
of the Judiciary, recently created by the Constitution, is now fully
functional. Its principal responsibilities and powers, as specified
in article 264 of the Constitution, are:
(a) To propose
lists of candidates for membership of the Supreme Court, selected
on the basis of their abilities, qualifications and merits and to
submit such lists to the Senate in order that it may make the necessary
appointments, with the approval of the Executive;
(b) To propose
to the Supreme Court, on the basis of the above selection criteria,
lists of candidates for the posts of judges, officials of the lower
courts and members of the Attorney General's office.
those criteria, the Council of the Judiciary is now in the process
of selecting candidates on the basis of the curricula vitae submitted.
This is an encouraging step toward the reform of the entire justice
also has a new Attorney General, Mr. Aníbal de la Cruz Cabrera Verón.
The new incumbent of this post was selected by the Executive from
a list of candidates drawn up by the Council of the Judiciary and
took his oath of office before the Senate. The Attorney General serves
for a five-year term, cannot be removed from his post and may be re-elected.
also has a new Supreme Court whose members are Mr. Oscar Paciello,
Mr. Felipe Santiago Paredes, Mr. Enrique Sosa, Mr. Elixeno Ayala,
Mr. Luis Lezcano Claude, Mr. Raúl Sapena Brugada, Mr. Jerónimo Irala
Burgos, Mr. Wildo Rienzi and Mr. Carlos Fernández Gadea. This encouraging
event marks a new phase of activity for the judiciary and provides
even greater proof of the Government's commitment to the social State
subject to the rule of law. Mr. Oscar Paciello was elected President
of the Court by consensus and will remain in this post for one year.
As stipulated by the 1992 Constitution, the three divisions making
up the Supreme Court have been established: Constitutional; Criminal
and Civil; and Commercial.
73. In addition,
the following new members have been added to the Higher Electoral
Tribunal: Mr. Carlos Mojoli, Mr. Alberto Ramírez Zambonini and Mr.
Expedito Rojas. They have promised transparency and integrity in fulfilling
the mandate of this body, which will officiate in the forthcoming
municipal and national elections.
is thus openly engaged in the process of fully consolidating its democratic
system, one of the primary goals of which is the fight against the
scourge of torture in all its forms. As proof of its commitment, Paraguay
has accepted the competence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
within the inter-American system and constantly engages in activities
designed to promote and disseminate human rights, both among the general
public and, in particular, among judges so that they may apply human
rights effectively in their decisions.
75. It should
be stressed that Paraguay, unlike other countries which have experienced
periods of dictatorship, has not passed any "clean-slate" or amnesty
act which might allow anyone guilty of human rights violations to
escape punishment. Furthermore, as stated above, since torture is
considered an affront to human rights, the Constitution itself declares
it to be imprescriptible.
List of annexes*
Paz, Alfredo, Myrian Angélica González and Rosa Palau Aguilar, "Es
Mi Informe: Los Archivos Secretos de la Policía de Stroessner" (My
Report: the Secret Archives of the Stroessner Police), fourth edition.
de Sannemann, Gladys, "El Paraguay y la Operación Condor en los Archivos
del Terror" (Paraguay and Operation Condor in the Archives of Terror),
of the Interior decision No. 816 establishing a Human Rights Protection
Office within the Legal Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
Penal Code of Paraguay.
* The annexes
are available for consultation in the archives of the United Nations
Centre for Human Rights.