A. Requests made to the Commission
On April 24, 1965, a revolutionary movement started in the Dominican Republic which affected the country’s stability and brought about the deaths of thousands of persons as well as numberless violations of human rights.
As a result of this movement two entirely antagonistic governments were established in the Dominican territory: one called Constitutionalist Government and the other, Government of National Reconstruction.
On May 10, 1965, the Commission received a cable from the National Congress of the Constitutionalist Government requesting the visit of a representative of the Commission, for the purpose of verifying on the spot “the abuses to which defenseless citizens were being subjected.” On May 24, Dr. Jottín Cury, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Constitutionalist Government, addressed the Chairman of the Commission requesting the transfer of that body to the Dominican Republic for the purpose of verifying, and of adopting the pertinent measures with regard to, the “abuses and assassinations committed by the troops of the Government of National Reconstruction.”
On the other hand, the Government of National Reconstruction made known to the Commission the urgent need that existed for it to make an on-the-spot examination of the situation regarding human rights in the Dominican Republic.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Dr. José A. Mora, in a cable dated May 25, 1965, addressed to the President of the Tenth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa, stated that he considered essential and urgent the presence in Santo Domingo of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The text of the cable of the Secretary General is as follows:
In view of numerous denunciations of violations of human rights formulated by both parties, I consider essential and urgent the presence in Santo Domingo of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. To facilitate here the work of that Commission I am informing and requesting co-operation of both parties.
Complying with those requests, the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Manuel Bianchi, went to Santo Domingo on June 1, 1965, where he joined the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Luis Reque, who had left Washington on May 30 accompanied by a staff member of the Secretariat.
B. Representation of the Commission
In accordance with its Regulations (articles 3(a) and 8), the Commission was represented in the Dominican Republic by its Chairman and, in his absence, by some of its members.
The Chairman, Professor Manuel Bianchi, represented the Commission from June 1 to 20 and from July 2 to 19, and again from September 2 to 27, 1965.
Dr. Carlos Alberto Dunshee de Abranches acted as Representative from June 21 to July 2, and from August 25 to September 5, 1965; Mrs. Angela Acuña de Chacón from July 25 to August 5, 1965; and Dr. Durward V. Sandifer from June 30 to July 14, and from August 11 to 23, 1965.
The Commission established its provisional headquarters at the Hotel Embajador in the Dominican capital, where it installed the offices of its Secretariat. Besides the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Luis Reque, Drs. Isidoro Zanotti, Renzo Minut, Alvaro Gómez, and Guillermo Cabrera, staff members of the Commission’s Secretariat, have served at different times.
C. Legal basis for the Commission’s activities
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights whose function, in accordance with its Statute, is “to promote respect for human rights” (Article 1), may move to the territory of any State when it so decides by an absolute majority of votes and with the consent of the government concerned (Article 11.c)
In the present situation of the Dominican Republic, consent was implied in the requests made by both governments, and in the commitments assumed by both to formally respect the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, as well as to give the Commission all of the facilities that are essential for the fulfillment of its mission.
The texts of the pertinent documents are as follows:
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
It is the duty of the Constitutionalist Government to affirm to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that:
1. It has respected and will continue to respect the human rights established in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man proclaimed at the Ninth International Conference of American States, held at Bogotá, Colombia, in 1948.
2. It has respected and will continue to respect, basically, the right to life, the right to trial by competent courts, the right to protection from arbitrary arrest, and the right of every person to humane treatment during the time he is in custody.
3. It will provide to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or to the representative of the said Commission, all of the facilities that are essential for the proper fulfillment of its mission.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 8, 1965
For the Constitutional For the Inter-American
Government Commission on Human Rights
Dr. Jottín Cury Manuel Bianchi
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chairman
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
THE GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION REAFFIRMS TO THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS THAT:
Faithful to its purpose to comply with all the requirements of the Constitution of the Republic, especially those with regard to human rights, and all the international commitments assumed by the Dominican Republic, it has respected, it will respect, and it will enforce the human rights established in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man approved by the Ninth International Conference of American States, held at Bogotá, Colombia, in 1948.
Consequently, the Government of National Reconstruction will continue, as it has done up to now, to furnish the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights all of the facilities that are essential for the proper fulfillment of its mission.
Horacio Vicioso Soto
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
June 9, 1965
The Commission, in the performance of its duties, also took into consideration the Act of Santo Domingo, the resolutions of May 6 and 20 and June 2, 1965, of the Tenth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the Act establishing the Inter-American Peace Force, signed on May 23, 1965.