Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 160th session
(Seoul, 15 April 1997)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/160/14(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 159th session (September 1996) concerning the case of Mr. Amílcar Méndez, of Guatemala,

Taking account of the information supplied by the Guatemalan delegation on the occasion of the 97th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1997),

Taking into consideration the information supplied by the sources on 20 March and 7 April 1997,

Recalling that Mr. Méndez, a member of Parliament for the New Guatemala Democratic Front (FDNG), has received death threats on several occasions, one coming on 10 April 1996, in the form of letters signed by a death squad calling itself "Jaguar Justiciero" (the justice-dispensing jaguar) accusing him of being a communist; that the following day, between 12.30 and 1 p.m., four heavily armed and unmasked men raided his home; that Mr. Méndez's daughter, a minor, was the only person at home at the time of the raid and that she was found inside the house drugged and naked,

Considering that Mr. Méndez continues to receive death threats, the latest in the form of telephone calls on 7 and 15 February and 17 and 18 March 1997 warning him " to be very careful because you are attacking sectors of power and your life is in danger "; that the last call on 18 March told him that " they had given him the chance to save his life ",

Considering that these threats were reportedly made immediately after Mr. Méndez had made public statements in Parliament and elsewhere critical of the country's armed forces, and recently after he expressed opposition to statements by the Minister of the Interior concerning the possible arrest of former guerrilla leader Rodrigo Asturias, in the event of his return to Guatemala,

Considering that, according to one of the sources, members of the Armed Forces might be involved in death threats against Mr. Méndez,

Recalling that on 16 April 1996 the Congress of Guatemala adopted a resolution condemning the violence against Mr. Méndez and his daughter, asking Mr. Méndez to continue his parliamentary duties and urging the authorities to do their utmost to shed light on this affair and guarantee the safety of Mr. Méndez and his family,

Considering that, according to the Guatemalan delegation, an investigation into the death threats is under way and that the Congress is closely following the matter and recently adopted a second resolution on Mr. Méndez,

Bearing in mind the conclusion, on 29 December 1996, of the peace accord between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca, which ends 36 years of internal armed conflict,

  1. Thanks the Guatemalan delegation for the information it provided and its co-operation;
  2. Regrets, however, the lack of any reply from the President of the National Group of Guatemala;
  3. Remains deeply concerned at the death threats against Mr. Méndez and the subsequent raid on his house and heinous attack on his daughter;
  4. Is particularly alarmed that the death threats appear to be continuing and to come in response to public stances adopted by Mr. Méndez in the exercise of his parliamentary duties;
  5. Expresses concern at the allegation that members of the armed forces may be involved in these crimes;
  6. Notes with satisfaction that judicial investigations into the death threats have been opened and that the Congress of Guatemala is closely following the situation of Mr. Méndez and his family, recently adopting a second resolution on his case;
  7. Would appreciate more detailed information on the result of the relevant investigations, in addition to a copy of the second resolution adopted by the Congress of Guatemala on the situation of Mr. Méndez;
  8. Trusts that the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala will continue monitoring implementation of the measures requested and, in particular, take every possible step to ensure that proper investigations are carried out so that those behind the death threats are identified and apprehended;
  9. Welcomes the conclusion of the peace accord, and trusts that it will serve to eliminate all such instances of political violence and impunity;
  10. Requests the Secretary General to convey the Committee's concerns to the President of the National Group of Guatemala, the President of the Congress of the Republic and any other competent authority, inviting them to supply the information sought;
  11. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (September 1997).

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