ICJ concerned by the situation in the Dominican Republic

The ICJ has become increasingly concerned over persistent reports from citizens of the Dominican Republic as well as international organizations of the systematic violation of basic human rights and freedoms by the regime.

It was recently decided to investigate some of the allegations made in these reports and to send to the Dominican Republic an observer whose personal integrity and professional standing as a distinguished jurist would guarantee an objective and impartial appraisal of the situation in that country. The Commission was fortunate in obtaining the cooperation of Dr. Julio Cueto-Rua, of Argentina, a professor of law and a former minister of Industry and Commerce in the Aramburu government. He is also the head of the National Federation of Parties of the centre of Argentina. The main purpose of Dr. Cueto-Rua’s mission was, firstly, to obtain through personal interviews with government officials, the officers of the Bar Association, teachers of law and leading jurists and practitioners, views and prospects of future developments of the legal and constitutional system of the Dominican Republic and, secondly, to evaluate the present position of the Rule of Law and its possibilities there.

On April 27, 1960, Professor Cueto-Rua, who was then a Visiting Professor at the School of Law at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, applied for a visa to the competent authorities of the Dominican Republic in the United States. Frequent requests for action on his application produced no results and the tone of replies indicated that the Dominican authorities were employing delaying and evasive tactics. On June 23, the Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, Dr. Jean-Flavien Lalive, addressed an urgent request to the Minister of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic at Ciudad Trujillo, asking for immediate consideration of Professor Cueto-Rua’s application. No reply or acknowledgment was received. On July 12, Dr. Lalive sent a cable to the same Minister repeating the request for the granting of a visa for the Commission’s observer. No reply has been received to this cable.

The International Commission of Jurists after further careful study and consideration of the situation has come to the conclusion that:

  • the present government of the Dominican Republic does willingly and deliberately refuse to permit an impartial and professionally qualified observer of a world-wide legal organisation to enter the Dominican Republic to conduct an objective investigation of charges that the Dominican authorities are systematically violating human rights and the principles and procedures of the Rule of Law.

The Commission furthermore expresses its great concern over what appears to be a serious and deliberate maladministration of justice in the Dominican Republic, and declares that:

  • it is the intention of the Commission to follow loosely developments, in the Dominican Republic, to give consideration to all claims of violations of human rights and justice based on verifiable evidence, to request all individuals and organizations possessing such evidence to forward it to the Commission’s headquarters in Geneva, and to publish in the near future a full account of its examination.


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