On November 22, 2000, a paramilitary group massacred more than 60
people in the district of Nueva Venecia, municipality of Sitionuevo
(Magdalena). As a result, the 4,000 inhabitants of the district and
surrounding hamlets were displaced and went
to the municipal seat and to the municipalities of Puebloviejo, Palmira,
Tasajera and Ciénaga (Magdalena) and Soledad, Barranquilla, Malambo,
Ponedera and Sabanagrande (Atlántico).
It is public knowledge that the FARC have set up armed roadblocks
on the main roads in the lower Putumayo, which until December 2000
affected the municipalities of La Hormiga, Sibundoy, Puerto Asís, El
Tigre, Orito, San Miguel, La Dorada, Puerto Colón and the hamlets of El
Vergel and Nueva Risaralda in the Department of Putumayo.
The armed roadblocks cut off food and fuel supplies; schools had to
and access to humanitarian relief was cut off.
This drove out some 6,000 people,
who went to Mocoa, Pitalito (Huila), Bogotá and the department of Nariño.
In some cases, the displaced persons crossed the border, headed for
cities like Nueva Loa and Lago Agrio in Sucumbíos province, Ecuador,
where the UNHCR and the Catholic Church provided humanitarian assistance
to nearly two thousand people.
The serious violence that has occurred in the early months of 2001
has triggered new displacements. Among
the regions hardest hit were southern Bolivia and the Cauca Valley.
The framework established in Law 387/97 makes provision for
coordination and execution of policies in the area of forced displacement
and is the function of the Social Solidarity Network
which operates according to the directives contained in Document CONPES
3057 and the Strategic Plan of the Solidarity Network for the period
2000-2002, with the Joint Technical Unit (UTC) functioning as technical
advisor and the Liaison Unit of the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) providing support.
For a number of years now, the humanitarian situation has prompted
the national and international community to demand full enforcement of Law
387/97 by establishing its regulations.
The law itself provides that those regulations were to have been in
place by no later than 6 months from the date of its approval in 1997.
In view of the obvious delay, a series of suits were filed with the
Constitutional Court, which in August 2000 handed down its decision
ordering regulation of Law 387/97 within three months’ time at the
Reacting to the Court’s decision, on December 12, 2000, Decree
2569 was issued to regulate that part of Law 387/97 that concerns the
responsibilities of the Social Solidarity Network as the agency
coordinating the National Information and Comprehensive Services System
for Populations Displaced by Violence, the definition of the displaced
state and its transient nature, the Displaced Persons Registration System,
and the terms to be enrolled in it, the National Information, Emergency
Humanitarian Relief, Socio-economic Stabilization Network and the
functions of the municipal, district and departmental committees for
comprehensive services to those displaced by violence.
It is still not clear how adequate and effective the mechanisms
that the regulatory decree creates will be in coping with the magnitude of
the humanitarian catastrophe of forced displacement in Colombia.
The services to the displaced appear to focus mainly on the
emergency humanitarian relief that would largely remain in the hands of
the international community, in particular the International Committee of
the Red Cross. Also, no
program is as yet in place to provide adequate protection to these persons
and no effective measures have been taken to correct the discrimination
against displaced persons and the stigmas attached to them.
Despite the long period between enactment of the law and enactment
of its regulations, no negotiations or consultations appear to have taken
place with the displaced communities and human rights organizations to
ensure that those regulations are effectively implemented.
The Commission will continue to observe and evaluate how effective
the measures the State takes under the regulations governing Law 387/97
are in addressing the needs of displaced persons and the Guiding
Principles on Internal Displacement.
V. THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
The Commission is deeply troubled by the very high incidence of
impunity that persists in Colombia. One
cause of the problem is the fact that human rights violations continue to
be prosecuted in military courts (despite recent legislative efforts), the
judicial practices surrounding assignment of jurisdiction, and the
violence or warnings targeted at persons who investigate or report human
rights violations. The
Commission has also learned of a parliamentary initiative having to do
with law enforcement authorities when investigating facts that might
involve human rights violations committed by State agents.
This will be discussed at greater length later in this report.
A. The new Code of Military Justice
The new Code of Military Justice took effect on August 12, 2000.
The Commission would like to repeat
that the wording of this provision does not stand in the way of invoking
the jurisdiction of the military criminal courts to prosecute such conduct
as extrajudicial executions, sex crimes and others which, despite
constituting serious violations of human rights, are subject to a
case-by-case examination as to whether they are service-related.
In fact, under the new Code, military judges are considered, in
principle at least, the natural judges to prosecute crimes committed by
military and police, since it stipulates that only military judges and
tribunals are competent to preside over criminal proceedings instituted
for crimes contemplated in the Code.
In case of conflicting competences, the Superior Court of the
Judiciary will continue to decide who has jurisdiction.
The language of the Code does not set out guidelines that will
ensure that this body will settle conflicts of competence in a manner
consistent with the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and
In any event, the Commission hopes that enactment of the new
Military Penal Code will help move human rights cases pending with the
military justice system to the ordinary criminal justice system.
It is important to point out that the Annual Report on Human Rights
and the DIH of the Ministry of Defense indicate that since issuance of the
Constitutional Court’s ruling on attribution of competence, 1,307 cases
have been transferred to the regular justice system and that “fewer than
half concern possible violations of human rights.”
However, the Commission does not have any information indicating
that any of them are related to cases pending with the inter-American
system. In fact, during the
year the case involving the Pueblo Rico massacre, involving an inquiry
into the deaths of civilian minors, was transferred to military
jurisdiction; others, like the Mapiripán massacre, are still with the
military justice system.
B. Security and administration of justice
The Commission is very troubled by the fact that the administration
of justice continues to be plagued by issues having to do with the
security of conditions in which officers of the court perform their
functions, insufficient resources, particularly for the Office of the
Attorney General and its Human Rights Unit, the weakening of the
institutions of justice and the lack of access to courts in various
regions of the country.
As to the risk to which officers of the court are exposed in the
performance of their functions, the Solidarity Fund for victims from the
judicial branch of government registered a total of 11 deaths, 11
disappeared, 21 victims of threats, three assaults where the targets
survived, and at least nine judges, prosecutors and judicial experts in
exile in the first nine months of 2000.
Most of the victims were investigators from the Technical Unit of
the Office of the Attorney General. In
fact the Observations of the State indicate that, in the Departments of
Chocó and Cesar alone, 19 officials of the Technical Unit were either
detained, kidnapped or disappeared by the AUC or by armed dissident
The Protection Program of the Attorney General’s Office does not
cover members of the judiciary, even though the mandate of that Program
makes provision for them, and the State has acknowledged that it has made
restrictions to that agency’s budget.
C. Security and national defense bill
The Commission has learned that a bill is pending in Congress on
“the organization and operation of national security and defense.”
Some of the elements being discussed, specifically in the
“proposed amendments” for the second debate in the Senate, concern
respect for the fundamental rights protected under the Convention.
The proposed amendments to the bill introduce a rule that would
allow law enforcement (armed forces and the National Police) to take
persons into preventive custody “in emergency situations where a court
order cannot be required because it would be ineffective, when there are
well-founded grounds to suspect that the person who will be apprehended is
the likely author of a crime.” The
detention could last no more than 36 hours, unless the circumstances of
“the operation” make it impossible to turn the individual over to the
courts within that time frame, in which case the period for bringing the
person before a magistrate would be up to seven days.
The rule allows law enforcement to interrogate the person taken
into custody, or the witnesses while the individual is in custody.
The bill also authorizes law enforcement to retrieve corpses
resulting from clashes with the military or national police in the course
of committing the crimes of insurrection, illegal possession of arms,
terrorism and kidnapping. The police and military would not only compile
the evidence in such circumstances, but would also conduct the forensic
and ballistic studies needed to establish the facts.
In short, this parliamentary initiative gives the armed services
and National Police the authority to detain suspects without a court order
and to exercise the authorities of judicial police, even though a
constitutional amendment would be required for the provision to take
The bill would give the armed services and National Police
extraordinary powers for purposes of apprehending persons suspected of
committing the crimes of insurrection, illegal possession of arms,
terrorism and kidnapping, and for investigating and prosecuting those
crimes. However, it does not
reflect the same interest in the crimes of forming paramilitary groups,
forced disappearance, and multiple homicides as in massacres.
The bill also provides that the disciplinary proceedings that the
Office of the Attorney General of the Nation conducts against military or
police may only be conducted by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for
the Military Forces. This provision, if approved, will apply to
investigations that other units of the Attorney General’s Office, such
as the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, already have in
progress. The bill stipulates
that when complaints brought against members of the armed forces or
National Police are associated with events that transpired in military or
police operations mounted against the authors of kidnappings, terrorist
acts or drug trafficking, the Public Prosecutor’s Office will ask the
commander of the operation to certify the facts.
If that certification shows that the military or police “were
discharging their legal duty,” the investigation will be closed, unless
there is a “grave presumption” from which one could infer that the
events in question did not occur in the manner certified by the commander
of the operation.
This list of amendments to the National Security bill reveals
certain tensions between the military and police forces and the oversight
agencies. Evidence of this is
the fact that the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights is
precluded as an organ of disciplinary control, and jurisdiction is
concentrated in the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the Military
inquiries into military or police operations that may have involved human
rights violations will defer to the version of events certified by the
commander of the military or police operation in question.
The Commission must go on record that it is deeply concerned over
the issue of whether this norm is compatible with international
obligations that the State freely undertook with regard to respect for the
rights to liberty, to due process, and to judicial protection, and will
follow closely the progress of this bill in Congress.
VI. THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
DEFENDERS, JOURNALISTS AND LABOR LEADERS
The situation of human rights defenders
In 2000, human rights defenders continued to fall victim to
assassinations, multiple threats and warnings that interfered with their
work of promoting and protecting human rights.
In recent months, security concerns have forced some organizations
to close their offices. The witness and threatened persons protection program that
the State implemented to protect people who were receiving threats,
including assistance to get out of the country or move elsewhere within
the country, emergency humanitarian assistance, a communication system and
protection for the headquarters of human rights organizations,
is an important measure. However,
it is still not enough, given the threats, harassment and relentless
assaults perpetrated against human rights defenders, which claimed a
number of lives in 2000. In
February 2001, the Commission learned of the assassination of Iván
Villamizar Luciani, former Ombudsman for the region of Norte de Santander.
Unfortunately, the authorities themselves continue to be the source
of the stigmatization and harassment.
During the hearing on the general situation, held as part of the
110st regular session of the Commission, the State acknowledged that 170
telephone lines had been tapped in Medellín, all belonging to people
dedicated to defending human rights.
An investigation had to be launched into the taps.
The Commission will be following these events closely.
The Commission is especially concerned about the situation of
ASFADDES, an organization made up of the relatives of victims of forced
disappearances in Colombia and which supports their efforts to obtain
justice. Since May 1992, the
offices and members of ASFADDES have been the target of warnings, threats,
acts of harassment and assaults. In
1997, ASFADDES headquarters was the target of a bomb attempt, which
required the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to order provisional
measures to protect the lives and personal safety of the members at
ASFADDES’ offices in Bogotá, Medellín, Popayán, Ocaña and Neiva.
The President of the Court agreed to the Commission’s request
through a resolution issued on July 22 and another issued on August 14,
1997, which the full Court later ratified on November 11, 1997. Since then, the Court has maintained the provisional measures
ordered to protect the life and personal safety of the members of ASFADDES.
On July 11, 2000, Mrs. Elizabeth Cañas Cano, a member of the
Barrancabermeja branch of ASFADDES, was stopped outside her place of work
and shot by unknown men. In view of these developments, the Commission petitioned the
Inter-American Court to expand the provisional measures previously
ordered, so as to include the lives and personal safety of those at the
Barrancabermeja office of ASFADDES.
On Sunday, October 8, 2000, the Commission learned of the
disappearance of Angel Quintero and Claudia Patricia Monsalve, members of
the Medellín branch of ASFADDES, which was under the protection of the
provisional measures ordered by the Court.
Mr. Angel Quintero was a staff member at that office.
Although not mentioned by name in the measures ordered by the
Court, the authorities had recently been asked to provide him with certain
protective measures in view of the recent disappearance of members of his
family and the proximity of his home to paramilitary groups operating in
the area. Claudia Monsalve
had been a member of ASFADDES since May 6, 1995, since the disappearance
of her brother Edgar Monsalve.
On November 12, 2000, the Inter-American Court expanded the
provisional measures in view of the forced disappearance of these two
people. In its resolution it
ordered the Colombian State to ascertain the whereabouts of Ángel
Quinteros and Claudia Monsalve and to identify and punish those
responsible for these acts.
There have been no results thus far.
On February 11, 1998, the Commission ordered precautionary measures
to request the State to protect the life and personal safety of Jesús
Ramiro Zapata Hoyos, coordinator of the Human Rights Committee in Segovia,
Antioquia, and a member of the organization titled “Semillas de
Libertad” [Seeds of Liberty], with whom it had met during its
on-site visit in December 1997. Mr.
Zapata Hoyos had received warnings and threats from paramilitary
groups in the area and members of the Army.
Although precautionary measures were in effect, Mr. Zapata Hoyos
was assassinated on May 3, 2000.
In view of these facts the Commission is now processing an
individual case concerning the Colombian State’s obligations regarding
the effectiveness of precautionary measures.
The Commission is concerned by the fact that, according to the
information supplied by the State during the hearing held on this case at
the 110st regular session, the investigation into the assassination of Jesús
Ramiro Zapata Hoyos is paralyzed due to the situation with law-enforcement
in the area.
In 2000, the Commission had to order a number of precautionary
measures to protect the lives and personal safety of human rights
defenders who are the targets of warnings and threats from paramilitary
groups or military or police agents.
On May 11, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures on
behalf of Alirio Uribe Muñoz, a well-known human rights defender and
active member of the Collective de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo”.
The information available indicates that this human rights defender
was singled out in a military intelligence report as being part of an
“ELN support network” and a “leader of a campaign to get common
criminals classified as political prisoners.”
Other people mentioned in that intelligence report have been the
victims of extrajudicial executions, forced disappearance, arbitrary
detention or the target of unrelenting threats, forcing them to move or
leave the country altogether.
On May 26, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures to
protect the lives and personal safety of Flor María Cañas, Luz Marina
Jiménez, Derly Avilés, Flor María Guerra, Marcela del Carmen Ferrer
Nemocón, Rosalba Emriño, Matilde Vargas Cadena, Yolanda Becerra Vega,
Jacqueline Rojas Castañeda, Dora Guzmán González, Gloria Amparo Suárez,
Ana Teresa Rueda Lozada, Sandra Gutiérrez Torres, María Nela Méndez,
Sandra Liney Alhucema and María Elvina Calderón, members of the Organización
Femenina Popular, headquartered in Barrancabermeja.
According to the information available, on May 22, 2000, members of
a paramilitary group appeared at the headquarters of the Puerto Wilches
Women’s Center, making threats against the life of the coordinator Flor
María Cañas. The Organización
Femenina Popular, accompanied by members of the International Peace
Brigades who had also received threats, filed a complaint with the
corresponding authorities. After
that, the paramilitary sent a message stating that “they know that the
international presence will not last forever and that when the women are
left to fend for themselves in the town they will pay the consequences.”
The Commission is particularly concerned for the safety of the
members of this organization, which carries on its work in the
Barrancabermeja area, despite the paramilitary presence there.
The Commission is also concerned about the safety of the members of
CREDHOS, whose situation is examined below.
On October 16, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures
to protect the lives and personal safety of the officers and members of
the Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en el
Magdalena Medio (CREDHOS) [Regional Association for the Defense of
Human Rights in the Magdalena Medio area], headquartered in
information available indicates that in the course of the “Forum for
Life and Human Rights”, held in Barrancabermeja and attended by
representatives of the State and human rights defenders, copies of a
written statement from the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) were
found, containing threats against members of the organization.
The Commission also asked the State to report on the measures taken
to (a) shed light on the serious complaints alleging that the military and
police posted in the towns of Barrancabermeja and Yondó tolerate or even
support paramilitary groups, and (b) guarantee that the military and
police will comply with their legal duties and neither tolerate nor
support the paramilitary groups active in the area.
On January 30, 2001, the Commission granted precautionary measures
to protect the life and personal safety of Dr. Gloria Gaitán Jaramillo.
The available information indicates that Dr. Gaitán Jaramillo has
been harassed and persecuted both at her residence and at her place of
work. She is targeted because of her efforts to carry forward the
investigation into the assassination of her father, Jorge Eliécer Gaitán,
through the so-called “National and International Campaign of the Truth
Tribunal,” with the support of a number of human rights organization.
The Commission has also ordered precautionary measures for campesino
spokesmen accused of being sympathizers of the armed dissident groups and
whose lives are in serious jeopardy.
On May 22, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures and
requested that the Colombian State take measures to protect the lives and
personal safety of Juan Romaña, Leonel Bejarano, Jairo Robledo Martínez,
Nilson Mosquera Sierra, Jacob Orejuela Mosquera, Apolinar Mosquera
Murillo, Euclides Gutérrez Prado, Yaila Yessi Mena del Pino, and Alba María
Cuesta, members of the Central Committee for Displaced Persons and
spokesmen of communities that were internally displaced and now live in
the city of Quibdó, Department of Chocó.
According to information from the petitioner, members of the
National Police attached to the Departmental Police sent these displaced
people warnings and accused them of being guerillas or sympathizers of
On November 1st, 2000, the Commission sent a
communication to the Colombian State to request that the measures
requested in 1999 for the spokesmen of the campesino exodus from the south of Bolívar be expanded in order to
protect the lives and personal safety of the members of the Asociación
Campesina del Valle del Río Cimitarra, whose officers have been
constantly threatened and even killed after paramilitary groups in the
region declared them to be military targets.
In addition to requesting these precautionary measures, the
Commission has also requested information from the State concerning other
persons or groups of persons who have been threatened because of their
human rights-related activities. The Commission will continue to watch closely the situation
of human rights defenders in Colombia.
Murders, assaults and threats against journalists
The Commission and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression
in the Americas are both deeply disturbed by the threats, harassment and
assaults that journalists that practice their profession in Colombia
experience. The threats and
assaults resulted in a number of deaths during the year 2000.
Among those killed were Carlos José Restrepo Rocha, Director of
the newspaper Tangente, in San
Luis, Tolima; Juan Camilo Restrepo Guerra, Director of community radio Galaxia
Estéreo, Sevilla; Gustavo Rafael Ruiz Cantillo, correspondent for the
local radio station Radio Galeón, Pivijay Ruiz, Magdalena; Alfredo Abad López,
Director of La Voz de la Selva radio, Florencia. Many other journalists have been forced into exile to protect
their lives and the lives of their families.
This situation not only affects the right to life, the right to
humane treatment and the right of residence and movement; it is also
seriously prejudicial to unencumbered exercise of freedom of expression in
On June 2, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures and
requested that the Colombian State take measures to protect the life and
personal safety of Jineth Bedoya Lima, a journalist with El
information available indicates that at around 10:00 p.m. on May 24, 2000,
Jineth Bedoya received a call from someone known as El
Panadero, who expressed an interest in having a newspaper story done
on the paramilitary movement’s version of the violent events that took
place at the Bogotá Model Prison on April 27, 2000 (see infra).
The journalist went to the prison where she had agreed to meet with
him in the warden’s office. At the gate of the prison, however, she was stopped at
gunpoint, sedated, and taken to house nearby where thugs gagged, beat and
otherwise abused her. He was
then put in a car and abandoned in a deserted area.
The Commission also adopted precautionary measures for Hollman
Morris Rincón, peace editor of El
Espectador; Jorge Cardona Alzate, judicial editor of El
Espectador, and Alba Patricia Ribera Uribe, a journalist with NTC
Noticias. All these people
have been the targets of threats similar to those that Jineth Bedoya
As already pointed out, the program created by Executive Decree
1592 of August 18, 2000, to protect journalists and people in the media,
is a first step in the State’s fulfillment of its obligation to provide
protection to these people because of the threats they have received by
reason of their investigative journalism.
The Commission and the Office of the Rapporteur will continue to
monitor the situation of journalists in Colombia.
Organized labor leaders
On June 21, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures and
requested the Colombian State to take measures to protect the lives and
personal safety of organized labor leaders Alexander López Amaya, Luis
Antonio Hernández Monroy, Ricardo Herrera Muñoz, Robinsón Emilio Mazo
Arias, José Tomás Cifuentes Medina, Luis Enrique Rubiano, Harold Viáfara
González, Omar Matínez Echeverri, Alexander Bares López, Diego Angulo
Quiñonez, Carlos Fernando Flórez Grajales, Milena Olave (Sindicato de
Trabajadores de las Empresas Municipales de Servicios Públicos de Cali
SINTRAEMCALI), Carlos Alberto Rodríguez Padilla, Nubia Ávila De
Sandoval, Ramiro Ramírez Sánchez, Carlos Arbey González, Luis Carlos
Gutiérrez Sandoval, Carlos Alberto Medina Vargas, José Alfredo Rodríguez
Gutiérrez, Luis Javier Camargo, Daniel Castro Campo, María Consuelo
Castro (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores y Empleados Universitarios
de Colombia, Cali branch), Héctor Emilio Castro Hernández (Central
Unitaria de Trabajadores Sub-directiva Valle del Cauca) and Carlos
Orlando Orejuela Meneses (Valle del Cauca Department Union).
The available information indicates that these labor leaders are in
imminent danger because of the constant warnings from civilian and
military authorities in the Valle de Cauca Department and their
accusations that these labor leaders were guerillas, terrorists or
insurgency sympathizers. Added
to all this were the constant threats coming from the paramilitary group
that operates in the Valle del Cauca Department.
On July 6, 2000, the Commission decided to expand these
precautionary measures to include Roberth Cañarte Montealegre and Fredy
Ocoró B., by virtue of a request received on July 4, 2000.
The available information indicates that Roberth Cañarte
Montealegre was allegedly taken by a group of uniformed men carrying
rifles, who claimed to be members of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia.
Since then, there has been no information on his whereabouts.
The name of Fredy Ocoró B., attorney for the Sindicato de
Trabajadores del Municipio de Bugalagrande, appeared on a list of the
paramilitary group that operates in the central part of the Valle del
Cauca department, together with the other organized labor leader recently
On December 29, 2000, the Commission granted precautionary measures
and contacted the Colombian State to request that measures be taken to
protect the life and personal safety of the President of the
Federación Nacional de Trabajadores al Servicio de Estado, Wilson
Alfonso Borja Díaz. On
December 15, 2000, he was the victim of an attack in which he and his
bodyguards were wounded. Shortly
thereafter, the paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño Gil claimed
responsibility and said that Mr. Borja Díaz was still a military
According to information received from the Instituto
Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (INPEC), as of September there
were 145 victims of violent death and 426 wounded in the prison system.
The Commission is disturbed by what it perceives to be the
State’s inability to control violence in the prisons, prison
overcrowding, and the rivalry among the various gangs vying for power and
control within the prison walls.
The situation became painfully obvious with the events that
occurred in the Bogotá Model Prison on April 27, 2000, where armed
inmates clashed with each other leaving 25 dead and 17 wounded.
The materials requisitioned in that incident included weapons,
explosives, cartridges, communication equipment and AUC insignia.
The Commission is troubled by the deterioration in the prison
situation and by the need for the State to take effective measures to
eliminate the violence now rampant in prisons.
As noted earlier, in view of the imminent on-site visit that the
IACHR plans to make to Colombian territory before the end of 2001, this
report confines itself to articulating a series of concerns and making
some preliminary observations on the situation in the Republic of
Colombia. The Commission wishes to once again thank the Government of
President Pastrana for extending the invitation to make the visit this
The concerns that the Commission has expressed are those related to
the serious consequences of the violence generated by the protagonists of
the internal armed conflict and its impact on respect for fundamental
human rights and the civilian population’s vulnerability, particularly
displaced communities, indigenous communities and Afro-Colombian
communities, defenders of human rights and even civil servants in the
judicial branch of government.
During its upcoming visit, the Commission hopes to gather
additional information on the situation and on the measures being taken to
control the elements generating the violence and the displacement with
justice, within a framework of compliance with the State’s obligations.
It will verify compliance with the recommendations made in its
Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Colombia, approved in
1999, in connection with these topics and the situation of women,
children, indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombian communities, persons deprived
of their liberty, respect for freedom of expression, and economic, social
and cultural rights, among others.
Finally, the Commission would like to again appeal to the parties
to the armed conflict, through their structure of command and control, to
respect, execute and enforce the rules governing hostilities, as embodied
in international humanitarian law, with special emphasis on those that
“El día en que la muerte navegó en lancha”, El Espectador, December 3, 2000, p. 8A.
“Mataban seres humanos como si mataran pájaros” El
Colombiano, November 27, 2000, p. 8A.
“Crece el éxodo desde el bajo Putumayo”, El Tiempo, October 9, 2000, pp. 1 –12.
“Cruentos combates en el Putumayo”, El Espectador, September 29, 2000, p. 2 A.
“Finaliza paro en Putumayo”, El
Espectador, December 9, 2000, p. 5 A.
Decree 489/99 which assigns to the “Social Solidarity Network, an
agency attached to the Administrative Department of the Presidency of
the Republic, those measures and functions that were previously
performed by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on Services to
Persons Displaced by Violence” (Article 1).
Law 387/97. Art. 15. On emergency humanitarian relief.
persons have the right to emergency humanitarian relief for a maximum
of three (3) months, which in exceptional cases can be extended for an
additional three (3) months.
Constitutional Court, Judgement SU-1150, August 30, 2000.
IACHR, “Follow-up to the Third Report on the Situation of Human
Rights in Colombia,” Annual
Report of the IACHR 1999, Vol. II.
Constitutional Court of Colombia, Judgment 358 of August 5, 1997.
Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Colombia, Informe
Anual Derechos Humanos y DIH 2000, January 2001, p. 99.
Observations of the State, p. 35.
The list of “proposed amendments” was published in the
Congressional Gazette on December 14, 2000.
The basic norms now in force on this subject are contained in
1965 Decree 3398 and in
1968 Law 48.
Under the Constitution, the only authorized preventive detentions are
those carried out by “written order of a competent judicial
authority” or those cases where the person detained is caught in
flagrante (articles 28 and 32).
The Constitution also stipulates that “the person taken into
preventive custody shall be brought before the competent judge within
the following thirty-six hours” (Article 28).
The amendment provisions that concern the duration of
preventive detentions effected by military and police are contrary to
these articles of the Constitution.
For a more detailed examination of the bill, see the report that the
Social Foundation presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights at its 110st regular session, March 2001.
See, Office of the Vice President of the Republic, Avances y
Resultados de la Política sobre Derechos Humanos y Derecho
Internacional Humanitario, March 2000.
I/A Court HR. Resolution of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, November 12, 2000, Expansion of
Provisional Measures Requested by the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights with respect to the Republic of Colombia, Alvarez et al