51.                 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[42] 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).[43]


52.                 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 be closed,[44] and access to humanitarian relief was cut off.[45]  This drove out some 6,000 people,[46] 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.[47]


53.                 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.


54.                 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[48] 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.


55.                 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.[49]   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 latest.[50]


56.                 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.


57.                 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.


58.                 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.




59.                 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


60.             The new Code of Military Justice took effect on August 12, 2000.  The Commission would like to repeat[51] 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 international standards.[52]


61.             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.”[53]  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


62.             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.


63.             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 groups.[54]  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.[55] 

C.      Security and national defense bill


64.             The Commission has learned that a bill is pending in Congress on “the organization and operation of national security and defense.”[56]  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.


65.             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.


66.             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 effect.[57]   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.


67.             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.


68.             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 Forces.  Disciplinary 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.[58]


69.             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.




          A.      The situation of human rights defenders


70.             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,[59] 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.


71.             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.


72.             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.


73.             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.


74.             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.


75.             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.[60]  There have been no results thus far.


76.             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.


77.             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.


78.             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.


79.             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.


80.             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.”


81.             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.


82.             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 Barrancabermeja.  The 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.


83.             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.


84.             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 insurgent groups.


85.             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.


86.             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.


          B.       Murders, assaults and threats against journalists


87.             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 Colombia.


88.             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 Espectador.  The 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 experienced.


89.             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.


          C.      Organized labor leaders


90.             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 executed.


91.             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 objective.


D.                The situation of persons deprived of their liberty


92.             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.


93.             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.




94.             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 year.


95.             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.


96.             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.


97.             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 protect civilians.

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[42]El día en que la muerte navegó en lancha”, El Espectador, December 3, 2000, p. 8A.

[43]Mataban seres humanos como si mataran pájarosEl Colombiano, November 27, 2000, p. 8A.

[44]Crece el éxodo desde el bajo Putumayo”, El Tiempo, October 9, 2000, pp. 1 –12.

[45]Cruentos combates en el Putumayo”, El Espectador, September 29, 2000, p. 2 A.

[46]Finaliza paro en Putumayo”, El Espectador, December 9, 2000, p. 5 A.

[47] Ibid.

[48] 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).

[49] Law 387/97. Art. 15. On emergency humanitarian relief.  Paragraph.  Such 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.

[50] Constitutional Court, Judgement SU-1150, August 30, 2000.

[51] IACHR, “Follow-up to the Third Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Colombia,” Annual Report of the IACHR 1999, Vol. II.

[52] Constitutional Court of Colombia, Judgment 358 of August 5, 1997.

[53] Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Colombia, Informe Anual Derechos Humanos y DIH 2000, January 2001, p. 99.

[54] Observations of the State, p. 35.

[55] Ibid.

[56] 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.

[57] 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.

[58] 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.

[59] See, Office of the Vice President of the Republic, Avances y Resultados de la Política sobre Derechos Humanos y Derecho Internacional Humanitario, March 2000.

[60] 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 Case.