Impunity - Colombia

WHEREAS in the past six months two journalists have been killed, the editor of the local weekly newspaper Región and correspondent of the newspaper El Informador of Santa Marta, Alvaro Alonso Escobar, and the managing editor and columnist of the newspaper La Patria of Manizales, Orlando Sierra Hernández WHEREAS the criminal circuit judge of Valledupar dismissed the case of Libardo Prada Bayona, accused of killing journalist Amparo Leonor Jiménez on August11, 1999, upon payment of the equivalent of five minimum wages, and the prosecutor, Modesto Mejía Cantillo and the public prosecutor’s office appealed the decision WHEREAS the same court (Specialized Criminal Circuit Court of Valledupar) dismissed the case against Jorge Eliécer Espinel Velasquez, alias El Parce, and Rodolfo Nelson Rosado Hernández, alias El Pichi, in the homicide of journalist Guzmán Quintero Torres, and the prosecution appealed WHEREAS the National Attorney General’s Office turned down a request from the civil courts to continue with the investigation and came to the conclusion that the order to murder journalist Jaime Garzón on August 13, 1999, was believed to have been made by Carlos Castaño, political leader of the paramilitaries, and charged Juan Pablo Ortiz Agudelo, a.k.a. Bochas, and Edilberto Sierra Ayala, a.k.a. Toño, as having carried out the murder WHEREAS in the last six months the prosecutor’s office has produced no new results in the investigations of the murders of journalists Gerardo Bedoya, Hernando Rangel Moreno, Jairo Elías Márquez and Ernesto Acero Cadena WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to urge the Colombian prosecutor’s office to conduct an investigation to find the murderers and masterminds of the crimes against Alvaro Alonso Escobar and Orlando Sierra so they can receive the appropriate punishment to ask the Criminal Branch of the Superior Court of Valledupar to hear the appeals by the prosecutors of the dismissal of the case against Libardo Prada Bayona, alleged killer of Amparo Leonor Jiménez and the dismissal of the case against the killers of Guzmán Quintero so the appeals are decided within the time frame set by the law to urge the national attorney general’s office to name a special investigator to review the actions of the Criminal Circuit Court of Valledupar which dismissed the cases against the alleged killers of journalists Guzmán Quintero Torres and Amparo Leonor Jiménez and which delayed the public hearings 10 times to call upon the National Attorney General’s Office to call a halt to legal proceedings so that the investigation into the identity of those behind the murder may continue, because otherwise only some of those responsible for the homicide will be brought to justice, not all of them to ask the national prosecutor’s office to move ahead in the investigations of the cases of Gerardo Bedoya, Hernando Rangel Moreno, Jairo Elías Márquez and Ernesto Acero Cadena and to make public the results.