Impunity - Colombia

WHEREAS during the past six months, five journalists have been killed, three clearly because of their work, 30 have reported threats against their lives, seven have left the country, two were kidnapped and 10 have reported being attacked by authorities while covering the news WHEREAS of the thirty-five judicial procedures for crimes against journalists in the Unit to Investigate Crimes Against Journalists of the Prosecutor’s Human Rights Office, 19 are in the preliminary investigative phase without identifying those responsible, such as the cases, among others of crimes against Gerardo Bedoya (Cali, Valle del Cauca, March 21, 1997), Jairo Elías Márquez (Armenia, Quindío, February 10, 1997), Ernesto Acero Cadena (Armenia, Quindío, December 12, 1995), Flavio Bedoya Tovar (Tumaco, Nariño, April 27, 2001), Pablo Emilio Mota Medina (Gigante, Huila, December 3, 1999) and Francisco Castro Menco (Majagual, Sucre, November 8, 1997) WHEREAS the National Attorney General’s Office is about to close the investigation of people considered to have been involved in the crime against the managing editor of Diario la Patria, Orlando Sierra (Manizales, Caldas, January 30, 2002) and the measures taken so far against them and the hit man have not identified the people behind the murder and, since June 27, 2002, no serious decision has been made in the case WHEREAS according to a report to the IAPA by the National Attorney General’s Office, the cases of the murders of Gustavo Ruiz Cantillo (Piviajai, Magdalena, November 15, 2000), Álvaro Alonso Escobar (Fundación, Magdalena, December 23, 2001), Elizabeth Obando (Roncesvalles, Tolima, July 13, 2002), Mario Prada Díaz (Sabana de Torres, Santander, July 12, 2002), Gimbler Perdomo (Gigante, Huila, December 1, 2002) and Luis Eduardo Alfonso (Arauca, March 18, 2003) have not been assigned to the Unit to Investigate Crimes Against Journalists for investigation WHEREAS the Attorney General’s Office included the investigations of the crimes against Gerardo Bedoya, Didier Aristizábal, Hernando Rangel Moreno and Yesid Marulanda, in Committee to Streamline Trials, which handles 100 cases WHEREAS the IACHR has accepted the cases of the murders of Carlos Lajud Catalán, Gerardo Bedoya, Nelson Carvajal, Hernando Rangel Moreno, Guillermo Cano, Jairo Elías Márquez in recent years after investigations and presentations by the IAPA WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec declares that “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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to request that the government, military authorities and police implement real and effective security measures to guarantee the free practice of journalist and that the Attorney General’s Office investigate and punish those responsible for violations of press freedom to urge the National Attorney General’s Office to review the status of those cases in the Unit to Investigate Crimes Against Journalists to determine why there have been no results that would identify and punish those responsible to urge the Human Rights Office of the National Attorney General’s Office, now that it has decided to close investigations, to keep alive the process to review the theories that have not been exhausted concerning those responsible for the crime, to identify and punish them, since this authority was not just given to the prosecutors but required of them to ask the Attorney General’s Office to transfer to the Unit to Investigate Crimes Against Journalists from the Human Rights Office the investigation of these cases and the approximately 20 others that are dispersed among the regional prosecutors’ offices throughout the country to gather evidence in a timely manner before more time passes and it becomes more difficult to identify the hit men and those responsible for the crimes to express its approval of the decision and its confidence that this measure will produce the quickest and most effective results to punish those responsible for these crimes to ask the Colombian government to provide all its technical and material resources to handle these cases under the Inter-American justice system.