Impunity - Colombia I

WHEREAS Luis Arley Ortiz Orozco was arrested in connection with the murder of the assistant editor of the daily La Patria, Luis Orlando Sierra Hernández, gunned down on January 30, 2002 WHEREAS notwithstanding investigations and evidence-gathering by the prosecutors' office in the murders of eighteen journalists, no progress was registered over the last six months; the majority of cases in the hands of the Human Rights Unit of the Office of the Attorney General remain unpunished WHEREAS twelve of twenty-eight investigations into crimes against journalists by regional support units around the country have been suspended, closed or hindered by restraining orders on court proceedings WHEREAS prosecutors announced that their investigation had concluded and proceedings would be commenced against former mayor Julio César Ardila, as the suspected mastermind in the murder of José Emeterio Rivas, in Barrancabermeja on April 7, 2003 WHEREAS the cases involving the murders of journalists Oscar Polanco (February 4, 2004 in the Cauca valley); Martín La Rotta (February 7, 2004 in the department of Cesar); and Jaime Alberto Madero (September 20, 2004 in Magdalena) remain under the jurisdiction of regional units, and have not been transferred to the Human Rights unit of the Office of the Attorney General in Bogotá, which may jeopardize their prosecution WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states, “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 Manizales special prosecutor to make good use of the evidence and witness value provided by the capture of Luis Arley Ortiz Orozco, a key person in identifying the mastermind behind the murder of Orlando Sierra, since Ortiz worked as a go-between for Sierra's killers and Francisco Antonio Quintero Tabares, alleged capo of the Manizales hit men. to reiterate its request that Dr. Elba Beatriz Silva, head of the Human Rights Unit of the Office of the Attorney General explain the failure of the unit assigned to prosecute crimes against journalists and the regional support units established for the same purpose to identify and punish the guilty parties to request the Attorney General review the performance of the unit in charge of crimes against journalists and the regional support units, and act accordingly to ensure the investigations lead to the masterminds to request the Office of the Inspector General investigate why investigations by the Office of the Attorney General into killings of journalists have failed to yield results to request the Office of the Attorney General, once the investigation is concluded, charge the persons responsible for the murder of journalist José Emeterio Rivas to urge the Office of the Attorney General assign the cases involving journalists Oscar Polanco, Martín La Rotta and Jaime Alberto Madero, killed in 2004, to the unit reestablished to prosecute crimes against journalists, or instruct appropriate law enforcement authorities to have regional units present the results of their investigations in order to bring the killers to justice.