Impunity - Colombia

WHEREAS the Office of the Attorney General handed a 28-year prison sentence to those who carried out the January 30, 2002 killing of Luis Orlando Sierra Hernández, managing editor of the newspaper La Patria, but has failed to punish the mastermind, the judge’s requests notwithstanding WHEREAS the investigation into the case of José Emeterio Rivas, who was murdered on April 7, 2003 in Barrancabermeja, was closed on October 6, 2004, but the prosecution has not proceeded with the case WHEREAS the murder trials in the cases of journalists Jairo Elías Márquez (Armenia Quindío, November 20, 1997), Hernando Rangel Moreno (El Banco, Magdalena, June 10, 1999), Francisco Castro Menco (Majagual, Sucre, November 8, 1997), Efraín Varela (Arauca, June 28, 2002) and Gerardo Bedoya (Cali, Valle del Cauca, March 20, 1997) remain stalled at the evidence-gathering stage, and the investigations being conducted by various units of the Office of the Attorney General around the country have mostly been closed or suspended WHEREAS the last six months finally saw progress in a significant number of trials for crimes against journalists, as a result of new evidence in the cases of Alfredo Abad Colorado (Florencia, Caquetá, December 13, 2000), Flavio Bedoya Sarria (Tumaco, Nariño, April 27, 2001), Jaime Rengifo Revero (Maicao, Guajira, April 29, 2003) and Guillermo Bravo Vega (Neiva, Huila, April 28, 2003), and as a result of efforts to identify the masterminds behind the murders of journalists Amparo Leonor Jiménez and Guzmán Quintero Torres in Valledupar, on August 11, 1998 and September 16, 1999, respectively WHEREAS the new Attorney General, Mario Iguarán, assured the IAPA that he would reactivate the Human Rights Unit, which handles crimes against journalists, and will promptly report on their results WHEREAS Article 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 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to urge the Office of the Attorney General to take definitive steps to prosecute those behind the murder of the editor of La Patria, Orlando Sierra to request that the Office of the Attorney General proceed with the prosecution for the murder of journalist José Emeterio Rivas to insist that the Attorney General address the failure to fully prosecute crimes against journalists, and that corrective action be taken to further the prosecution of such cases to request that the Office of the Attorney General review all cases involving crimes against journalists for which investigations have been closed or suspended, in order to determine whether it would be feasible to reopen such cases to request that the Office of the Attorney General ensure that the progress described above be reflected in measures that will enable the judges to convict the perpetrators and masterminds in those crimes to commend the stance and commitment of the new Attorney General, Mario Iguarán, in the fight to ensure that crimes against journalists do not go unpunished.