Impunity - Colombia

WHEREAS in the murder of Nelson Carvajal Carvajal on April 16, 1998, Fernando Bermúdez Ardila was charged as the mastermind behind the crime, and Victor Félix Calderón and Alfonso Quintero as the perpetrators, but they were later acquitted by the Criminal Court for the Neiva Circuit, the verdict has been appealed and a decision is pending WHEREAS in the murder of Ernesto Acero Cadena in Armenia on December 12, 1995, Juan Carlos Henao, who had been the basis for proving the alleged involvement of former congressman Carlos Alberto Oviedo as the mastermind behind the crime, was acquitted as co-perpetrator WHEREAS the murders of Gerardo Bedoya, Hernando Moreno Rangel and Guzmán Quintero Torres remain unsolved WHEREAS the prosecutor’s office formally linked the former mayor of Barranquilla, Bernardo Hoyos, to the investigation into the death of journalist Carlos Lajud Catalán in March of 1993, although it did not order his arrest because of insufficient proof WHEREAS in the last six months three journalists have been murdered, several more have been threatened or forced to leave the country because of threats and the press is still working in a climate of violence and intimidation WHEREAS the Colombian government, aware of this situation, in August 2000 issued a decree establishing the Journalists Protection Committee within the Interior Ministry WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that "[f]reedom 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; [s]uch acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly" THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to request that the judges and Court of Huila give closer consideration to the basis for the investigation into the murder of Nelson Carvajal Carvajal to request that the judges and Court of Quindío give closer consideration to the basis for the investigation into the murder of Ernesto Acero Cadena to request that Colombia's Attorney General's Office conduct new inquiries into the unsolved murders of Gerardo Bedoya, to determine whether the investigation was redirected away from the true motives for the crime; Hernando Moreno Rangel, to determine whether the cancellation of the warrant for the arrest of the suspected mastermind behind the crime was proper; and Guzmán Quintero Torres in relation to who might be behind the crime to request the office to intensify the investigation and gather all the necessary evidence so the murder of Carlos Lajud Catalán, which has been unpunished for eight years, does not become another unsolved crime to ask the government of President Andrés Pastrana to guarantee effective protective measures for the many journalists who are threatened in various parts of the country, to apply preventive measures and give the Journalists Protection Committee the funds and means necessary to function adequately.