Impunity - IACHR

WHEREAS since 1997 the Inter American Press Association has presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the results of 24 investigations of killings and disappearances of journalists in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay, after legal resources were exhausted in those countries and the victims have not received guarantees of the right to life, access to justice and freedom of thought and expression, under the American Convention on Human Rights WHEREAS with the mediation of the IACHR, the IAPA has managed to initiate processes of friendly settlement of the crimes committed in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico that have permitted the opening of new investigations, economic reparations for relatives of the victims and the development of judicial and legal initiatives to combat impunity, among other commitments WHEREAS in Bolivia the killings of journalists Carlos Quispe Quispe, manager of FM 90.7 Radio Municipal of Pucarani, on March 29, 2008 and Juan Carlos Encinas on July 29, 2001 in Catavi, Los Andes province while he was covering conflicts among rival cooperative members are still unsolved despite the lapse of time between the two crimes WHEREAS in both cases there are outstanding arrest warrants that have not been executed apparently for a lack of interest in solving the crimes WHEREAS both cases were investigated by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and taken to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on December 19, 2008 to ensure that they do not remain unsolved WHEREAS the case of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira, editor of the daily A Região of Itabuna, Bahía, who was killed on January 14, 1998, the Brazilian government is willing to take appropriate measures so the crime does not remain unsolved, under the process of a friendly settlement with the IAPA begun in 2006 and sealed on October 11, 2007 during a working meeting between the two parties at the office of the IACHR in Washington, D.C. WHEREAS in Brazil the crimes against Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, editor of the newspaper Cachoeiras Jornal in Cachoeiras de Macacu, Rio de Janeiro, killed on August 29, 1995 and Luiz Otávio Monteiro, police reporter of the daily Amazonas em Tempo in Itapiranga, Amazonas, killed December 29, 1998, still have not been solved, and the IAPA has presented both cases to the IACHR for consideration WHEREAS the IAPA is moving forward and is continuing meetings with the Colombian government toward a friendly settlement of the case of Nelson Carvajal, of radio station Radio Sur, Pitalito, Huila, who was killed on April 16, 1998; and as a result the Supreme Court is studying a petition of the national attorney general’s office to review the judicial process that ended with the acquittal of those suspected of the homicide WHEREAS the criminal branch of the Supreme Court is studying the petition by the national attorney general’s office to review the judicial process that ended with the acquittal of those suspected to be responsible for the homicide of journalist Nelson Carvajal WHEREAS under agreements reached in 2001, on January 15, 2009 the Guatemalan government fulfilled its commitment to present a letter of apology for the lack of justice to relatives of journalist Irma Flaquer, who disappeared in 1980, at a ceremony in Guatemala City attended by government officials, relatives of the victim and IAPA officials WHEREAS the Mexican government has not carried out the recommendations of the IACHR in 1999 in the cases of Héctor Félix Miranda, co-editor of the weekly Zeta, Tijuana, Baja California, killed on April 20, 1988 and Víctor Manuel Oropeza, columnist of Diario de Juárez, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, killed on July 3, 1991, under which the inter-American organization ordered that the crimes be investigated thoroughly, that those responsible be found, including the masterminds, and that officials who may have committed offenses by not investigating the crimes at the time be put on trial WHEREAS the Mexican authorities in charge of investigating the disappearance of Alfredo Jiménez Mota, of El Imparcial of Hermosillo, Sonora, on April 2, 2005 have shown no results, no one has been detained and four years later his whereabouts are unknown, therefore, the IAPA presented the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights so it will not remain unsolved 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 recognize the importance of the efforts of the IACHR to rescue and place on the stage of inter-American justice the cases of killings of journalists whose respective governments, as members of the Organization of American States and signers of the American Convention on Human Rights should take care of them to urge the governments of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay to have the political will and participate in the friendly settlement process to solve those unsolved crimes whose lack of justice creates a fissure in the free practice of journalism and limits the guarantees and physical safety of journalists to insist that the IACHR, given the lack of guarantees and results in Bolivia where all judicial resources have been exhausted, accept the cases of Quispe Quispe and Encinas, since their rights to life, access to justice and freedom of expressions, among other precepts in the American Convention on Human Rights, were violated to urge the Brazilian government, that, beyond reparations to the relatives and recognition of the historic memory of the journalist, it broaden and provide incentives for legal and judicial changes to combat impunity to appeal to the IACHR that the cases of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva and Luiz Otávio Monteiro be accepted by the inter-American organization to prevent their being forgotten in complete impunity to ask the Colombian judiciary to review the judicial process in the case of Nelson Carvajal, as requested by the national attorney general’s office to praise the Guatemalan government for moving forward to comply with the friendly settlement and reiterate our request to renew the investigation of the case and show results in order to achieve full justice in the disappearance of Irma Flaquer to urge Mexico’s Foreign Ministry to mediate with the Mexican government to see that it fulfills the commitments with the IACHR concerning the killings of Héctor Félix Miranda and Víctor Manuel Oropeza to ask the IACHR to accept the case of Alfredo Jiménez Mota, given the failure of the state of Mexico to solve it and because the case is symbolic of the battle against violence in Mexico, which, if it is not ended, affects the free practice of journalism since fear of similar reprisals causes journalists to chose to limit their coverage and censor themselves.