Impunity / Colombia

WHEREAS in this period positive advances have been noted in bringing alleged instigators to trial and solving the emblematic cases of the murder of Jaime Garzón and Orlando Sierra, marking a milestone in the battle against impunity in the country WHEREAS in the case of the murder of Orlando Sierra, managing editor of La Patria in Manizales, committed on January 30, 2002, in a hearing on September 17 it was possible to link all those involved in the crime, from the perpetrators to the masterminds WHEREAS in the case of Jaime Garzón, journalist and humorist with Radionet and Caracol TV, Bogotá, the trial of one mastermind began in July of the murder, committed on August 13, 1999 WHEREAS in the murder of Rafael Enrique Prins, editor of the newspaper El Apocalipsis in Magangue, Bolívar province, in September an arrest warrant was issued for a suspect in the crime, committed on February 19, 2005, WHEREAS it is considered a momentous step that after 12 years of impunity the Attorney General’s Office National Human Rights Unit implicated three people in the case of Jineth Bedoya, an El Tiempo reporter raped and tortured by paramilitaries on May 25, 2000 while she was covering the news, and also this unit requested that the case be declared a crime against humanity WHEREAS the Senate is working on Bill No. 18 of 2012 that would eliminate the special 30-year statute of limitations, envisioned in Law No. 1426 passed in 2010 for the crimes of homicide, torture, and forced disappearance when the victim is a journalist, member of a labor union, or a defender of human rights WHEREAS from 1977 to 2012 a total of fifty-nine cases of murder of journalists have been subject to a statute of limitations, forty-five of them without a conviction against those responsible, and this year another is to become subject to a statute of limitations, according to a report by the Foundation for Press Freedom in Colombia (FLIP) WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, 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 68th IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES To urge the Judiciary to continue taking steps to remove the veil of impunity in the symbolic cases of Orlando Sierra and Jaime Garzón and fully solve them and assign responsibilities to the perpetrators and masterminds of these murders and others that remain to be dealt with To stress the major progress made in the case of Jineth Bedoya and to welcome the request by the Attorney General’s Office to declare the case a crime against humanity, which would set an important legal precedent To express concern at the legislative bill to overturn the increase to thirty years of the statute of limitations in violent crimes against journalists, labor union members, and defenders of human rights, a legal reform done to benefit those cases that are in danger of remaining shelved or subject to statute of limitations.