24 April 2011
Case of murder of journalists in Colombia
The families of Julio Daniel Chaparro and Jorge Enrique Torres, two journalists murdered 20 years ago today in a northwestern Colombian town, announced here that they plan to take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), due to the fact that it is now subject to a statute of limitations in this country.
The families of Julio Daniel Chaparro and Jorge Enrique Torres, two journalists murdered 20 years ago today in a northwestern Colombian town, announced here that they plan to take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), due to the fact that it is now subject to a statute of limitations in this country. There were irregularities in the investigation and it was not exhaustive, so we are having recourse to international bodies so as to determine the truth, the news agency EFE reported it had been told by historian Daniel Chaparro, a son of one of the dead men. Poet and reporter Chaparro and news photographer Torres, who both worked for the Bogotá newspaper El Espectador, were shot and killed on April 24, 1991 in Segovia, a town they had gone to in order to investigate the massacre of some 50 local residents carried out by paramilitaries in November 1988. This mass execution, for which a former congressman is being tried, was the fifth such one which Chaparro had headlined What Violence Did. Chaparros son complained that the public prosecutor with the Human Rights Division who was conducting the investigation into the murder had not declared it to have been a crime against humanity and thus not subject to any statute of limitations. Several Colombian and foreign press organizations, among them Colombias Foundation for Press Freedom (Flip) and the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, had urged that the double crime should not be subject to a statute of limitations. Now 20 years later the crime continues to go unpunished, historian Chaparro said, due to the fact that the prosecutor in charge of the case said the two victims were not killed because of their work. That besmirches the memory of the slain journalists and deeply hurts their family members, he declared, adding, It is outrageous for all who are members of the press in Colombia. He criticized the investigators for having failed to look into the two murdered mens journalistic background, why they had gone to Segovia and the contacts they had made prior to their trip there, including one in the town. These are questions that the younger Chaparro and Torres wife, Ruby Mora de Torres, propose, as spokespersons of their families, be raised at an international level. Our objective, as a family, is to come up with the truth, a search for which unfortunately was not achieved by the Colombian justice system, Chaparro said. The possibility of determining the true facts was stymied by the public prosecutor in the case deciding to regard the double homicide as an isolated event unrelated to the practice of journalism, Chaparro maintained.