15 November 2010

November 2010, Mérida


Report of activities of the Impunity Committee March-November 2010 (As per November 2, 2010) Missions: Seven missions were held. + Mexico, Mexico City: September 2, 2010 During a meeting with the IAPA and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) President Felipe Calderón announced implementation of a centralized system of protection for journalists, he promised to take up the issue with other presidents in the Americas and inter-governmental organizations and pursue anew in the Congress making crimes against journalists federal offenses. + Honduras, Tegucigalpa: August 25, 2010 Meeting with Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo to reiterate the recommendations for combating impunity delivered to him in April. + United States, Washington, DC: July 15, 2010 Meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Santiago Cantón, and with the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Catalina Botero, to submit the results of a new investigation into the June 22, 2004 murder of Francisco Ortiz Franco in Mexico and to learn of the status of other cases submitted to the organization. + Mexico, Tijuana, Baja California: June 22, 2010 Within the framework of the anniversary of the murder of Francisco Ortiz Franco a public ceremony was held and there was the screening of the documentary “El crujir de las palabras” (Word-Crunching), which deals with his case. Attending the ceremony were his widow and two children. + Peru, Lima: May 20-21, 2010 Meeting with President Alan García, Judicial Branch chief Javier Villa Stein and Congress Deputy Speaker Michael Urtrecho. Raised with them along with the Peruvian Press Council (CPP) was the murder of Alberto Rivera Fernández, the need for a special jurisdiction in murders committed because of the victims’ work as journalists, and general press freedom issues. + United States, Miami, Florida: April 27, 2010 The IAPA delivered to Honduras’ President Porfirio Lobo, on a visit to Miami, some five recommendations for adoption of legal and juridical instruments to combat crimes against journalists. + Bolivia, Santa Cruz: April 21, 2010 During a Chapultepec project mission the IAPA raised with officials the matter of delays in the solving of the murders of Juan Carlos Encinas and Carlos Quispe Quispre. Arrests and convictions: During this period six people were arrested – two in El Salvador, two in Colombia, and one each in Honduras and Mexico; another two were linked to a murder in Colombia and one was convicted and sentenced in Venezuela. + El Salvador: Two persons were arrested in between April and September for the murder of documentary maker Christian Poveda. + Honduras: One person was arrested in September for the murder of David Meza. + Mexico: One person was arrested in September for the murder of Armando Rodríguez. + Colombia: Two persons were arrested in October for the murder of Orlando Sierra Hernández. + Colombia: The Attorney General’s Office linked two former members of Congress to the January 30, 2002 murder of Orlando Sierra Hernández. This case investigated by the RRU and on which since 2006 we had been asking that it be taken up at the federal level because the proceedings had not advanced towards identifying the masterminds. + Venezuela: A person was sentenced on May 18 to 25 years in prison for the January 16, 2009 murder of journalist Orel Sambrano. Online marketing / web page: + With the song contest “Lend Your Voice,” which we launched together with the Firefly company on November 1, the aim is to attract those taking part in social networks to the Web site and so increase its circulation. The contest will last six months. + Catalogue of Impunity: Since August a process and search for variables has been undertaken with the Miami, Florida, firm Visium Research to produce the Catalogue of Impunity. + The Web site www.impunidad.com was redesigned. Fundraising: + The firm Community Counseling Service Co., LLC (CCS) was hired in May 2010 to come up with a fundraising strategy. Meetings have been held with key IAPA members to design a work plan. + Mexico: On June 28, 2010 a meeting was held in Mexico City with businessman Carlos Slim to talk about possible financial support for Impunity Project activities. Responses are being prepared. Forums: Four forums were held. + Mexico: Forum “Mexico Besieged by Organized Crime,” held by the IAPA and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in Mexico City. September 23, 2010. + Mexico: Forum “Analysis of the Risks to Freedom of Expression in Mexico,” which wound up the degree course “The Reach of Organized Crime” that during 11 weeks was given to 130 journalists from Mexico and elsewhere in the Americas. August 13, 2010. + Brazil: Forum “Failures and Shortcomings of Justice,” IAPA-ABRAJI (Brazilian Newspapers Association) in Rio de Janeiro with the participation of journalists, students, and representatives of the Presidency and the Judiciary who supported the introduction of a legislative bill to make crimes against journalists and other such crimes federal offenses. May 18, 2010. + Brazil: Chapultepec Ambassadors Forum, Rio de Janeiro, focused on impunity issues. May 19, 2010. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Three new cases were submitted and another was submitted for a second time to the IACHR. + Benjamín Flores Morales, Mexico, murdered on July 15, 1997. Submitted for a second time to the IACHR on October 13, 2010, it having initially been submitted on July 27, 2000. + Francisco Ortiz Franco, Mexico, murdered on June 22, 2004. Submitted to the IACHR on July 15, 2010. + Nivanildo Barbosa Lima, Brazil, murdered on July 22, 1995. Submitted to the IACHR on April 26, 2010. + Jorge Vieira, Brazil, murdered on March 30, 2001. Submitted to the IACHR on April 21, 2010. + As part of an agreement between the IAPA and the Brazilian government, with the IACHR as intermediary, on April 7, 2010 an official Bahia state government official ceremony was held to honor the memory of Manoel Leal de Oliveira and reparations were paid to four of his family members, $55,000 being distributed among them. Training and seminars: During this period 156 journalists were trained and two training sessions were held. + First degree course “The Reach of Organized Crime,” Autonomous National University of Mexico-IAPA, with the participation of 130 journalists, among them 65 Mexicans. May 3-August 13, 2010. + Seminar “Lessening the Risk, Safe Coverage,” Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, with the participation of 26 journalists. June 23, 2010. RRU Investigations: During this period 23 cases were investigated at various levels. Mexico Compilation of information about murders: Guillermo Alcaraz Trejo Marco Aurelio Martínez Hugo Alfredo Olivera Cartas Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos and María Elvira Galeana Evaristo Ortega Zárate Ramón Angeles Zalapa Updating of cases: Alfredo Jiménez Mota In-depth investigations: Francisco Ortiz Franco Benjamín Flores Brazil Compilation of information about murders: José Rubem Pontes de Souza Francisco Gomes de Medeiros Updating of cases: Manoel Leal de Oliveira Tim Lopes Luis Carlos Barbon Filho In-depth investigations: Nivanildo Barbosa Lima Jorge Vieira Colombia Updating of cases: Nelson Carvajal Carvajal Orlando Sierra Guillermo Cano Jaime Garzón Clodomiro Castilla José Everardo Aguilar Ads and banners campaign: + We are continuing with the campaign of publication of ads in 335 newspapers and banners on 124 Web sites in the Americas. + To date 103 ads had been designed. Videos: + During this period four videos were filmed on the murder of journalists, impunity and risks in working as a reporter in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Peru; two videos on Brazil – Jornalismo de Risco (Reporting Under Risk) and Cobertura em Area de Conflito (Coverage in Areas of Conflict), interviews with photographers, their photos and images during news coverage in conflict zones. + There was also created a channel in YouTube, www.YouTube.com/proyectoimpunidad, where the project’s documentaries and videos can be accessed. Progress in combating impunity: + Mexico: In July 2010 there was created the new Special Prosecutor’s Office for Dealing With Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), which replaces the Prosecutor’s Office set up in 2006. This new agency will have power to investigate, bring charges and make crimes against journalists federal offenses, just as the IAPA had been calling for. + Colombia: On July 2, 2010 the Attorney General’s Office described as “a crime against humanity” the December 17, 1986 murder of Guillermo Cano, an emblematic case for the IAPA and one of the first six investigated under the project. This step creates case law for similar cases not to be subject to statutes of limitation. + Peru: In June 2010 the Supreme Court decided to create a special jurisdiction for the prosecution of crimes against journalists, although to date this decision has not been acted on. In May the head of the Judicial Branch, Javier Villa Stein, had pledged to an IAPA delegation to act for creation of a federal jurisdiction to deal with such offenses. This has not been acted on as yet. + Brazil: On June 9, 2010 Senator Roberto Cavalcanti introduced in Congress a proposed constitutional amendment to make murders of journalists’ federal offenses. He took up the recommendation emerging from the forum “Failures and Shortcomings of Justice,” held by the IAPA and ABRAJI in Ro de Janeiro on May 18, that such crimes be dealt with under federal jurisdiction. + Colombia: In May 2010 Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza Diago promised to pursue investigations in 27 cases of the murder of journalists whose case files were scattered among Colombian regional offices. Other Project activities: + During this period 46 press releases were issued concerning activities and issues related to the Project, murders of journalists and impunity, among other topics. (Mexico 16, Honduras 7, Brazil 7, Colombia 5, Peru 2, Guatemala 1, Venezuela 1, and concerning general impunity issues and the IACHR 7). + The eight resolutions on impunity adopted at the Midyear Meeting (Aruba, March 2010) were sent to 90 government officials of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Peru, and to the IACHR regarding cases in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. + 16 Newsletter issues were distributed. + The conclusions of the forum “Failures and Shortcomings of Justice” in Rio de Janeiro on May 18 were sent to President Luiz Inácio Da Silva and 14 other representatives of the judicial and legislative branches, and of human rights and public safety agencies. + From July to September we were in constant communication with and providing information to Judy Miller and Tyler Bridges regarding production of the Knight Reporter Analysis.