Impunity/ Statutes of Limitations

WHEREAS impunity is the main incentive of those who resort to violence and statutes of limitations in legal actions in cases of the murder of journalists have serious consequences for freedom of the press WHEREAS during 2013 and before it ends five cases will have become subject to statutes of limitations in Colombia and 12 in Mexico WHEREAS in Colombia already subject to statutes of limitations this year have been the cases of Gerardo Didier Gómez, Carlos Lajud Catalán, Nelson de la Rosa Toscano and Manuel José Martínez Espinosa, murdered in 1993, due to the fact that there cannot be applied retroactively a 2010 law that had extended the period of statues of limitations to 30 years WHEREAS on March 11 the Colombian Office of the Attorney General declared the killing of Eustorgio Colmenares Baptista to be a “crime against humanity” one day before the 20-year anniversary of the killing, when the statute of limitations was set to expire; the Office of the Attorney General said, “There is sufficient evidence that Colmenares was killed as a result of a systematic pattern against the civilian population in the region,” thereby declaring the criminal case to be exempt from any term of limitations. WHEREAS the case of Colombian journalist Danilo Alfonso Baquero will be subject to a statute of limitations on December 26, the date on which the 20th anniversary of his murder will be commemorated WHEREAS in Mexico it was allowed to make subject to statutes of limitations the cases of Jesús Michel Jacobo and Manuel Burgueño Orduño in Sinaloa state, Felipe González Hernández in Mexico state, Ezequiel Huerta Acosta in Coahuila, Alberto Ruvalcaba Torres in Jalisco, Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán, Jessica Elizalde de León in Chihuahua, and Alejandro Campos Moreno in Morelos WHEREAS there exists the risk that shortly in Mexico there will become subject to statutes of limitations the cases of the murders of Enrique Peralta Torres and José Luis Rojas in Morelos state, Abel Bueno León in Guerrero, and Philip True in Jalisco WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “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 IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to demand that the judiciary in Colombia and Mexico comply with their obligation to investigate and punish those responsible in a reasonable time and respect the right of the victims’ families to learn the truth of the matters to urge of the Colombian Attorney General’s Office a response in the face of cases of murders of journalists becoming subject to statutes of limitations, calling on them to adopt measures to prevent those criminal proceedings from expiring to urge in Mexico the Attorney General’s Offices in Sinaloa, Mexico State, Coahuila, Jalisco, Michoacán, Chihuahua and Morelos to review the case files to prevent these cases becoming subject to statutes of limitations to encourage the Colombian Office of the Attorney General to review other homicide cases for which the statute of limitations will soon expire, and that it declare these cases to involve “crimes against humanity” so that they may be exempted from the statute of limitations to call upon the authorities of Guerrero and Jalisco states to prevent the case files being archived, at the same time to investigate internally whether there was a fraudulent omission that has caused these cases to remain in total impunity to denounce the absence of justice in these cases and have recourse to international agencies and courts with the aim that the crimes against journalist snot be forgotten or go unpunished.