Boletín mensual

Bulletin 10: Judicial movement in Antioquia and Caqueta

The National Movement for Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) brings together victims of crimes of the state, defining victims as Colombian men and women affected by state violence. It is estimated that since the 1980s the Colombian state has been directly or indirectly responsible for around 70,000 deaths and disappearances.

In its quest for Truth, Justice and Integrated Reparation MOVICE itself has suffered continued political persecution. In a joint effort between a number of organizations and individuals we have begun the task of putting together a monthly bulletin containing information about the security situation of the movement and its members.

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Persecution of MOVICE and its members

Attack against a member of the MOVICE and key witness in a judicial case of extrajudicial execution1

Mister Giraldo Barrera on the 11th of March 2006 was presented as a guerrilla assassinated in combat by members of the Battalion de Alta Montaña No. 3 Rodrigo Lloreda Caicedo in the municipality of Cali. On the 5th of May 2009, according to the charges made by the Attorney General's Office, the judges of the Judicial Circuit of Cali started the audience against the military officials implicated and being accused of aggravated homicide, falsifying of public documents and hiding and destroying of evidence. Among the accused are Sargento Viceprimero, retired of the National Army Luís Eduardo Mahecha Hernández and the mayor of the National Army, Manuel Arturo Pabón Jaimes. On the 10th of may one of the key witnesses in the process and brother of mister José Orlando Giraldo Barrera, José Wilson Giraldo Barrera, was shot in the head, in the afternoon in the middle of Cali by a man, until now unidentified. Days before the attack, his house had been visited by soldiers who had been accompanied by a person in civilian clothes. The UNHCR, United Nations High Commission on Human Rights has been monitoring the case and has condemned the attack in a press release on May 12. On the 19th of May the family Giraldo received protection measures by the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights.

Massive judicial processes and intelligence reports in Caquetá2

In the military intelligence report no. 6 MD-EJC-CIME-RIME6-53.1, dated on the 12th of February 2008, a judicial process is mentioned, in which 97 supposed members of the support network of the Frente Amazónico of the FARC-EP are involved. To date, around 10 of these people have been detained in mediatized military operations, such as the mass detention of 21 persons in Cartagena del Chaira in May 2008. The people mentioned in the intelligence report, figure with their name and / or alias and some with their address, phone number and photograph. Among these people are several members of the Regional Chapter of the MOVICE in Caquetá, the president of the Corporación Caguán Vive, lawyers of political prisoners, teachers of the Universidad La Amazonia, members of Association ASOTAXIS, ASOGRICAK, FENSUAGRO, the regional president of ASPU, ASODEMCA, JUCO, members of the political parties Polo Democrático Alternativo and the Liberal Party, as well as various candidates to the regional Mayor's, candidates to the regional assemblies and former councilors. On the 7th of May senator Gloria Inés Ramírez made a declaration in the Senate in which she said “I demand from the national government, the end of the persecution of social leaders and political opposition, and specifically an end of false accusations against human rights defenders, which only seeks to weaken the efforts of those of us who oppose authoritarianism, corruption and impunity, using illegitimate means of exercising their power.”

Human Rights movement in Antioquia victim of false accusations by the IV Brigade of the National Army

Through false criminal prosecutions, security Officials and the Attorney General's Office intend to criminalize the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights, like freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and participation. One of these processes was started in an earlier investigation by the 70th Attorney General’s Office and Fourth Section Delegated to the IV Brigade of the National Army on the 29th of December 2006, which has been erroneously dealt with under the parameters of Law 600 of 2000. This allows the prosecution to limit, without the control of a Judge, certain constitutional rights of the incriminated people. Because of the voluntary actions of various University of Antioquia students who went to the Attorney General's Office, the previous investigation that had been started was discovered. This investigation was based on faulty testimonies from other penal investigations that attempted to make links to insurgent organizations, not only to students and workers from the University of Antioquia, but also to members of social and community organizations in the city of Medellin. In this context, it is important to remember President Alvaro Uribe Velez's speech last May 8 in which he tried to delegitimize the denunciations made about the cases of extrajudicial executions, saying that, "We are obliged to denounce that there are also a group of lawyers paid for by international organizations, organizations which are ideologically blinded, that make it impossible to carry out their legal work objectively and instead do their work with hate and ideological baggage. This group of lawyers only works to make false accusations against our public forces.

In addition, a document has been falsified with the Corporation of Judicial Freedom's logo and signatures of its lawyers: it is a fictitious text which includes an intelligence report from the Body of Technical Investigations together with the Armed Forces, and pretends to be a denunciation made by the Corporation of organizations and individuals who have supposed ties to insurgent groups.

These false accusations are accompanied by "facts like the permanent illegal control of diverse sectors in Medellin, carried out by various illegal armed groups, like restrictions on citizens' free movement together with the proliferation of collective threats by way of distributing pamphlets and intimidations, forced inter-urban displacement, forced recruitment, human trafficking, cases of sexual violence, threats against unions, attempts to make false and baseless accusations and arbitrary detentions. These are some of the common denunciations made in this current Citizens Assembly. Those who are responsible for these human rights violations appear to be a wide and diffuse network of illegal armed groups, groups of demobilized and other paramilitaries who continue to participate in criminal activity, illegal vigilante groups like "Convivir," as well as members of the public forces and state entities who, through action or by omission, are responsible for the restrictions of these citizens' freedoms.

Imminent wave of arbitrary and mass detentions in the Montes de María

The table of communities which monitors and supports in the Montes de María region has been informed that in the areas where paramilitaries, the National Army and specifically the Marine Infantry operate, paid testimonies from ordinary criminals and demobilized members of the guerrilla are being used to elaborate “intelligence reports” in which the social base that hasn't been favorable to the paramilitary strategy appears as “narcoterrorists”. As it seems, the Attorney General's Office has emitted hundreds of arrest warrants against farmers and social leaders of the villages of Tierra Grata and El Hobo in jurisdiction of Carmen de Bolívar –Bolívar- and Salitral and Don Gabriel in the municipality of Chalán –Sucre-.3

Threat to organizations and people belonging to the Impulse Committee and the Cundinamarca-Bogotá Chapter of the MOVICE4

The 7th of May MOVICE became aware of a threatening pamphlet, signed by the “Bogota Metropolitan Block of the Black Eagles” that had been distributed in various neighborhoods in Bogotá. In this pamphlet they announce “that we will continue our campaign of reconstruction of National Identity and as a response to the necessities of many Colombians we have turned to a “total rearmament of paramilitary forces” (…) we will continue exterminating all classes of social scum: guerrilla and trade unionists (under the guise of human rights defenders) (…) our list of military objectives, headed by senator Piedad Córdoba, human rights defenders, that have been serving the guerrilla from the FARC and ELN, the Youth Bolivarian Movement, the Red Guard, the Anti-imperialist Brigade, anarchists and guerrilla, The lawyers collective José Alvear Restrepo (…), the Corporation Sembrar, The Foundation Solidarity Committee with Political Prisoners, the Corporation Reiniciar, the Corporation Yira Castro, the Foundation Manuel Cepeda (Iván Cepeda), Asonal Judicial, the Commission Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz, CUT (…), MINGA, FUNDIP, ASOPRON, ANDAS, ASDEGO, FENACOA, ASOMUJER, TAO y CODHES; y (…) In this list there are several names of people that work actively in the MOVICE. In a public communiqué of May 13th the National Ombudsman, referring to the pamphlet, rejected the threats and affirmed “In a growing climate of threats by illegal groups against life and physical integrity, it is necessary to fortify protection programs of threatened officials of the National Ombudsman, as well as leaders and spokesmen of human rights organizations to guarantee their security conditions”.

Abuses in invasions in Cali and against a human rights defender

The 2nd of March an eviction process was started in the settlements of the slums Brisas de Navarro and Brisas de Córdoba. The 17th of March 2009 after having remained 6 days and 5 nights in a non-violent seizure of the central square of the Municipal Administration, the community reached an agreement with the Municipal Administration of Mayor Jorge Iván Ospina, in which these committed themselves to offer two months of shelter and food and to find decent living conditions for the families of the slums within the term of 12 months.5 At around 2 in the morning of the 18th of May, 10 members of the National Army's Anti-Guerrilla forces arrived at the settlements, at 6:40, 30 members of the anti-riot police started to attack the community, shooting gas and beating up people without any previous notification. Gases were directly shot towards people’s faces, leaving Jeferson Valencia Rentería, with serious injuries in his neck. During various minutes the anti-riot police didn't permit the transportation of mister Valencia Renteria to a hospital. At around 7:15 a family member accompanied by human rights defender Jhon Fredy Caicedo was allowed to transport the injured person to a health center. When both left the health center human rights defender Jhon Fredy Caicedo, member of the Fundación Guagua, the Galería de la Memoria Tiberio Fernández Mafla, el Nodo del Sur Occidente of the Coordination Colombia Europa and MOVICE chapter Valle, was detained for several hours.6

Human rights violations of members of the Agrarian Asociacion de Santander (ASOGRAS).7

During the course of 2009 the Colombian State has detained 10 farmers, has killed 2 and seven families have been displaced from the region. The mayor of Sabana de Torres has planned to evict from his land 200 families on the 6th of May.

Human rights violations against the inhabitants of the Alto Ariari region8

– María Sánchez, 60 years old, was assassinated in the village of Caño Dulce on the 16th of April. The authors of the crime haven't been identified, but it should be noted that the killing wasn't accompanied by any robbery.

– The 29th of April Héctor Eduardo Rojas was assassinated and Manuel Murillo left injured. These two farmers where heading on a motorbike from the urban center of El Castillo to the village of Caño Dulce and after more or less four kilometers they were shot by armed men. According to testimonies this attack happened several meters away from a military checkpoint.

– In the center of Medellín del Ariari and the urban center of El Castillo- Meta, leaflets were left, that threatened to kill those who are stealing, prostituting or exercising other illegal activities. Farmers in the region are afraid, because of the presence of paramilitary groups under the command of alias “Cuchillo”. Because of this situation there exists the fear of new displacements and attacks against the life of people in the communities.

Activities of MOVICE and its members

Eighth Regional Assembly of Victims of State Crimes, Chapter Antioquía

During the 15th and 16th of May the eighth regional assembly was held with the participation of more than 250 victims of different regions from Antioquía and Neighborhoods of Medellin. 9 Those who were assisting in the Assembly, in their final declaration stated that “the fiction created by the Defense and Democratic Security Policies, as a central component of the Communitarian State idea, lead to a constant bleeding of our society, not only because of the human rights violations, but also because of the lack of liberties and guarantees, the criminalization against those who raise their voices against the State and Impunity. See declaration:

http://www.movimientodevictimas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=346&Itemid=1

Siluetazo

The 29th of May MOVICE realized a commemoration act on the Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá to remember the students and teachers that had been detained and assassinated by state forces in 1982.

First regional meeting in the Caribbean Cost

The 14th, 15th and 16th of May the first regional meeting of Victims of State Crimes was organized by MOVICE, the Caribbean Agenda and the Lawyer's Collective José Alvear Restrepo, in the city of Barranquilla with the assistance of more than 250 people. After having participated in the meeting, Serafina Cantillo Moreno, leader of displaced people in the municipality de Barrancas (La Guajira), human rights defender and member of the political opposition party Polo Democrático Alternativo, was threatened by unknown subjects in her house.10

Fourth Humanitarian Action in the Northeast of Antioquía

The farmer communities of the Northeast of Antioquía, represented in the organization Cahucupana, realized their fourth humanitarian action in the village Puerto Nuevo Ite, of the municipality Remedios, in between the 15th and 19th of May. The Humanitarian Action was realized in face of the humanitarian crisis that the farmer communities in the Northeast of Antioquía are facing, as well as the human rights violations and infractions of International Humanitarian Right, caused by the Military Operation Operación Atenea, within the framework of the Democratic Security Policies, such as extrajudicial executions.11

Farmers in the Catatumbo region realizing a pacific resistance through a humanitarian refugee camp

Around 200 children and adults are concentrated since the 29th of April in a piece of land of the village of Caño Tomás, (Teorama, Norte de Santander), to demand more social inversion to cover their basic necessities.12

People's Hearing for Truth in the Department of Caquetá

With the perspective to search for alternative ways to clarify State Crimes and to promote the participation and the recognition of victims' rights and create political, ethical and public proposals to show the actions of victims and their organizations in their fight against impunity in the department of Caquetá, on the 9th of May the People's Hearing for Truth in Caquetá took place. Twenty five cases, including cases of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture and others were presented. The audience was preceded by Alberto de Colsa from the United Nations, Oscar Prieto, Communitarian Ombudsman of Cartagena del Chaira and San Vicente del Caguán, Iván Cepeda Vargas (MOVICE), Camilo Alvarez Melo, delegate of the National Comptroller, senator Gloria Inés Ramírez, Miloz Kusz, representative of the High Office for Human Rights of the United Nations, María del Pilar Silva, of the Laywer's Collective José Alvear Restrepo and Domingo Emilio Pérez Cuellar, president of the Corporación Caguán Vive.

Victim's Rights and Human Rights Defenders

Twelve social leaders recover freedom in Arauca13

The 13th of May, Martín Sandoval, Regional President of the Permanent Committee for Human Rights and other 11 social leaders, that had been accused of rebellion by representatives of the General Attorney and detained since the 4th of November in 2008, recovered their freedom.

Annual report of the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights (CIDH)

For the eighth time in the annual report of the CIDH Colombia was included, because it considers that in the country there are still structural situation and actual cases, that for different reasons seriously affect the exercise of fundamental human rights, that are included in the American Convention on Human Rights. Read report: http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2008sp/indice2008.ht

Searching for evidence that can lead to truth and justice in Colombia14
In a prison of Washington D.C, Colombian senators, Piedad Córdoba and Rodrigo Lara, accompanied by representatives of MOVICE, met with paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso. MOVICE considers that the extradition to the United States, of 16 paramilitary leaders on charges of drug trafficking, has prevented to know the truth on the political leaders, state agents and businessmen that have been ordering the paramilitary leaders to commit thousands of Crimes against Humanity in Colombia; obstruct the investigations and judicial processes in Colombia and has denied the victims and their legal representatives any form of justice. Despite the insistent call to respect victim's rights to truth, justice and reparation, United States and Colombian authorities haven't signed any agreement to judicially cooperate. The purpose of the meeting wasn't to dialogue but to listen to the requests of Mancuso. MOVICE has demanded the paramilitary leaders to provide judicial authorities information on those responsible and the beneficiaries of their massacres, killings, forced disappearances, sexual abuses and forced displacements as well as evidence and documents that support their responsibility. At the same time, MOVICE has demanded the paramilitary leaders to return patrimonies and land that has been taken from the victims.

Sentences for “false positives”

The 22nd of May 17 militaries were detained because of the assassination of twelve youngsters of the city of Soacha. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsAR7YowNhM&feature=related

The 26th of May the Inspector General’s Office opened an investigation against five militaries, because of the assassination of Fabio Nelson Rodríguez, who had been presented as a guerrilla killed in combat in Antioquia. The evidence president by the Public Ministry showed that Fabio Rodríguez had been a civilian and didn't belong to any armed group.15

1MOVICE 13/05/09

2MOVICE 5/05/09

3 “Inminente nueva ola de detenciones masivas y arbitrarias en los Montes de María” Mesa de Seguimiento y Acompañamiento a las Comunidades de Montes de María 23/05/2009

4MOVICE 07/05/09

5“Alcaldía de Cali continua atropellando a la comunidad de los asentamientos Brisas de Navarro y Córdova” Asentamiento de Navarro, Asentamiento de Córdoba, Cristianos y Cristina por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, Proceso de Comunidades Negras, Consejo Comunitario de Norte de Nariño y Sur del Cauca, Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores de Hospitales y Clínicas, Galería de la Memoria Tiberio Fernández Mafla, Fundación Guagua y Coalición de Movimientos Sociales 18/05/09

6“Detención arbitraria del defensor de ddhh Jhon Fredy Caicedo y un herido de gravedad en el asentamiento Brisas de Navarro de la ciudad de Cali” Fundación Guagua, Galería de la Memoria Tiberio Fernández Mafla, Coordinación Colombia-Europa-Estados Unidos Nodo Sur Occidente y MOVICE-Capítulo Valle 18/05/09

7Comité Permanente por la defensa de los ddhh Santander 05/05/09

8“Atentados contra la vida, los derechos humanos y al derecho internacional humanitario”Mesa de acompañamiento del alto Ariari: SINTRAGRIM, ASODEMUC y la Corporación Claretiana NPB 07/05/09

9Movimiento Regional MOVICE 15 y 16/05/09

10Agenda Caribe 20/05/09

11“IV Acción Humanitaria en el Nordeste Antioqueño” Cahucopana 11/05/2009

12ASCAMCAT 27/05/2009

13CPDH Arauca 13/05/09

14MOVICE 22/05/09

15El Espectador 24/05/09