Read the August 2010 informative Bulletin
Persecution of MOVICE and its members
Appeal of defense in the trial against Carmelo Agamez Berrio denied
Seven months after the defense had appealed the indictment against Carmelo Agamez and after almost 19 months of imprisonment, the General Deputy Attorney's Office has decided to confirm to call Carmelo Agamez Berrio to trial. The Deputy Attorney similarly ordered that the trial should take place in the city of Sincelejo (Sucre), in opposition to the request made by the defense to have the trial to be held in another department, on the grounds that there are no judicial and safety guarantees in Sucre.
Murdered woman human rights leader who participated in the patriotic march and the public hearing of La Macarena
On August 7 Norma Irene Perez was disappeared on her way to her house after leaving a meeting with the Community Action Board of the town. Her body was found on August 13 in the village of La Union in the municipality of La Macarena (Meta). The Committee for Human Rights Sectional High Guayabero reported that before and after the public hearing of July 22, 2010, the region had been heavily militarized by National Army troops operating especially in the municipalities of La Macarena, San José del Guaviare and San Vicente del Caguan. Community information also stated that "the army had been in El Oasis, close to the site where the events occurred." Norma Irene was president of the Village Human Rights Committee of La Unión and was part of the community action board through the conciliation committee of the Guayabero Region (Meta). Norma also had been participating in the patriotic march held on 19, 20 and July 21, 2010 and the Public Hearing held on 22 July in the municipality of La Macarena.
New aggression against the director of the Lawyers Collective Luis Carlos Perez
On August 4 Judith Mojica Maldonado was victim of a new agression. The lawyer was assaulted before the office of the Lawyers Collective Luis Carlos Perez in the city of Bucaramanga by two armed men that moved on a motorbike. These men started to beat up Judith and insulted her "you're going to get yourself killed son of a bitch". Finally they took her bag containing documents and personal communications equipment and left.
Army shoots Agromining leader in southern Bolivar
On August 18, members of the National Army fired on the leader Ariel Muñoz, vice president of the Community Action Board of the village La Victoria, municipality of Norosí. The attack occurred at a place known locally as “revienta Cincha”, when the community leader was heading down that road to his home and was shot by the national army unit operating in that region. Subsequently, and within hours of the night he was taken by the army in a helicopter to the town of Caucasia – Antioquia, according to versions of the community.
Imminent risk: Threat of the Black Eagles to members of MOVICE
On August 12 an email, signed by the "Capital Block" of the Black Eagles, was sent to several emails in which were sentenced to death Rigoberto Jimenez, Alfonso Castillo, Iván Cepeda and those who are coordinating the "National Campaign in defense of the rights of the displaced population." Alfonso Castillo and Rigoberto Jimenez were given 20 hours to leave the city of Bogotá.
Violations and abuses against displaced farmers at the Tamarindos farm
On June 16, 2010 the Mobile Anti Riot Squad (ESMAD) entered the properties of El Tamarindo in the city of Barranquilla (Atlántico), which was ordered by Police Inspector Manuel Pedraza. Regardless of children and pregnant women these proceeded to demolish the houses built by families who have remained on the farm throughout these nine years, and to destroy their crops. On August 5, 2010 the Solidarity Committee with Political Prisioners received a call from one of the farmers who expressed great concern about the threats he had received from the Private Security Company 911, who while destroying crops expressed "We will kill human rights defender Maria (Cedeño), the regional ombudsman and someone from your family, we have been observing. We were corrupt cops and we do not care about anything. We already called them and that's why they did not come."
Threat against leader in Curvaradó and judicial pressures in Jiguamiandó
In August new death threats were sent to leaders of the Minor Council of Curvaradó, as well as false judicial processes against leaders of the Minor Council of Curvaradó and pressure to participate in false judicial processes against leaders of the minor councils of Jiguamiandó and members of the Interchurch commission of Justice and Peace. While the Minister of Interior and Agriculture express guarantees for the restitution of communal lands, the sectors benefiting from the paramilitaries and the business sectors affected by judicial investigations continue their threats and use judicial mechanisms and a media campaign against those who struggle for or accompany the right to truth, justice and reparation.
Minor killed by the National Army in El Tarra
On August 15 in the municipality of El Tarra (Norte de Santander) minor Luis Esteban Campo Rolon was killed and three other minors were wounded by members of the National Army. The community came out to demonstrate and on Augus 16, the police and National Army took the main park to open fire, firing tear gas and stun bombs to disperse the mob. According to allegations made by the community, at that same time army troops arrived entered a house and proceeded to take four youth who were detained arbitrarily and illegally, and moved to the military base, where they remained for 5 hours. When they were released they had signs of torture.
Threats to the inhabitants of the municipality of San Francisco, eastern Antioquia
On August 8 a pamphlet appeared which was signed by the armed group "Black Eagles Heroes of Castaño", and manifested the intention to focus its actions in the municipalities in eastern Antioquia, as this group due to the presence of common crime and members of the insurgency. In the pamphlet the armed group warns the population to maintain a good conduct, since otherwise they could be declared a military target.
Day of detained-disappeared in Latin America
"From the Philippines to Paraguay, from the Mediterranean to Mexico, Central and Latin America, disappeared family members, human rights organizations, social movements, historical memory initiatives and society in general, pay tribute to the victims of this crime, which severely has been affecting Colombia." On this occasion the victims of enforced disappearance, family members and human rights organizations, held events to commemorate and express their indignation on the existence of enforced disappearances in the country, within the framework of the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance, August 31.
Grand Caravan for life and memory of the victims of the Road Cabal-Pombo-Dagua-Buenaventura "
The caravan has visited fourteen villages on this road where massacres occurred, leaving behind a cross that symbolizes each one of the victims of these crimes, to end at the site will be built Memory Lane (La Invasión – Katanga). The acitivity emerges as an alternative for the families of the victims of the "Mujeres de Triana" in their demand for justice after more than 10 years of impunity for the massacres committed by the paramilitaries of the Bloque Calima, which had been operating in this area of the country under the command of Ever Veloza Garcia "Alias HH" between 2000-2002. The Caravan was organized by MOVICE Valle del Cauca, SINTRAUNICOL and NOMADESC.
Tribute to Irina del Carmen Diaz in the Guajira
On August 14 MOVICE made a tribute to Irina del Carmen Villero Diaz in the Guajira department, who had been murdered, when she was fifteen years old, on May 26, 2006, by the Northern Bloc of the AUC Colombia (AUC), led by Jorge 40. Today this crime continues to be unpunished. Organizations and members of MOVICE from different regions of the country, her family and the Wayuu community made a symbolic commemorative act in the town of Manuare, in order to demand truth, justice and reparation.
Lister to the interview in ContagioRadio with Blanca Díaz:
"U.S. military out of Colombia"
On August 4 a U.S. delegation from the School of the Americas Observatory and members of the Movement of Victims of State Crimes, trade unions (Sinaltrainal and CUT), women victims, mothers of Soacha, and others, protested in front of the Tolemaida military base, to express colectively: "U.S. Military out of Colombia."
Between August 16 and 23, over 1,000 women and men, members of social, political, grassroots movements in Latin America and around the world were in Colombia to determine the effects of the militarization in various regions of the country, building a common strategic agenda of joint work against the military bases and hold a vigil to protest against militarization and the presence of foreign military forces in the territory.
Former President Uribe and three of his ministers denounced for treason, abuse of power and malfeasance
The lawyers collective "José Alvear Restrepo" welcomes the decision on August 17, 2010 of the Constitutional Court to declare that the so-called "Supplementary Agreement for Cooperation and Technical Assistance in Defence and Security between the Government of the Republic of Colombia and the United States, signed in Bogota on October 30, 2009, can not operate in Colombia until the constitutional procedure provided for these types of treaty is respected.” The Collective argued in its demand, filed in February, that the Agreement violated the constitutional and legal obligations against a treaty that compromises national sovereignty, providing another violation of the "principle of separation of powers and the faculties of each authority of the Republic to meet the goals of a social and democratic State of law. The principle of separation of powers and the authority of the Constitution, make the difference in a society, between order and arbitrariness." By ignoring the constitutional and legal obligations, and compromising the national sovereignty, President Uribe and his ministers have committed an arbitrarily and unilaterally act, which can be resumed in the punishable behaviors of abuse of authority and treason and malfeasance through action. The Lawyers Collective therefore asks the respective investigation by the Committee on Accusations of the House and the Attorney General's Office.
Extrajudicial Executions across the country
A prosecutor ordered the imprisonment of seven soldiers involved in the case of the death of Cristian Esteban Quintero and Ruben Dario Montoya, two peasants from the village of Tarazá, who had been extrajudicially executed in 2006. Those involved are an officer, a professional officer and five soldiers who were assigned to a counterguerrilla battalion in Antioquia. Link: http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/justicia/condenados-por-falsos-positivos_7881254-1
In a decision of second instance, a prosecutor assigned to the Superior Court of Barranquilla confirmed the security measure imposed on eight soldiers, who are allegedly responsible for the crimes of aggravated homicide and simple kidnapping. The crime occurred on November 23, 2006 in the village of Cañaverales, municipality of San Juan del Cesar (Guajira). Giovanny Cortez Mindiola and Carlos Augusto Gonzalez Cortez were told to send a message which had to be delivered to members of the Military Battalion No. 7 and were subsequently reported as killed in combat with the FARC. Link: http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=1342243
The Human Rights Unit of the Regional Prosecutor, based in Pasto, is advancing in a judicial investigation, in which 24 soldiers with an equal number of arrest warrants, presumed to be responsible for the deaths of 20 people in the department of Nariño during 2007-2009, who had been presented as members of ilegal armed groups killed in combat.
Alias "Iguana" said that paramilitaries planned false positives with the Regional Prosecutor in Cúcuta in 2002. According to his declaration, Ana Maria Florez, Director of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Cucuta in 2002, was pressed by the central level of the institution to show results in the fight against the paramilitary forces that swept the region. Link: http://www.laopinion.com.co/noticias/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=356036&Itemid=33
A specialized court of Santa Rosa de Viterbo (Boyacá) declared on August 31 as co-authors of the crime of aggravated murder and kidnapping of a protected person the military members of the Tarqui batallion and members of Military Intelligence Unit, Diego Hernan Moreno and Yebrail Galvis Nieto, for the events which occurred on March 12, 2008 in which the young man Mauricio Hernandez of Tunja (Boyacá) lost his life. For the same acts, should be prosecuted Merchan Jorge Alirio Barinas, a third member of the intelligence unit that is now fugitive from justice.
Letter to President Santos
Civil society organizations in the United States and Latin America, as well as regional organizations, including the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), have worked tirelessly to open doors to dialogue and seek a more comprehensive approach to Colombia's bloody civil war. Unfortunately. Uribe's government focused, instead, on a policy of militarization that has taken enormous human and material prices, especially for indigenous and black communities of Colombia. We urge you as President, to begin a new chapter in Colombian history, improving your relationship with citizens of your country and its neighbors.
Read full letter: www.colectivodeabogados.org/IMG/pdf/Carta_a_Juan_Manuel_Santos.pdf
25 departments face the phenomenon of threatening leaflets
At least 25 departments face the phenomenon of threatening leaflets, which in most cases come from paramilitary groups, and which have been denounced by social organizations and human rights defenders. Since last year, social researchers observed an increase in threats through pamphlets that arrive via email or leaflets with the objective to intimidate youth, communities and/or human rights defenders. Carlos Fernandez, a researcher of CINEP, said that there is a clear distinction between two types of threats, one more inclinated towards social cleansing and the other of open political persecution. http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=1348114
The process of the Palace of Justice continues
Colonel (r) Edilberto Sanchez Rubiano, who led the B-2 of the 13 Brigade of the Army, and former members of this same military unit Ferney Causaya, Luis Fernando Nieto Velandia and Oscar William Vasquez, are close to be convicted by Judge Cristina Trejos. Although the four defendants left their place of detention, the prosecution requested to revoke the release of Vasquez, becasue of alleged pressure to one of the witnesses in his process.
New tests performed on the remains of Judge Carlos Horacio Uran, confirmed that he was killed as a result of a 9 mm pistol at close range and that he had left the Palace of Justice alive.
Brought before the International Criminal Court first lawsuit against Alvaro Uribe
The congressman Ivan Cepeda transmitted a case against former president Uribe to the Prosecutor of the ICC after the Congress had acquitted the former president. The plenary of the House decided to file a case in which the former Head of State was prosecuted for libel and defamation, when in 2002, during a Security Council in Carepa (Antioquia) Uribe accused Father Javier Giraldo and the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó to be supporting the guerrilla. After that statement 20 people were killed in the same municipality. The Alternative Democratic Pole requested copies of the case and announced its immediate transmission to the International Criminal Court.
Colombia's main problem is impunity: UN
The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations recognized the "legislative progress" in Colombia in gender violence but expressed concern about the lack of progress in the demilitarization of armed groups in the country. Meeting in Geneva since July 12, the Human Rights Committee, composed of twenty experts, presented its conclusions on Colombia, which show the progress and setbacks in the country in different areas. While welcoming the legislative initiatives in the fight against gender violence, the Committee expresses concern on the lack of progress in the legal benefits for demobilized members of armed groups and the relations between armed forces and paramilitary structures. The report also criticizes the lack of investigations into serious human rights violations and attacks on other activists and it calls on Colombia to take steps to give full effect to the recommendations of the Committee. "The main problem in Colombia is it's state of impunity, which not has improved at all in recent years," said Fabían Salvioli, member of the Human Rights Committee.
Final Observations by the Committee: http://www.hchr.org.co/publico/comunicados/2010/comunicados2010.php3?cod=25&cat=81
Crimes against lawyers have increased
This conclusion was made by the II Caravan of Jurists, held between 23 August and 28 August in 11 regions of the country. The international delegates were concerned about the lack of implementation of the recommendations that had been made by the first Caravan in 2008. Denis L'Anglais, of the Canadian Lawyers Without Borders, emphasized that, in contrast to the expectations, there has been a growing number of victims and, therefore, evidence of a systematic character. Moreover, according to Anglais, such crimes are due to an intentionality and are related to "state terrorism", which could be part of future research that would lead to the International Criminal Court.
Read full story: http://www.movimientodevictimas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=680&Itemid=1