Boletín mensual

Bulletin 8

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.

Persecution of MOVICE and its Members

Paramilitary threats in over twenty cities

Starting the 10th of March and during the next two weeks, leaflets signed by illegal groups calling themselves “United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia” and “Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia” appeared in over twenty cities all around the country and rural areas such as the South of Bolivar and Catatumbo. In the leaflets the illegal groups announced new social cleansing practices towards youth, gays, prostitutes and others.1 In several regions the leaflets named specific persons, of which some have been assassinated in March.

Assassination of students

The 9th of March, Eder Enrique Sierra Carranza, 38 years old and a Pedagogy student from the University of the Guajira Department, was assassinated in the municipality of Rioacha (Guajira). Eder Enrique was intercepted by two hitmen who were moving on a motorbike and shot him several times with a gun.

The 12th of March, Jorge Andrés Isaza Velázquez, 28 years old and a former Law student, was killed in the Law Faculty of the University of Antioquia in Medellín (Antioquia), by two masked hitmen, who shot him three times in the head.2

Assassinated the president of the Community Action Board (JAC) in Meta

The 14th of March, Luis Arbey Díaz Rubiano, President of the Community Action Board (JAC) of the village El Tapir in the municipality La Macarena (Meta) was assassinated. The killing was committed by a military patrol of the 1st Mobile Brigade of the Colombian Armed Forces, at the command of lieutenant Londoño. Luis Arbey had been leaving his house the 14th of March in company of his son, heading towards the river shore, when military troops started to shoot at both.3

Attempt against the Indigenous Unity of the Awá People (UNIPA)

The 17th of March, the Secretary General of UNIPA Oscar Ortiz and Alex Guanga were victim of an assassination attempt, while both leaders were unloading goods from a car in front of the office of their organization. At that very moment two men on a motorbike approached the office of UNIPA and shot four times against the two members of the organization. It surprises that the Police did not act immediately or tried to capture the two individuals on the motorbike, since they were stationed next to the office during the attack.4

Threats against the Wayuu Women's Force and selective killings in the Guajira department

The 27th of January the Early Alert System (SAT) of the National Ombudsman, emitted a Risk Inform No. 002-09, in which the paramilitary threat and the practices of social cleansing against different social sectors, such as the Arab community, community leaders, the Wayuu community and the organization Wayuu Women's Force were denounced. In the first week of March threats against the Wayuu Women's Force, an organization that works with victims of the conflict and is part of the MOVICE, appeared and various persons that had appeared in the Risk Inform of the Ombudsman had been assassinated. The Wayuu Women's Force underscore, that in case that the threats against them should be realized, they exclusively make responsible the national government for omission of the recommendations made by the National Ombudsman.5

Persecution of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN)

Since the 12th of March Hugo Dagua, a founding member of the Communication Network of the ACIN and one of the members of Radio Pa´yumat, has been persecuted by unidentified men on a motorbike. His residence has been under surveillance by the same men.6 At the same time, the ACIN has been object of finger pointing, as has been the case the 4th of March when the magazine Cambio, in an article relates the ACIN and one of its members Emmanuel Rozental with the guerrilla of the ELN.7

Baseless prosecutions of human rights defenders

The 11th of February and the 10th of March the attorney 216 delegated before the Bogotá Judicial System, ordered to reopen criminal investigations against the recognized human rights defender and Jesuit priest Javier Giraldo and the director of the Juridical Corporation Liberty (CJL), Elkin Ramírez. The attorney is accusing both of false denounces, insults and slander. These investigations were reopened on the base of denounces originally made in 2004 and 2005 by Colonel Néstor Iván Duque López, commander of the Military Brigade involved in the San José de Apartadó massacre of 2005. The Juridical Corporation Liberty fears that the accusations were motivated by the participation of Giraldo and Ramírez in denouncing the participation of Colonel Duque in this massacre.8 In a response to the accusations against Javier Giraldo, the Jesuit priest declared himself in judicial disobedience towards the Colombian judicial system. “An ethical conscience cannot accept its involvement in institutional mechanisms that collaborate in fictional processes of so called justice and truth, but in practice lead him to contribute to falsities and injustice. Even more when in this simulacre life and dignitity of numerous people are involved. Because of these different considerations, I beg you to exempt me from any declaration, version, indagatoria or interview, taking into accounty my moral impossibility to do so. The National Constitution establishes that “no one is forced to act against its conscience” (Art. 18).”9

The 24th of February the superior tribunal of Bucaramanga decided that Mr. Príncipe Gabriel González was guilty of the political delict of rebelion and sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment. González is a leader of the humanrights organisation Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con Presos Políticos in Santander. In March of 2007, González had been absolved in the same process, after a judge sentenced the process to be groundless and without evidence. However, the attorhey decided to appeal against the judge's decision. The preoccupying decision of the superior tribunal of Bucaramanga mentioned the work of González as a human rights defender and a defender of political prisoners, as evidence of his participation in the guerrilla. His case has been recognized by the High Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations, the Working Group of the UN on Arbitrary Detentions, the Special Rapporteur of the UN for Human Rights Defenders and the United States Government annual report on human rights.10

Torture and Sexual Violence by the National Army in Yondó (Antioquia)

The 14th of March, in a rural area of the municipality of Yondó, a member of the Calibío Battalion presented himself as a member of the United Self-Defense Forces (AUC) in front of several people from the community. He walked towards one of the community houses, where amongst others Jacqueline Coronado and Rosa García of 15 and 16 years old were present. The soldier entered the house pointing at the two girls with his rifle, telling them that they had to do as he said if they didn't want to be killed. After he tied up the people present in the house, threatening them with his rifle, he took the two girls with him. The community formed a commission to find the two girls and found them in the woods near the village. Both had suffered physical and sexual abuses.11

Finger pointing against the Commission Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (CIJyP)

The 2nd of March in the newspaper El Colombiano, in a payed section an article was published that was titled, “Indigenous organizations and afrocolombians from the Lower Atrato basin reject the intromission of the NGO Justicia y Paz and support the mining projects Mande Norte”. The article states that: “Justicia y Paz and PBI have dedicated themselves in obstaculizing and persecuting projects of both private and public character, that are interested in de regional development, and in consequence the welfare of our people.” The 7th of March, in the same newspaper, an article was published by the columnist Raúl E. Tamayo Gaviria titled “Defenders of Indigenous People” in which several questions are formulated, that suggest that the Comisión de Justicia y Paz and Peace Brigades International would have had relations with the guerrilla of the FARC-EP. 12

At the same time the indigenous Embera communities of the indigenous territories of Uradá, Jiguamiandó, Chageradó, Turriquitado and Río Murindó, of the municipality of Carmen del Darién and Murindó, have been forcefully displaced since February by the operations of the Muriel Mining Company and the militarization suffered by the indigenous resguardos and their sacred places.13

Paramilitary presence in the Cacarica river basin in complicity with the National Army

The 13th of March paramilitaries that identified themselves as “Black Eagles” retained three members of the collective territory of the Cacarica river basin until the 15th of March. On the same 13th of March the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz in Bogota, was informed that a paramilitary group was calling the indigenous communities to an obligatory reunion. One of the paramilitaries that identify himself as part of the “Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia” accused the indigenous of collaborating with the guerrilla, adding that the reunion had the objective of sharing with the population new norms that these had to assume. The 18th of March there was still presence of paramilitaries in the river basin, without any reaction of the National Army who is camped within the collective territory.14

MOVICE Activities

National Encounter on Extrajudicial Executions

The 5th, 6th and 7th of March in the city of Bogota the national Encounter on Extrajudicial Execution was celebrated. The 6th of March family members of victims of extrajudicial executions realized a march in front of the Ministry of Defense and the Public Prosecutor's Office to present a list of petitions. This encounter was accompanied by different activities in several cities around the world. The official declaration of the Encounter stated that: during the two presidential administrations of Álvaro Uribe Vélez and in application of the “democratic security” policy an increase has been reported in extrajudicial executions committed by the public force. According to reports by human rights and peace coalitions, at least 1,122 persons have been murdered in a total state of defenselessness and later presented as “combat kills”. (…) That we place greatest responsibility for the massive practice of extrajudicial executions on President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, as the commander in chief of the military forces, Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos, and senior military commanders, which includes former General Mario Montoya and General Fredy Padilla de León. That president Álvaro Uribe Vélez, in exercise of his constitutional powers, removes from their posts Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos, senior military commanders, and the commanders in the places where these crimes occurred, and that competent institutions initiate effective investigations that result in exemplary punishment in their condition of the command held at the time of the execution of these crimes.”15

Freedom for Carmelo Agámez

The 26th of March members of the MOVICE realized a protest in front of the General Attorney's Office, presenting a letter to the General Attorney signed by Colombian and international human rights organizations that urges to respect the due process of Carmelo Agámez and its immediately liberation. Carmelo Agámez is part of the MOVICE, it’s Technical Secretary in the department of Sucre and has been arbitrarily detained since the 15th of November of 2008.

Public Audience in Caquetá postponed

Because of an armed strike in the month of March by the FARC-EP that prohibits any mobilization in over four departments, including Caquetá, the MOVICE has been forced to postpone the realization of the Public Audience for Truth, Justice and Integral Reparation that was foreseen for the 26th of March. The new date for the audience will be the 9th of March.

Sixth visit of the Ethical Commission against State Crimes in Colombia

Between the 24th of February and the 11th of March 2009, the Ethical Commission realized their sixth visit to Colombia. In this occasion, a part of accompanying the Embera people and the afrocolombian community of the Jiguamiandó river basin in their first Popular Consult and visits to Sucre and Putumayo, the Ethical Commission assisted during the National Encounter on Extrajudicial Executions.16

Victim's Rights

Governmental finance of oilpalm companies in the Curvaradó riverbassin

The Colombian government financed almost 100% of the oilpalm in the Curvarado riverbasin according to a report of the National Comptroller's Office in which new elements are presented that show how public resources have been used for the implementation of the ilegal agrobusiness of oilpalm in the Curvarado riverbassin through the organization Finagro.17

Preliminar investigation of retired military Generals because of the military operation Orion

According to a declassified document of the CIA, the plan and the execution of the military operation Orion in 2002 in the city of Medellin was under the direct responsability of the Colombian Army and General Montoya as the chief commander of the IV Brigade, General Leonardo Gallego, chief commander of the Metropolitan Police of the Valle de Aburrá and paramilitary forces, who painted the walls with phrases such as “Cacique Nutibara Self-Defense Block, Orion Company”. The Juridical Corporation Liberty has asked the Attorney General to open a formal investigation against the retired military Generals Mario Montoya Uribe and Leonardo Gallego Castrillón, to clarify their responsability in the illegal actions during the Orion operation. At the same time the Corporation asks the Attorney General to recognize the victims' rights to truth, justice and integral reparation and that never again these types of crimes are committed by the Colombian State.18

Audience by the CIDH on the criminalization of indigenous people.

The 20th of March the InterAmerican Court held a session on the criminalization of the defense of indigenous rights in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador y Chile. In Colombia 1200 indigenous have been assassinated in the last six years under the governments of Álvaro Uribe Vélez. The internal conflict is leading to the extinction of 18 indigenous people, but is affecting all indigenous in the country, due to the military occupation of their territories, forced displacements, killings and disappearances. At the same time the Colombian State is one of the few in the world that hasn`t adopted the UN Declartion on the Rights of Indigenous People.19

Sentence C-175/09 of the Constitutional Court, declaring unenforcable the Rural Statute

The Court declared unenforcable the Law 1152 of 2007 “Through which the Rural Development Statute is managed, the Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) is reformed, and other dispositions are dictated”. Taking into account the history of the law project that was adopted by the Parliament, the Court concluded that the law project didn't obey the obligation to realize a previous consult with indigenous and afrocolombian communities, and that the participating processes executed had been realized in an inopportune way, contradicting the principle of good will, as mentioned in the 6th article of the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, rectified by Colombia.20

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and of the Secretary General on Colombia

Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the guerrilla groups and the Colombian Armed Forces, as well as the activities of illegal armed groups and drug traffickers, coupled with underlying structural problems such as inequitable distribution of wealth, discrimination and stigmatization of vulnerable groups, impunity, and difficulties in accessing justice continue to limit full enjoyment of human rights. Stigmatization of human rights defenders, opposition leaders and social activists by some Government officials continued, putting at risk their life, security and valuable work. (…) As of October 2008, the number of complaints and the number of registered victims show that institutional policies adopted by the Ministry of Defense and the Army High Command to combat such practices (extrajudicial executions) have not had a significant impact in reducing the occurrence of these acts. (…) It is acknowledged that the rights to truth, justice and reparations have been given more prominence in the political and public agendas in 2008. However, to date, few have effectively enjoyed these rights with victims of actions or omissions of State agents being particularly marginalized in the process.

1 “Voz de las mujeres sigue levantándose”, OFP 18/03/2009, “Presencia paramilitar en Ocaña, El Carmen y Convención (Norte de Santander)”, ASCAMCAT 19/03/2009, “Operaciones paramilitares de control social en el corazón Plan Colombia” Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz 19/03/2009, “Alerta por las comunidades del Sur de Bolívar” Fedeagrominesbol, Sembrar, CNA, otros 17/03/2009

2 “ Se intensifica la persecución y represión en contra de la comunidad universitaria Colombia”, Coordinación Regional Sur Occidente de Estudiantes 16/03/2009

3 “Denuncia Pública” ASCAL-G 24/03/2009

4 “Atentado contra Autoridad Awá de Gobierno de la UNIPA” ONIC 18/03/2009

5 “Por otra amenaza, llamamos a mil gritos de solidaridad” Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu 19/03/2009

6 “Persecución a otro Tejedor de ACIN” ACIN 14/03/2009

7 “Rechazamos la violencia y las amenazas contra la ACIN y sus asesores” CUT 12/03/2009

8 “Colombia, en riesgo la libertad de defensores de derechos humanos por denuncias crímenes” Corporación Jurídica Libertad 09/03/2009

9 “Objeción frente a la Fiscalía” Javier Giraldo 16/03/2009

10 “Estado Colombiano debe responder a la continuación de acusaciones sin fundamento contra los defensores de derechos humanos” Human Rights First 30/03/2009

11 “Soldado del batallón Calibío tortura y viola a dos menores de edad en San Francisco (Yondó, Antioquía)” ASORVIM 21/03/2009

12 “Constancia y Censura Ética. Señalamientos contra la Comisión de Justicia y Paz en el bajo Atrato y Urabá Antioqueño. Se preparen judicializaciones.” CIJyP 20/03/2009

13“De Ver 494: Estamos en desplazamiento forzado causado por la empresa Muriel Mining” CJyP 11/03/2009

14 “Constancia y Censura Ética, Operaciones paramilitares, hostigamientos a mujeres en Cacarica” CIJyP 19/03/2009

15 “Declaración Encuentro Familiares de Víctimas de Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales en Colombia” MOVICE 6/03/2009

16 “De Ver 500: Los Crímenes de Estado de Álvaro Uribe Vélez” CJyP 24/03/2009

17 “De Ver 490: Gobierno financió cerca del 100% de la palma” CJyP 10/03/2009

18 “CJL solicita investigación contra generales” RedHer 20/03/2009

19 “CIDH recibirá testimonios sobre criminalización de pueblos indígenas” Comunicaciones COAI 18/03/2009

20 “Sentencia C-175/09” Corte Constitucional 18/03/2009