Inter-American Commission On Human Rights
Case 10.473 (Alvaro Garces Parra v. Columbia) Inter-Am. C.H.R. REPORT No. 1/94
February 1 1994. *
1. On May 30, 1989, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received a complaint against the Colombian State for alleged violations of the right to life, to safety and personal security, and to justice, which was subsequently expanded by the petitioner on June 30 of the same year, in reference to the following:
II. THE FACTS:Introduction
1.1 On August 15 and 16, 1987, the municipality of Sabana de Torres, in the north of the Department of Santander, celebrated the town's livestock festival with a fair, a parade of floats, a bullfight and a grand ball. The mayor of the locality, Dr. ALVARO GARCES PARRA, a prominent activist of the Uniòn Patriòtica - Frente Amplio del Magdalena Medio alliance, was present and took part in all these celebrations. During the ball on the night of the 15th and in the early morning of the 16th, during the ball, when the mayor got up from the table where he was seated with his family in order to go out to the dance floor, he was killed by a group of persons from outside the area who had sat down at a table near his. The bodyguards who accompanied him at all times were unable to prevent his death, (two of these guards also died as a result of the attack).
The murder (As recounted by family members present at the time)
1.2 At approximately 3:45 a.m. in the early morning of August 16, when a song was dedicated to Yolanda Garcés Parra, sister of the mayor, everybody who was at his table, which was 2 meters from the dance floor, got up to dance, except for his mother and two of his sons. The opening chords of the music were still in the air when the first shot was heard. Myriam Garcés Parra saw a man with his hand out of sight move closer to her brother, then when he raised his hand she heard the shot. The bullet struck the mayor directly in the head and lodged there; he died almost instantaneously. The security guard Luis Orlando Castaño, who was dancing with one of the mayor's sisters at that moment, fatally wounded the gunman who had fired the shot. Various other persons also tried to catch him. Jairo Loaiza Pavas, another guard, ran after the fellows who moments before had been at the adjoining table watching the mayor. In addition to those who were at the table, other men who were at the entrance of the building fired into it. One of the gunmen ran out pursued by guard Carlos Gamboa Rodriguez. The brothers of ALVARO GARCES PARRA clustered around his body. Various people were wounded. Luis Orlando Castaño, after shooting the mayor's murderer, also joined in the pursuit of the other gunmen, and found outside the still bodies of his fellow guards Jairo Loaiza and Carlos Gamboa. In addition the dead killer, other members of the group of attackers were also wounded.
Before the murder; the military plot
1.3 One day before the mayor's murder, a group of persons including LUIS FRANCISCO ROA MENDOZA, LUIS MEDINA TIRADO, LUIS HORACIO TRASLAVINA and ISIDRO CORRENO ESTEVEZ entered the barracks of the Ricaurte Battalion and went to the Second Military Intelligence Section (S-2), to the office of CAPTAIN LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA and where MAJOR OSCAR ECHANDIA SANCHEZ was third in command of the Battalion. At this meeting, as was established by the investigation, (1) the details of the killing of the mayor were finalized and scheduled for that night, the 15th, and the morning of the 16th; (2) the men were handed the weapon that would be used to kill the mayor, a Smith and Wesson No. 7489, and (3) a special license bearing a seal belonging to Captain Ardila was issued in the name of RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, the man who actually killed mayor Garcés Parra.
After the murder; military cover-up and assistance to the wounded killers
1.4 Almost half an hour after the murder of mayor Alvaro Garcés Parra, i.e. approximately 4 a.m. in the morning of August 16, Major Jesús Echandía Sánchez (one of the officers involved in the plot) and Dr. L.J. Pardo de Arteaga, attached to the Battalion of the 5th Military Brigade, brought to the Clínica Santa Teresa in Bucaramanga, the capital of Santander Department and close to where the events took place, LUIS FRANCISCO ROA MENDOZA, who had three recent bullet wounds. The killer was registered as a "soldier" wounded in combat and his hospital bill was paid by the Army authorities. It has also been reported, but has never been confirmed or denied, that another of the wounded gunmen, Amado Ruiz, took refuge in the Luciano D'Lhuyar Battalion barracks in San Vicente de Chucurí.
III. THE VICTIMS:
2. In addition to the persons who were wounded, the following died as a result of the criminal attack:ALVARO GARCES PARRA, Mayor of Sabana de Torres
CARLOS GAMBOA RODRIGUEZ, security guard
JOHN JAIRO LOAIZA PAVAS, security guard
ELIDA ANAYA DUARTE, resident of the locality.
IV. PROCESSING OF THE CASE BEFORE THE IACHR
3. Upon receipt of the complaint and without prejudging its admissibility, the Government of Colombia was notified on October 16, 1989.
4. The Government of Colombia responded to the Commission on January 15, 1990, and with regard to the case of the murder of ALVARO GARCES PARRA informed it that the internal investigation process was still in progress, detailing the status of each of the following proceedings: DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS, CASE BEFORE ORDINARY CRIMINAL COURT, CASE BEFORE MILITARY CRIMINAL COURT, and, later, CASE BEFORE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT. The Colombian Government reiterated its undertaking to inform the Commission regarding the progress of these proceedings, which it has in fact done, and regarding the final outcome of same insofar as a decision is reached, noting that the internal mechanisms were in full play, which meant that the internal remedies provided for in Colombian legislation had not been exhausted.
5. The Colombian Government having responded in a timely fashion to the complaint as detailed above, the Commission continued to process the case in accordance with the rules laid down in the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and its Regulations, giving each of the parties an opportunity to argue as it felt appropriate concerning statements the other made.
6. As part of its process of receiving and examining information from the parties the Commission made available to the Colombian Government the pertinent parts of the communications sent by the petitioner formulating observations as to their allegations and/or making reference to known or new evidence. The notes sent to the Colombian Government by the Commission were the following:Note of February 1, 1990, acknowledging receipt of the information sent in response to the petitioners' request;
Note of June 13, 1990, transmitting the complainant's observations on the Colombian Government's response to its complaint;
Note of August 31, 1990, acknowledging receipt of the information sent by the Colombian Government in response to the complainant's observations detailing the progress of the case before the Santander Administrative Court;
Note of October 29, 1990, transmitting the petitioner's response to its note of August 31 of the same year;
Note of January 17, 1991, acknowledging receipt of additional information and noting the reopening of the investigation by the Eleventh Criminal Trial Court of Bucaramanga upon the request of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation for the purpose of determining the facts regarding the murder of Mayor ALVARO GARCES;
Note of July 11, 1991, requesting additional information concerning the status of the investigation;
Note of July 26, 1991, acknowledging receipt of information on the progress of the case.
7. The Commission also informed the petitioner regarding the responses sent by the Colombian Governments, forwarding the relevant parts thereof. The list of notes sent to the petitioner by the Commission is as follows:Letter of February 1, 1990, transmitting Government's response;
Letter of June 13, 1990, acknowledging receipt of observations concerning the Colombian Government's response;
Letter of August 31, 1990, transmitting additional information provided by the Colombian Government in connection with petitioner's observations;
Letter of October 29, 1990, acknowledging receipt of supplementary observations concerning the Colombian Government's response of August 31, 1990;
Letter of January 14, 1991, transmitting the Colombian Government's response of January 10, 1991;
Letter of January 22, 1991, sending additional response by the Government communicated in note of January 15, 1991;
Letter of April 16. 1991, acknowledging receipt of additional information sent by complainant on March 20, 1991;
Letter of August 2, 1991, transmitting Colombian Government's note of July 26, 1991, and
Letter of June 16, 1992, providing additional information requested by complainant.
V. REMEDIES UNDER DOMESTIC LAW
8. A following summary is given of the information provided by the parties and updated during the processing of the case before the IACHR, regarding the investigations performed and proceedings brought before the Colombian authorities concerning the murder of the Mayor of Sabana de Torres and of the findings and decisions resulting therefrom:
1) BEFORE THE ORDINARY CRIMINAL COURT
The 11th Criminal Trial Court opened its investigation to determine the circumstances in which the killing of a number of persons took place in Sabana de Torres and on January 8, 1988, it issued an order for investigation of the crime and ordered the questioning of the following Colombian Army personnel: Privates REINALDO LANDAZABAL, GERARDO ORTEGA BARRERA, YESID CANCINO VARGAS; Corporal PLINIO SANDOVAL TOSCANO; Sergeant JORGE ELIECER CARDENAS CORRALES; Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA; Major OSCAR ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and the physician for the local military personnel Dr. LINDA JENNY DE ARTEAGA. Only Captain ARDILA and Major ECHANDIA were heard, on November 1988.
On February 1, 1988, the Court issued arrest warrants in respect of the civilians ISIDRO CARREÑO ESTEVEZ, LUIS HORACIO TRASLAVIÑA and LUIS FRANCISCO ROA MENDOZA, which were never carried out, and, when the legal position of these persons was resolved on May 30, 1989, a new judge in charge of the court was unable to find evidence justifying issuance of arrest warrants.
The Court, after hearing the questioning of the Colombian Army officers, took the position that their actions were connected with official acts of the Armed Forces and that they should be judged by the Military Criminal Court in respect of their participation in what took place in Sabana de Torres, with the result that there was a conflict of jurisdiction, on the grounds of which the Court sent the case documents to the Fifth Brigade headquartered in Bucaramanga.
At the present time the ordinary criminal case concerning what took place in Sabana de Torres is in the stage of "determination of responsible parties" and there is "no known accused individual" with regard to the commission of the crime.
2) BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE NATION
(Assigned to the Military Forces). First proceeding, which concluded with Decision No. 20 of January 18, 1989, dismissing Major OSCAR ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA from the Armed Forces as those responsible for the acts which caused the death of the Mayor of Sabana de Torres, Dr. ALVARO GARCES PARRA.
FACTS THAT INCRIMINATE CAPTAIN ARDILA. The Office of the Attorney General took into consideration (1) the statement by the former soldier GONZALO ORTEGA PARADA who accused Captain Ardila of having asked him, as his informant and assistant, to follow and observe the murdered mayor and of having ordered him to kill the mayor, offered him the sum of Col$100,000 to do so. He refused to carry out the order. In addition to this statement and the fact (2) that Captain Ardila owned a Mazda car, the most compromising circumstance was (3) the visit to his office on August 15, 1987, the day before the mayor of Sabana de Torres was gunned down, of LUIS MEDINA TIRADO, LUIS HORACIO TRASLAVIÑA, LUIS FRANCISCO ROA MENDOZA and ISIDRO CARREÑO ESTEVEZ, and (4) the expert opinion concerning the license issued by his military unit in the name of RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA to carry revolver SW Nº 7489, although the expert was not positive as to the captain's signature he was with regard to the impression of the seal of the Fifth Brigade S-2 Ricaurte Battalion on the document. (5) A further piece of evidence was formed by the fact that ORTEGA PARADA's version concerning the threats made to him by Captain ARDILA after the mayor's death was corroborated by the statement of RODRIGO ORTIZ MONTERO (page 87 of reserve book). The Court concludes that in light of all this testimonial and documentary evidence, of such importance, the accused's effort to discredit it does not carry sufficient weight.
FACTS THAT INCRIMINATE MAJOR ECHANDIA. Also in this case, the Office of the Attorney General considered (1) that the accusations of former soldier GONZALO ORTEGA PARADA concerning Major ECHANDIA were not discredited by the latter's protestations. It was also amply demonstrated that (2) it was Major ECHANDIA who put LUIS FRANCISCO ROA MENDOZA involved in the killing of the Mayor of Sabana de Torres, in the Clínica Santa Teresa in Bucaramanga and even paid his hospital bill; (3) that the correction made by Dr. LINA JENNY DE ARTEAGA, on responding to his answers contradicted him in stating (pp. 429-430) "I did not go to get anybody from outside in the street with Major ECHANDIA..." did not support his veracity either.
DECISION. On the basis of these facts and in addition to the fact that the officers implicated did not succeed in discrediting the charges brought against them concerning the events which occurred in Sabana de Torres and resulted in the death of the mayor Dr. ALVARO GARCES PARRA, "the maximum penalty hereby imposed on them, is DISCHARGE." /s/ MANUEL SALVADOR BETANCUR, Assistant Attorney General for the Armed Forces.
3) BEFORE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE NATION. 2nd proceeding, which considers the appeal lodged against the above-cited Decision No. 20 of January 18, 1989, and confirms it with Decision No. 406 of November 23, 1989.
The Assistant Attorney General for the Armed Forces, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 143 of the National Constitution, Law 25 of 1983 and Article 217 of Decree 85 of 1989, after considering the reasons for discharge contained in Decision No. 20 of January 18, 1989, and finding that it concurs with the opinions stated therein, DECIDES: NOT TO REINSTATE and hence to UPHOLD the disciplinary penalty of discharge and absolute dismissal imposed on the officers of the National Army Major OSCAR ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA on account of the events in connection with the death of the mayor of the Municipality of Sabana de Torres on August 16, 1987. /s/ JOSE PLINIO MORENO RODRIGUEZ, Assistant Attorney General for the Armed Forces.
4) BEFORE THE MILITARY CRIMINAL TRIAL COURT
a) The 11th MILITARY CRIMINAL TRIAL COURT of Bucaramanga, Colombia, concluded its deliberations on February 23, 1989, and ruled in the following way on the questions of responsilibity of Officers ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and ARDILA ORJUELA;
After a recapitulation of the facts proven in the investigation, the Military Criminal Trial Court concluded that the following facts were certain and unquestionable:
Concerning the victims: On September [sic (Tr.)] 16, 1987, in the early morning, the Mayor ALVARO GARCES PARRA was killed by act of violence, as were also JOHN JAIRO LOAIZA PAVAS, CARLOS RODRIGUEZ GAMBOA and ELIDA ANAYA DUARTE, the latter succumbing to wounds received during the events investigated. Also injured were LORENZA CASTRO DE SUAREZ and MYRIAM CASTRO DE ALVAREZ.
Concerning the actual perpetrator: It is proven that the person who killed the Mayor of Sabana de Torres by a shot in the head was RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, who was also killed during the perpetration of his criminal act.
Verification of multiple participation. It is evident that RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA was not alone in the commission of his crime but that a number of individuals were involved because of the shootout which occurred in the building and then outside of it.
Identification of the killers. Regarding the other killers who accompanied RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, Dr. VICTOR ENRIQUE NAVARRO JIMENEZ, in his capacity as Special Prosecutor in the preliminary proceedings, stated that he knew that the following individuals had left San Juan Bosco Laverde heading for Sabana de Torres to kill the mayor: AUGUSTO AMADO RUIZ, LUIS HORACIO TRASLAVIÑA, RAUL BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, LUIS ROA MENDOZA and SERVIVILIO CEPEDA QUIROGA. Raúl Bermúdez was killed during the murder and Luis Roa Mendoza and Augusto Amado Ruiz were wounded.
Links between the killers. The investigations revealed a relationship between BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, the killer of the mayor, and the other individuals who on August 15 were at the Battalion HQ. Based on the fact that as far back as 1982 and as detailed in the documents, they were all connected with the paramilitary group "MAS". It was further evident that there was a relationship between BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA and AMADO RUIZ, because a paper with the telephone number of the latter's brother was found on the dead killer. In addition, ARNULFO AMADO RUIZ, brother of AUGUSTO AMADO RUIZ, was also found to be linked with Luis Francisco Roa Mendoza.
Links between the killers and Captain Ardila: (1) This relationship is evidenced by the visit made, as recorded in the Guard Register, to the Captain's office in the Second Section of the Ricaurte Battalion, of which he was the commanding officer, by the individuals identified as the killers on August 15. (2) It is doubly incriminating and inexplicable that Captain Ardila, as Chief of Military Intelligence of the Battalion, upon being confronted with so serious an accusation, did not deploy his investigative agents and other means at his disposal to establish and determine exactly what the said visitors were doing and where they were on the day they came to the Unit, instead of limiting himself, as he did, to simply denying that fact and leaving it to the investigator to prove it. (3) In addition, Captain Ardila's links with the killers were confirmed when there was found in the wallet of BERMUDEZ ALCANTARA, who was killed in the shootout, the license to carry a revolver with the genuine stamp of the Second Section of the Ricaurte Battalion which, as confirmed by statements of his subordinates, remained in his office and was only used by persons duly authorized to do so and in his presence, which indicates that he either apposed said stamp himself or had someone apply it upon his instructions.
Links between the killers and Major Echandía: These links were evidenced by the following: (1) Major ECHANDIA admitted that he knew ROA MENDOZA from past time when he was acting as Military Mayor of Puerto Boyaca. In view of this relationship (2) his statement that ROA MENDOZA came to the Battalion Ricaurte HQ on August 15, 1987 and did not speak with his "friend or acquaintance" is inconsistent, since he knew that he was on the premises. (3) ROA MENDOZA was in the Battalion HQ on the morning of August 15 just hours after he received bullet wounds and he went to his friend Major ECHANDIA who immediately picked him up and took him to the Clínica Santa Teresa. (4) To have him receive surgical treatment, Major ECHANDIA lied by identifying him as a soldier wounded in military action. (5) Afterwards, he again lied to the investigator by telling it that he picked him up after he was injured in a street brawl because he was an old informer of his and that he had compassion on him. (6) Instead of taking the wounded killer to a State hospital, which would have been consistent with the latter's modest means as a fellow of peasant background with no family, he took him to an expensive private clinic. (7) He personally undertook to pay his expenses, writing a personal guarantee check for the purpose. (8) He also involved the Ricaurte Battalion in the payment. (9) Finally, it is incriminating to Major ECHANDIA that, in his capacity as third in command of the Ricaurte Battalion, he did not take steps to verify where ROA MENDOZA, HORACIO TRASLAVIÑA and ISIDRO CARREÑO ESTEVEZ were and what they were doing in the Technical Unit the day before the events, whereby his position was seriously compromised. This conduct demonstrates that there was indeed an understanding between Major ECHANDIA and ROA MENDOZA that obliged the major to take care of the killer, rather than the alleged reasons of pity, and shows that he was aware of the plan and participated in it from the beginning and also after the murder of GARCES PARRA.
Other incriminating evidence. The statements of former soldier ORTEGA are considered accurate in that they are confirmed by other statements such as those of JAIME CASTRILLON BLANDON, ALVARO LOPEZ MIRANDA, ERNESTO ACEVEDO MENDOZA and BRUNO VASQUEZ MENDEZ, to the effect that some days before the events ORTEGA was telling them that Captain ARDILA was going to order the killing of the Mayor of Sabana de Torres. Also, the incident at Street 33 and Avenue 18 in the city of Bucaramanga was corroborated, to the effect that Major ECHANDIA and Captain ARDILA tried to force ORTEGA into a "yellow" car (like that of Ardila). Further the fact that the Guard Register who records the entry of persons into the Ricaurte Battalion HQ had spilled a liquid, as if to destroy the evidence, on the page that showed that FRANCISCO MENDOZA, LUIS HORACIO TRASLAVINA and ISIDRO CARRENO ESTEVEZ were there in the Battalion HQ on August 15, which indicates that an attempt to conceal this fact was made by the officers involved. Then there was the matter of Captain Ardila's hatred for and declared enmity against the members of the Unión Patriótica, which was so extreme that his conduct called for attention by his commanding officer.
Classification. The facts having been proven and the guilt in connection therewith of Major ECHANDIA and Captain ARDILA having been demonstrated, it is concluded that the facts can be classified under Title VII, Chapters II and III of the Second Book of the Military Criminal Code under the generic heading of HOMICIDE and BODILY HARM, and that it is the judge's responsibility to determine in a final decision whether those involved were acting as coperpetrators, coparticipants, accomplices or accessories.
Decision. In light of the foregoing, the 9th MILITARY CRIMINAL TRIAL COURT, administering justice in the name of the Republic and by authority of the Law: (1) ORDERS preventive detention of National Army officers Major OSCAR DE JESUS ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA, the personal and military data of both of whom are duly recorded, as accused persons and the persons presumed responsible for the crimes of homicide against ALVARO GARCES PARRA, JOHN JAIRO LOAIZA PAVAS and ELIDA ANAYA PAVADUARTE and of bodily harm against LORENZA CASTRO DE SUAREZ and MYRIAM CASTRO DE ALVAREZ; crimes that are classified and for which the penalties are specified in Book II, Title VII, Chapters II and III of the Military Code of Criminal Justice, and in accordance with the reasons set forth in the relevant part hereof; (2) NAMES as location for said detention the Officers Detention Facility of the Fifth Brigade HQ; (3) requests the Army Command to suspend the functions and powers of the officers involved. /s/ Oscar Vicente Pedraza Durán, Military Criminal Trial Judge.
b) THE COURT MARTIAL of the Fifth Brigade of Bucaramanga, which tried Major Echandía and Captain Ardila, in its decision of October 3, 1989, found the two officers not guilty of the murder of the mayor of Sabana de Torres.5) THE COURT OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW. On February 5, 1992, the Administrative Court of Santander sentenced the Colombian State to pay compensation to the members of the families of the victims, under which, conciliation between the parties, the Government was required to pay Col$30 million to the members of the family of murdered mayor Garc‚s Parra and Col$18 million to those of the security guard Carlos Gamboa.
The Court Martial considered, among other things, the following: that the Prosecutor refrained from seeking a verdict of guilty because he did not believe there was full proof of the participation of the accused; the considerations of the defense to the effect that both officers had served in a manner that demonstrated their loyalty and nonself-seeking service in the interests of the institution; that the true identity of the dead killer had not been proven; that the weapon used had never appeared; that despite the fact that the killer was covered with blood, there was no stain whatsoever on the license to carry the weapon, which prompted the assumption that the license had been fabricated and placed on the body to incriminate the army officers; that none of the agents of the Attorney General's office who performed the prior investigations deserved credibility; that there was a manufactured setup to incriminate officers of the Colombian Army; that this case had been used by the extreme left to discredit the good name and prestige of the Military and that declaring the officers guilty would be continuing to play the game of the subversive interests; that the entrance of civilians into the facilities of the Ricaurte Battalion on August 15, 1987, could not be held to be proof of a charge against the officers; that the imputations against Captain Ardila did not in fact compromise him and neither did the allegations against Major Echandía since he had performed an act of charity for a wounded man who was an old acquaintance and an Army informant; and that the principle that where there is doubt, the defendant should be given the benefit should be taken into account.
Decision. In virtue of these considerations, the Court Martial unanimously decides as follows: (1) Major OSCAR DE JESUS ECHANDIA SANCHEZ and Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA are declared not guilty of homicide in respect of the person of ALVARO GARCES PARRA, by being the organizers of the crime, in accordance with the grounds set forth in the relevant part of this decision. (2) As a result, Major ECHANDIA SANCHEZ (in absentia) and Captain ARDILA ORJUELA, are acquitted of the crime of homicide of which ALVARO GARCES PARA was victim. (3) It orders that all proceedings against Major OSCAR DE JESUS ECHANDIA SANCHEZ (in absentia) and Captain LUIS ORLANDO ARDILA ORJUELA in respect of the crime of homicide against the persons of JOHN JAIRO LOAIZA PAVAS, CARLOS RODRIGUEZ GAMBOA and ELIDA ANAYA DUARTE, and in respect of bodily harm to LORENZA CASTRO DE SUAREZ and MYRIAM CASTRO DE ALVAREZ be halted; (4) It grants Major ECHANDIA SANCHEZ (in absentia) and Captain ARDILA ORJUELA the benefit of provisional liberty, against posting of a bond of Col$50,000; (5) If the absent defendant Major ECHANDIA SANCHEZ presents himself and meets the requirements for the granting of provisional liberty set forth in (4) preceding, the warrant issued for his arrest shall be canceled; (6) It orders the release of Captain ARDILA ORJUELA once all the requirements set forth in (4) of this decision have been met.
c) THE BOGOTA SUPERIOR MILITARY COURT. In a decision announced on December 18, 1989, this court abstained from considering the judgment submitted for its advisory opinion, thereby leaving the acquittal pronounced by the Bucaramanga Court Martial entirely unmodified.
The Court, after considering, among other things, the facts connected with the murder of the mayor of Sabana de Torres as contained in the investigations conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation (Decisions 20 and 406 of January 18, and November 23, 1989) and of the Military Criminal Trial Court (of February 23, 1989) and those of law contained in the rules regulating the administrative law procedure and others connected with the extracontractual responsibility of the State for acts exceeding their authority on the part of public employees, as occurred in the present case to the extent that the conduct of the public employees concerned represented abuse of their powers and responsibilities, the Administrative Court of Santander, administering justice in the name of the Republic of Colombia and by authority of the law,
That the State, Ministry of Defense, National Army, is administratively responsible for the material harm and pain and suffering caused to his family by the death of Dr. ALVARO GARCES PARRA; that the State, Ministry of Defense, National Army, is administratively responsible for the material harm and pain and suffering caused to the family of CARLOS GAMBOA RODRIGUEZ; The Court hereby orders the Colombian State Ministry of Defense, National Army, to pay to the family of Alvaro Garc‚s the value of 1,000 grams of gold at the price certified by the Banco de la Rep£blica on the date of this decision; The Court hereby orders the Colombian State, Ministry of Defense, National Army, to pay to the mother of Alvaro Garc‚s the value of 1,000 grams of gold at the price certified by the Banco de la Rep£blica on the date of this decision, as compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the death of her son; The Court hereby orders the State, Ministry of Defense, National Army, to pay as material damages the sum of Col$6,547,575.31 to the family of Alvaro Garc‚s, as compensation for the losses caused by loss of income; The Court hereby orders the State, Ministry of Defense, National Army, to pay to the family of Carlos Gamboa the value of 1,000 grams of gold, at the price certified by the Banco de la Rep£blica on the date of this decision, as compensation for pain and suffering caused by the death of their husband and father; The Court hereby orders the State, Ministry of Defense, National Army in the abstract to pay the material losses caused to the Gamboa family, which shall be settled by incident taking as grounds the bases previously laid down in the part setting out the grounds for this decision.(*) Commission member Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejia abstained from participating in the consideration and voting on this report.