La Granja, Ituango v. Colombia, Case 12.050, Report No. 57/00, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.111 Doc. 20 rev. at 198 (2000).
LA GRANJA, ITUANGO
October 2, 2000
On July 14, 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter
the Commission) received a petition submitted by the Grupo
Interdisciplinario por los Derechos Humanos (Inter-Disciplinary Group
for Human Rights) and the Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (Colombian
Commission of Jurists) (hereinafter the petitioners), alleging
that on June 11, 1996, members of illegal groups, known as paramilitary
groups, operating with the acquiescence of state agents, executed William
Villa García, Graciela Arboleda viuda de García, Héctor Hernán Correa García,
and Jairo Sepúlveda (hereinafter the victims), as the result
of a pre-announced incursion in the district of La Granja, municipality
of Ituango, department of Antioquia, in the Republic of Colombia (hereinafter
the State, the Colombian State, or Colombia).
The petitioners allege that the State is responsible for violating
Articles 4(1) (the right to life), 5 (the right to humane treatment), 7
(the right to personal liberty), 17 (the obligation to protect the family),
and 1(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the
Convention or the American Convention).
In arguing the admissibility of this case, petitioners invoked the
exceptions to the prior exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement provided
for in Article 46(2) of the American Convention.
The State requested the Commission to declare the case inadmissible
on the grounds of failure to first exhaust domestic remedies, as required
by Article 46(1) of the American Convention.
After analyzing the positions of the parties and compliance with
the requirements set forth at Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, the
Commission declared the case admissible.
PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION
On September 9, 1998, the Commission opened the case under number
12.050, and forwarded the pertinent parts of the complaint to the Colombian
State, which was given 90 days to submit information.
The State submitted its answer on December 30, 1998; which was duly
transmitted to the petitioners. On
February 1, 1999, the Commission requested information from the State on
the situation of one of the relatives of the victims.
On March 1, 1999, during its 102nd session, the Commission held a
hearing with the participation of the petitioners and the representatives
of the State. On March 17, 1999, the Commission forwarded the petitioners
answer to the State, along with the additional information presented during
the hearing. On June 10, 1999,
the State presented its observations, which were forwarded to the petitioners.
On October 1, 1999, during the 104th regular session of the Commission,
another hearing was held with the participation of the parties, during which
factual and legal arguments were heard.
On March 2, 2000, during the Commissions 106th regular session,
a hearing was held with the participation of the parties for the purpose
of taking the testimony of a former member of what at the time was known
as the Fiscalía Regional (Office of the Regional Prosecutor, a special
jurisdiction for crimes involving terrorism or drug trafficking) of Medellín.
The petitioners also submitted written arguments, which were duly
transmitted to the State. On
March 9, 2000, the State submitted its observations, which were sent to
On April 11, 2000, the Commission sent the parties a copy of the
transcript of the testimony taken during the 106th session.
On April 24, 2000, the petitioners submitted their observations thereto,
which were duly transmitted to the State.
On June 6, 2000, the State presented its answer.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
Position of the Petitioner
As of 1995, the mounting incursion of dissident armed groups in the
municipality of Ituango brought with it increased Army activity in the area,
as well as increased activity by the CONVIVIR associations and the structures
known as paramilitary or self-defense groups.
In this context, the petitioners argue that on June 11, 1996, approximately
20 men, outfitted with short-range and long-range firearms, went to the
municipality of Ituango in two pick-up trucks for the purpose of carrying
out an armed incursion. The group is said to have left from near the municipality of
San Andrés de Cuerquia, where they passed just two meters by the Police
Command, yet the Police took no action whatsoever. In addition, they were
seen by inhabitants of places such as El Filo de la Aurora and Chapineros,
where checkpoints of the National Army are usually in place, yet they were
The petitioners allege that on reaching the district of La Granja,
the paramilitary group ordered the closing of all
public establishments, after which a series of selective executions ensued,
which continued for five hours, without the intervention of the authorities.
The illegal armed group was said to have gone first to the place
where Mr. William Villa García was working; at that time he worked as the
driver of the vehicle that belonged to the local parish; he was immediately
assassinated by machine-gun fire. The petitioners allege that Mr. Villa
García had been accused by Army authorities of having transported, under
threat, members of dissident armed groups.
Immediately thereafter, the illegal armed group went to the farm
of Mr. Hugo Espinal Lopera, where they found Graciela Arboleda widow of
García, who was home alone, with two children.
After being questioned as to the whereabouts of Mr. Hugo Espinal
Lopera, Mrs. Arboleda was assassinated.
The petitioners claim that Mr. Espinal Lopera had asked the Army
to withdraw from his property, since their presence caused it considerable
The petitioners allege that the armed men next went to the residence
of Mr. Adán Enrique Correa. Once
there, they knocked down the front door, which led Mrs. María Libia (Elvia)
García Roldán, Mr. Correas wife, to hide, along with her disabled
son, Héctor Hernán Correa García, and one of her grandchildren, in the kitchen.
After discovering Héctor Hernán Correa García in the kitchen, one
of the armed men took him by force to the living room where he allegedly
was assassinated. Meanwhile,
another member of the armed group demanded that Mrs. García Roldán show
them where they kept the firearms in the house; she answered that they did
not possess any firearms. Before leaving, the intruders are alleged to have
taken the familys money and clothing and destroyed their furniture.
Before leaving the district of La Granja, the armed men are said
to have threatened the local residents, saying:
Guerrilla sons of bitches, this town and Santa Rita are ours,
well be back (Guerrilleros hijueputas, este pueblo y Santa Rita nos pertenecen, volveremos),
while firing their weapons into the air.
They reportedly left the area immediately thereafter, on their way
to the urban center of Ituango, passing through El Gadual, Rastrojitos,
and El Líbano, where they were identified by local residents who had seen
them earlier together with members of the National Army.
Once in the urban center of Ituango, they went to the secondary school
Politécnico Colombiano Jaime Isaza Cadavid in search of its
director, Mr. Jairo Sepúlveda. Once there, they took him away in the presence of staff of
the Office of the Comptroller General of Antioquia. On receiving reports of the kidnapping, the members of the
Police and Army posted in Ituango carried out an operation in the exact
opposite direction, geographically, from where the armed men had gone, according
to statements of witnesses. Mr. Sepúlvedas corpse was found the next
day at El Líbano with signs of torture.
Prior to his execution, Mr. Sepúlveda had been investigated by the
Army for accusations of collaborating with dissident armed groups, and was
reportedly harassed to get him to abandon his position and leave the region.
The petitioners allege that the State is responsible for the acts
committed by the illegal armed group, first because it failed to take any
preventive action to put a stop to the incursion, even though the paramilitary
presence in the region was well-known to the civilian, military, and police
authorities of Ituango. The
paramilitary presence was reportedly denounced on repeated occasions, among
others, by the parish priest of the Catholic church in the district of Santa
Rita, who had to flee the region due to threats, and by attorney Jesús María
Valle Jaramillo, who was assassinated shortly thereafter.
They state that the paramilitary presence in the area was addressed
in the course of the sessions of the Security Committees, which took place
in Ituango in May and June 1996, and that therefore the authorities entrusted
with maintaining public order were aware of the situation and even stated
that they were prepared to address the problem.
They add that the investigations of the Office of the Public Prosecutor
confirm that the local and departmental authorities were informed on a timely
basis of the presence and purpose of the paramilitary forces in Ituango.
Second, they note that in that context, and despite that commitment,
a series of grave omissions occurred, including the absence of the authorities
at the checkpoints that the Police and Army maintain at the entrances and
exits of the highways leading to the municipal seat.
The state presence had been suspended, with no explanation, from
June 9 to 11, 1996, and resumed only after the massacre; and the checkpoints
were crossed freely and in the full light of day by 20 men who were visibly
armed with F15 rifles.
The petitioners allege that the omissions by the public forces made
it possible for a string of armed incursions to occur that resulted in numerous,
brutal extrajudicial executions of persons using chain saws, with their
remains cast into the Cauca river.
In addition, the Autodefensas de Colombia convoked the mayor and municipal ombudsman
(personero) of Ituango, and a
number of ranchers and merchants, to a meeting on the situation in the municipality,
yet the authorities took no action.
As a result of the facts alleged, the petitioners have called on
the Commission to declare the State responsible for violations of Articles
4(1) (right to life), 5 (right to humane treatment), 7 (right to personal
liberty), 17 (obligation to protect the family), and 1(1) of the American
Convention on Human Rights.
As regards compliance with the admissibility requirement of prior
exhaustion of domestic remedies, provided for at Article 46(1) of the American
Convention, the petitioners allege that the exception provided for at Article
46(2)(c) applies to this case.
In their initial arguments, they indicated that the Office of the
Public Prosecutor opened preliminary investigations 582 and 641 in the Departmental
Office of the Prosecutor of Ituango, after questionable official acts of
removing the corpses, and that related investigations were under way in
the Office of the Regional Prosecutor of Medellín (Fiscalía Regional,
now Fiscalía Especializada), and the National Human Rights Unit.
On that occasion, they argued that despite the time elapsed since
the date of the massacre--almost three years--the case was still in the
preliminary investigative stage. Accordingly,
they argued that there was an warranted delay in the domestic remedies,
as referred to in Article 46 of the American Convention.
Later, they alleged that the States arguments that the case
is inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies (see position of
the State, infra) find no support
in the general principles of international human rights law.
They recalled that the Inter-American Court has noted that it is
not sufficient for domestic remedies to exist formally, but that they must
also be effective in producing the result for which they were designed.
In this regard, they indicated during the hearing held March 1, 1999,
that in some cases members of the Jaramillo Correa family, who had given
testimony to the Office of the Prosecutor, were forced to leave Colombia
to protect their lives. They also argued that attorney and human rights defender Jesús
María Valle was assassinated on February 27, 1998, because of the legal
counsel he had provided to some family members of the victims in this case.
Later, they alleged that the issuance of a series of arrest warrants
(see arguments of the State, infra)
after a preliminary investigative phase that lasted three years, despite
the clarity of the evidence, resulted in three prosecutors who had been
investigating the paramilitary groups in Ituango and their ties to the National
Army having to leave the country in September 1999 for their personal safety.
They emphasized that these arrest warrants for paramilitary chiefs
and members of the Army and Police had not yet been carried out. In
support of this argument, the petitioners point to the testimony of one
of the prosecutors, who currently resides in Switzerland as a refugee, delivered
on March 2, 2000 during hearing, during the 106th regular session of the
The petitioners also called the Commissions attention to the
assassination of Margarita María Pulgarín Trujillo, on April 3, 2000.
She had worked as Prosecutor Delegate before the Specialized Criminal
Courts of Medellín and Antioquia, and was part of the Anti-Paramilitary
Unit of the Office of the Regional Prosecutor (Fiscalía Regional),
and, according to the petitioners version, worked alongside the prosecutors
who had to go into exile in connection with their investigation into the
paramilitary groups in Ituango. At
the time of her death she was investigating the activities of these groups.
With respect to progress in the investigation after the issuance
of the arrest warrants, the petitioners argued that the State had not adopted
the measures necessary to make them effective.
In this regard, they made reference to the official silence with
respect to the enforcement of the arrest warrant issued for AUC chief Carlos
Castaño, who has been formally accused in the investigation, even though
his place of residence appears to be a matter of public knowledge.
In addition, they noted that the State had not carried out the arrest
warrant issued against an officer of its own National Police, also accused
in the investigation.
From their point of view, the remedies available in the domestic
jurisdiction to clarify the case are incapable of attaining the objectives
for which they were designed, and for the purposes of admissibility, they
are a mere formality without any meaning.
The Position of the State
In its response to the initial petition, the State noted that the
Human Rights Unit of the Office of the Public Prosecutor was undertaking
an investigation into the violent events at Ituango, and that therefore,
in no way can one claim exhaustion of domestic remedies, as provided
for in Article 46(1) of the American Convention.
With respect to the merits, it noted that the authorities had determined
of armed groups operating outside the law that have claimed to be directly
responsible for the violent deaths in that municipality....
can in no way infer that there are State agents involved, by act or omission,
in such atrocious acts, thus the statements by the claimant seeking to implicate
members of the Police and Army in this case are no more than mere speculation,
with no evidentiary basis whatsoever.
it requested that the Commission refrain from continuing to process this
During the hearing held March 1, 1999, the State answered the arguments
of the petitioners regarding the application of the exception to the prior
exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement in Article 46(2)(c) of the American
Convention. The State alleged
that the delay of almost three years in completing the preliminary investigation
was justified in light of the parameters established by the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights in the Genie
Lacayo case, given the complexity of the matter and the scant cooperation
of the victims.
Later, the State reported on the issuance of arrest warrants for
a series of persons implicated as a result of the investigation, among them,
paramilitary chiefs and state agents.
Concretely, it indicated that
prosecutor in the case issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Castaño Gil,
for forming private justice groups as promoter of a criminal enterprise
to carry out aggravated homicide for terrorist purposes; Hernando de Jesús
Alvarez Gómez and Manuel Remigio Fonnegra Piedrahita for forming private
justice groups and aggravated homicide for terrorist purposes; Second Lieutenant
José Vicente Castro (commander of the police sub-station in Ituango) and
Lieutenant Jorge Alexander Sánchez Castro (commander of the military base
in the area) as perpetrators of the crime of forming private justice groups
and aggravated homicide.
State admitted, however, that the competent authorities had yet to execute
all the arrest warrants, but indicated that the fact that no one had yet
been found guilty as a result of the investigation was not for lack of commitment
on its part.
The State added that the grave public order situation
in the zone hindered the investigative activity, and noted that
obstacles implied that the criminal proceeding, in its initial stages, was
sufficiently complex, and that, to ensure it would have the proper security
conditions, it was remitted to the National Human Rights Unit of the Office
of the Public Prosecutor, in Santafé de Bogotá, in which there have been
undeniable advances in clarifying the facts, reflecting the seriousness
with which the State has assumed the investigation and punishment of the
acts in question.
The State reiterated that the complexity of the investigation fit
within the criteria identified by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
as determining factors of reasonableness in the length of a domestic judicial
proceeding. It alleged that in this case there was no unwarranted delay
on the basis of which one could invoke the exception set forth at Article
46(2)(c) of the American Convention.
The State also alleged, as on other occasions, that the exhaustion
of domestic remedies turns not only on the determination of criminal liability
of the individuals who perpetrated the acts alleged, but that in addition
the petitioners must exhaust the disciplinary and contentious-administrative
remedies available under domestic law, as all of them, together, are
aimed at clarifying the facts and ensuring justice is done ... in keeping
with their distinct nature.
ANALYSIS ON COMPETENCE AND ADMISSIBILITY
The Commission is competent prima
facie to examine the petition in question.
The facts alleged in the petition affected natural persons who were
under the jurisdiction of the State when the obligation to respect and ensure
the rights established in the Convention was already in force for the State. The
Commission proceeds, then, to analyze whether this case meets the requirements
established in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
Exhaustion of domestic remedies and time period for submitting the
The State alleges that the petitioners claim should be declared
inadmissible for failure to meet the requirement of prior exhaustion of
domestic remedies set forth at Article 46(1) of the American Convention.
The State considers that the notion of domestic remedy encompasses
not only the criminal investigation into the facts alleged, but also the
disciplinary and contentious-administrative remedies available under domestic
law, which must be exhausted as well
before it can be considered that the Commissions jurisdiction
has been triggered.
The petitioners, for their part, allege that the investigation has
gone on far too long, and that the events that led to the exile of some
of the witnesses and prosecutors involved in the investigation and issuance
of arrest warrants, as well as the assassination of prosecutor Pulgarín
and attorney Jesús María Valle, together with the failure to execute those
warrants, prove that the available remedies do not constitute an effective
means for the prosecution and punishment of the persons responsible for
the grave violations of the American Convention alleged to have been committed
in this case. They request,
therefore, that the case be declared admissible under Article 46(2)(c) of
the American Convention.
First, a clarification is in order as to what remedies must be exhausted
in this case. The Inter-American Court has indicated that only remedies adequate
to cure the violations alleged must be exhausted.
Adequate domestic remedies
those which are suitable to address an infringement of a legal right.
A number of remedies exist in the legal system of every country,
but not all are applicable in every circumstance.
If a remedy is not adequate in a specific case, it obviously need
not be exhausted. A norm is
meant to have an effect and should not be interpreted in such a way as to
negate its effect or lead to a result that is manifestly absurd or unreasonable.
case-law of the Commission recognizes that whenever a crime is committed
that can be prosecuted on the States own initiative, the State has
the obligation to promote and give impetus to the criminal process to its
final consequences and that, in those cases, this process is the
suitable means for clarifying the facts, prosecuting the persons responsible,
and establishing the corresponding criminal sanctions, in addition to making
possible means of reparation other than monetary compensation.
The Commission considers that the facts alleged by the petitioners
in this case involve the alleged violation of non-derogable fundamental
rights, such as the rights to life and humane treatment, which under domestic
law are offenses that can be prosecuted by the State on its own initiative,
and that therefore it is this process, pushed forward by the State, that
should be considered for the purposes of determining the admissibility of
The State considers that the disciplinary and contentious-administrative
remedies available under domestic law must also be exhausted before the
Commission should invoke its jurisdiction.
Nonetheless, the IACHR has established, in similar cases, that disciplinary
proceedings do not meet the obligations established by the Convention in
the area of judicial protection, since they are not an effective and sufficient
means for prosecuting, punishing, and making reparation for the consequences
of the extrajudicial execution of persons protected by the Convention.
Therefore, in the context of this case, the disciplinary measures
cannot be considered remedies that must be exhausted under Article 46(1).
As regards exhaustion of the contentious-administrative jurisdiction,
the Commission has already indicated that this type of proceeding is exclusively
a mechanism for supervising the administrative activity of the State aimed
at obtaining compensation for damages caused by the abuse of authority. In
general, this process is not an adequate mechanism, on its own, to make
reparation for human rights violations; consequently, it is not necessary
for it to be exhausted when, as in this case, there is another means for
securing both reparation for the harm done and the prosecution and punishment
As regards the exception to the requirement of prior exhaustion of
domestic remedies invoked by the petitioners, Article 46(2) of the Convention
provides that this requirement does not apply when:
the domestic legislation of the state concerned does not afford due
process of law for the protection of the right or rights that have allegedly
the party alleging violation of his rights has been denied access
to the remedies under domestic law or has been prevented from exhausting
there has been unwarranted delay in rendering a final judgment under
the aforementioned remedies.
In their initial communication, the petitioners invoked the application
of the exception regarding unwarranted delay in justice, based on the duration
of the preliminary investigative stage in the proceeding opened into the
facts that are the subject matter of this case, which extended over more
than three years. The State, for its part, alleged that the length of the preliminary
stage was reasonable in light of the complexity of the investigation and
the context in which it unfolded.
As appears from the information provided by both parties, the preliminary
investigation culminated with the issuance of arrest warrants for a number
of persons, including known leaders of paramilitary groups and state agents.
Nonetheless, as petitioners have indicated and as the State has acknowledged,
most of the arrest warrants have not been executed more than four years
after the grave facts alleged occurred, which is evidence of delay.
As a general rule, a criminal investigation should be carried out
to protect the interests of the victims, preserve the evidence, and even
safeguard the rights of all persons who may be considered suspects in the
context of the investigation. As
the Inter-American Court has indicated, while all criminal investigations
must meet a series of legal requirements, the rule of prior exhaustion of
domestic remedies should not lead international action on behalf of victims
to come to a halt or to be drawn out to the point of being rendered ineffective.
In addition is the context of violence and intimidation in which
the investigation unfolded which, presumably, had a negative effect on the
investigations effectiveness as a remedy for the judicial clarification
of the facts. The threats to
the victims surviving family members and to the prosecutors in charge
of the investigation, which forced them into exile, demonstrate that the
judicial investigation is unlikely to provide an effective remedy that petitioners
are required to exhaust prior to resorting to the international protection
for human rights.
Therefore, given the characteristics and context of this case, the
Commission considers that the exception at Article 46(2)(c) of the American
Convention applies, in addition to certain considerations with respect to
the effectiveness of available remedies.
Thus, the requirements set forth in the American Convention with
respect to exhaustion of domestic remedies, and consequently the six-month
rule for submission of the petition, are not applicable.
It only remains to note that invoking the exceptions to the prior
exhaustion rule provided for in Article 46(2) of the Convention is closely
bound up with the determination of possible violations of certain rights
set forth therein, such as the guarantees of access to justice.
Nonetheless, Article 46(2), by its nature and purpose, has an autonomous
content vis-a-vis the substantive
provisions of the Convention. Therefore,
the determination as to whether the exceptions to the prior exhaustion rule
provided for in sections (a), (b), and (c) of that provision are applicable
to the case in question must be done prior to and separate from the analysis
on the merits, since it turns on a different standard of appreciation than
that used to determine the violation of Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention.
It should be noted that the causes and effects that impeded the exhaustion
of domestic remedies will be analyzed in the Report adopted by the IACHR
on the merits in order to determine whether there have been violations of
the American Convention.
Duplication of procedures and res
It does not appear from the record that the subject matter of the
petition is pending before any other international procedure for settlement,
nor that it reproduces a petition already examined by this or any other
international body. Therefore, the requirements set forth at Articles 46(1)(c)
and 47(d) of the Convention have been met.
Characterization of the facts alleged
The Commission considers that the petitioners arguments regarding
the alleged violations of the rights to life, humane treatment, and personal
liberty, and the delay in the investigation and failure to effectively prosecute
and punish the persons responsible tend to establish a violation of the
rights guaranteed at Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, and 25, in conjunction with Article
1(1), of the American Convention.
As these aspects of the claim are not clearly without foundation
or out of order, the Commission considers the requirements established at
Articles 47(b) and (c) of the Convention to have been met.
With respect to the alleged violation of Article 17 of the Convention,
which establishes, inter alia, that The family is the natural and fundamental group
unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state,
the Commission finds that this allegation has not been given specific foundation
by petitioners. In any event,
the effects that the facts alleged may have had on the family of the alleged
victims, in particular the Correa family, appear to derive from the alleged
violations of Articles 4 and 5 of the Convention, and will be analyzed by
the Commission in that context.
The Commission concludes that it is competent to examine the claims
submitted by the petitioners on the alleged violation of Articles 4, 5,
7, 8, and 25, in conjunction with Article 1(1) of the American Convention,
and that these claims are admissible under the requirements set forth at
Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention.
Based on the arguments of fact and law set forth above, and without
prejudging on the merits,
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To declare this case admissible with respect to Articles 4, 5, 7,
8, and 25 of the American Convention.
To give notice of this decision to the Colombian State and to the
To continue to analyze the merits.
To publish this decision and include it in its Annual Report to the
OAS General Assembly.
Done and signed at the IACHR headquarters in the city of Washington, D.C., October 2, 2000. (Signed:) Hélio Bicudo, Chairman; Claudio Grossman, First Vice-Chairman; Juan Méndez, Second Vice-Chairman; Marta Altolaguirre, Robert K. Goldman, Peter Laurie and Julio Prado Vallejo Commissioners.
The petitioners allege that the Ituango region includes the military
presence of the Fourth Brigade, based in Medellín, in the form of Mobile
Counter-guerrilla Units of the Granaderos and Girardot Battalions.
The Counter-guerrilla Units of the 14th Brigade, based in Puerto
Berrío, also maintained a presence at times.
The urban center of Ituango has a police station with approximately
The petitioners note that Jesús María Valle Jaramillo made a sworn statement
to the Office of the Public Prosecutor in which he stated that the
Commander of the Fourth Brigade, General Manosalva, the secretary of
government for Antioquia, and the Governor of Antioquia, Mr. Alvaro
Uribe Vélez, were all advised personally in timely fashion.
In the presence of Messrs. José Gabriel Restrepo and the Human
Rights Ombudsman for Antioquia, I asked the Governor to protect the
population in my municipality ... and I, who personally sent a petition
to the Governor of Antioquia, have not received any response.
Communication from the petitioners, March 2, 2000.
Procuraduría Departamental de Antioquia, Permanent Office for the Defense
and Promotion of Human Rights, Case 144, Evaluative Report 139, October
Communication from petitioners, March 19, 1999.
Communication from petitioners, March 2, 2000.
Hearing of October 1, 1999, and communication from petitioners of April
Id. During the hearing
held October 1, 1999, the petitioners note that for practical purposes
the only ones of the accused who were in preventive detention were the
Angulo Osorio brothers, who had been arrested for another crime: the
murder of Jesús María Valle.
Communication from petitioners, April 24, 2000.
Note from the General Bureau for Special Matters of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, December 30, 1998.
Note EE 1098 of the General Bureau for Special Matters of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, June 6, 2000.
Colombia ratified the American Convention on Human Rights on July 31,
I/A Court HR, Case of Velásquez
Rodríguez, Judgment of July 29, 1988, para. 64.
Report N° 52/97, Case 11.218,
Arges Sequeira Mangas, Annual Report of the IACHR 1997, paras. 96
and 97. See also Report
N° 55/97, para. 392.
Report No. 15/95, Annual Report of the IACHR 1995, para. 71; Report
No. 61/99, Annual Report of the IACHR 1999, para. 51.
Report Nº 5/98, Case 11.019, Alvaro Moreno Moreno, Annual Report of
the IACHR 1997, para. 63.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of Velásquez Rodríguez, Preliminary
Objections, Judgment of June 26, 1987, para. 93.
See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of Suárez Rosero, Judgment
of November 17, 1997, para. 102, where the Inter-American Court stated
that the effects the violations of Article 5(2) and 7(6) could have
had on the family life of the victim must be analyzed in the context
of reparations for the violations in question, and not as a violation
of Article 17.