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Caballero Delgado and Santana Case, Letter from the State of Colombia of October 27, 1997, concerning compliance with the Judgment of the Court, reprinted in 1997 Annual Report of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [247], OEA/Ser.L/V/III.39, doc. 5 (1998).




Santafé de Bogotá, October 27, 1997


I have the honor to address you in my capacity of agent of the Government of Colombia with reference to Note CDH-10.319/588 of September 25, 1997, concerning compliance with the judgment in the CABALLERO DELGADO AND SANTANA case.

In this regard, may I inform you of the following:

1.             In connection with the document "showing that the indemnity" awarded to Ms. Parra through Order 07467 "has been received by Mr. María Nodelia Parra", please find attached a copy of the communication which I sent on July 18 last to Dr. Tatiana Rincón-Covelli, Mrs. Parra's representative, and of the check deposited on July 9, 1997, with the Ministry of National Defense.  The fact that the indemnity has not in actually been collected by Mrs. Parra or her legal representatives has nothing whatsoever to do with the State's compliance and it is not the duty of the authorities to oblige her to withdraw the payment ordered by the Honorable Court, inasmuch as she has full access to it by simply going to the place from which she is to withdraw it.

2.             With reference to the progress made in determining the identity of María del Carmen Santana or her relatives, the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Nation has indicated that:

                "a)           Cristóbal Anaya-González, her presumed permanent companion, declared that she was a native of La Jagua de Ibirico, the daughter of Vitelma Ortiz and had two sisters answering to the names of Olga and Yubis, whose place of residence is unknown.

                b)            Harubys Mauricio Rivera declared that he was acquainted with María del Carmen Santana and had had dealings with her in connection with training activities run by the activist personnel of M‑19; he had heard that she was from Becerril (Cesar).

His Excellency

Hernán Salgado Pesantes

President of the Inter-American

Court of Human Rights

San Jose, Costa Rica

                c)             The couple Carlos Ramón González-Merchán and América Millares said that they had met María del Carmen at the Bucaramanga Teachers' Union, which she frequented in the company of Isidro Caballero; Ms. Millares aid that the last time she saw her was in January 1989.

  d) Under the direction of the Delegate Prosecutor, progress has been made with the following activities designed to corroborate the foregoing information: recourse has been had to investigators from the Technical Investigators' Corps (CTU), to jurisdictional authorities of the localities, to the Registrar's Office, to the Police Inspection Units, the Parishes, the Secretariat for Education of the Department of Santander; a summons to Vitelma Ortiz has been broadcast on the local radio station and a notice posted at the Mayor's Office for the same purpose. However, no progress has been made and in conclusion: the identity of María del Carmen Santana has still not been established" (bold in the original communication from the Office of the Prosecutor).

                This being the case, may I once more request the cooperation of the petitioners, who represented Ms. Santana throughout the process and also sought the indemnity on her behalf, since the State's efforts have been exhausted -information from the National Registrars' Office of the Civil State, approaches to the Office for the Defense of the People and corresponding approaches by the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Nation-, and there has so far been no information that has led to verification of her identity, a vital element if we are to determine the beneficiaries and the pertinent indemnity. We are unaware of the steps taken by Ms. Santana's representatives and it would be extremely useful for the process if we could determine what knowledge they have on the subject.

3.             With regard to the obligation to continue the efforts to locate the remains of the victims, the Human Rights Prosecution Unit, where criminal investigations are carried out, has indicated that it inspected three different sites where they are alleged to have been buried, according to statement and sketch by the witness Gonzalo Arias-Alturo, who was present at the inspection carried out on December 1, 1995. He was not present at the other two inspections carried out on November 3, 1995, and May 4, 1996. The result was negative, despite the enormous efforts and resources deployed, those inspections having been painstakingly planned and coordinated.

4.             Concerning the status of the criminal investigations, the Higher Judiciary Council, through judgment of May 8, 1997, settled the dispute provoked by the military criminal jurisdiction, declaring that jurisdiction competence to conduct the investigation against retired Major-General Alfonso Vacca-Perilla, and that of the National Human Rights Prosecutors Unit to investigate "Major Pinzón, Captain Héctor Alirio Forero-Quintero, Jorge Enrique García-García, Lance-Corporal Norberto Baez-Baez, First Corporal Romero-Dumar, Lance-Corporal Jimy Cortés-García, Laureano León-Peña, and professional soldier Gonzalo Arias-Alturo." In consequence, the unity of the trial process was broken, in fulfillment of the order of the Upper Council.

  In the charges brought by the Human Rights Unit, Mayor Pinzón's involvement is still pending -having still not been clearly identified-, and that of Captain Hectór Alirio Forero-Quintero and Lance-Corporal Norberto Baez-Baez. The others were heard in unsworn statements and their juridical situation determined, without any guarantees having been imposed on them, save that of preventive detention on Gonzalo Arias-Alturo, although it has not been effected to date inasmuch as he is currently serving a prison sentence for the crime of kidnapping passed by a Regional Court in Cúcuta.

                The investigation continues. The last order dates from October 14 last.

5.             Lastly, as regards the establishment of trust funds for the minor children and the payment of interest due since July 31 last, may I inform you that the Ministry of National Defense was obliged, pursuant to the domestic laws in force, to seek authorization from the Minister of Finance to enable it to sign contracts that will have future force. Accordingly, by mid-December 1997, the trust funds for the capital plus the interest generated up to the date on which it is effectively established will be set up, in compliance with the order of the Honorable Court.

Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest and most distinguished esteem.



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