Communication 1780 (Colombia)

1780, presented through a communication dated October 14, 1973, denounces, in summary, the following events alleged to have taken place in various parts of the country between 1972 and 1973.

  1. Mistreatment of farmers in the Department of Sucre and the arrest of Esteban Echeverry and Enrique Antonio Atencia, upon orders from the Military Penal Court, without trial;
  2. An attack by police agents in the Department of El Valle, which resulted in a number of wounded, among them Favio Erazo and Cecilio Vergara;
  3. The murder of farmers and destruction of those in the Department of Bo1ivia, by police agents;
  4. 'The murder of Salomón Tuberquía, a farmer in the Department of Antioquía, on February 11, 1973, by members of the Army;
  5. The arrest of other farmers in the Department of Antioquía in February 1973
  6. The death of peasant leader, Rubén Darío Grajalos Ruiz, in the Department of Risaralda
  7. The arrest of farmers who were members of an association, hold for a period of 90 days, without a warrant from a competent judicial authority, but rather through a decision of the Government authorities;
  8. The existence of concentration camps in the northwest region of the country;
  9. The arbitrary arrest of the deputies of a Legislative Assembly in one of the departments of the country
  10. Prolonged detention of a number of individuals being held under the control of the Military Criminal Court awaiting trial and,
  11. Proceedings brought against a number of farmers by the Military Criminal Court.

In accordance with the decision adopted at the thirty-first session (October .1973), in a note dated December 19, 1973, the Commission requested the Government of Colombia to provide the appropriate information, transmitting to it the pertinent parts of the denunciation ( Articles 42 and 44 of the Regulations).That request was repeated on June 3, 1974.

As in the case of the case 1777, the Government of Colombia requested an extension for transmittal of the data requested. Correspondingly, the CIDH granted that Government's request, first an extension of 120 days, and then in response to a request for an additional extension, 60 days, for transmittal of the appropriate information thereby postponing examination of the case.This extension, as in the case of case 1777, was reported to that Government through a note dated November 13, 1974, and to the claimants through a note of the same date.

Subsequent to the thirty-fourth session (October 1974), where the decision referred to in the previous paragraph to postpone examination of the case was taken , the Government of Colombia, through its Mission to the OAS, in a note dated November 18, 1974 (No.1656/, 41), provided information stating that measures were being adopted through the competent specialized institutions aimed at relocating the farmers who were filing claims on lands in the regions referred to in the denunciation; as for the problem that developed in other areas, a commitee had been appointed "composed of officials from the Colombian Institute on Agrarian Reform, whose report would form the basis for the decision on the matter. The information provided by the Government of Colombia adds that to date, the Government had no information on the events that occurred in another of the zones mentioned in the denunciation.

The Commission examined case 1780, and the information provided by the Government of Colombia at its thirty-fifth session (May 1975) and appointed Dr. Justino Jiménez de Aréchaga as rapporteur.

At that same session the rapporteur presented a report (doc. 30-35), which was approved. In accordance with that report, the Commission decided to again address the Government of Colombia in the manner suggested by the rapporteur, to secure from it information on the serious concrete events attributed to the authorities in the denunciation and to inquire as to whether judicial proceedings in connection with these events had been initiated, were under way or had already been concluded. It also decided, in keeping with the suggestion made by the rapporteur, to defer final decision on case 1780 until the thirty-sixth session, in order to await such elements of judgment as the Government of Colombia may provided (sic) on that occasion.

Pursuant to this decision, the Commission addressed the Government of Colombia through a note dated August 12, 1975. The claimants were informed of the decision through a note of the same date.

At the thirty-sixth session (October 1975) the Commission continued its examination of this case, noting that the Government of Colombia had not replied to the note it sent on August 12, 1975.

Having referred the file to the rapporteur for the case, Dr. Justino Jiménez de Aréchaga, the rapporteur presented a draft, on the basis of which the Commission approved a resolution declaring confirmation of the events denounced, recommending to the Government of Colombia that it order a strict investigation in order to determine the government agents or officials responsible, impose upon them the punishment provided for under the law, indemnify victims, and that it keep the CIDH informed of the decisions it adopts in accordance with this resolution (OEA/Ser., L/V/II.36, doc.41, rev.1, of October 23, 1975).

This resolution was brought to the attention of the Government of Colombia through a note of October 24, 1975, and a copy of it was sent to the Colombian Mission to the OAS on October 30, 1975. Through a communication dated October 30, a copy of the resolution in question was transmitted to the claimants.