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 Commission’s 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 the petitioner.
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. Correa’s 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
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 family’s money and clothing and destroyed their
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,
we’ll 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. Sepúlveda’s 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
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 State’s 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
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 Commission.
The petitioners also called the Commission’s 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
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
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 Commission’s 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
case-law of the Commission recognizes that whenever a crime is committed
that can be prosecuted on the State’s 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 claim.
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
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 been violated;
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
In addition is the context of violence and intimidation in which
the investigation unfolded which, presumably, had a negative effect on the
investigation’s 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
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 20 agents.
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 22, 1996.
Communication from petitioners, March 19, 1999.
Communication from petitioners, March 2, 2000.
Hearing of October 1, 1999, and communication from petitioners of
April 24, 2000.
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.