Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 166th session (Amman, 6 May 2000)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case of Senator Hernán Motta Motta of Colombia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/166/16(c)­R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 165th session (October 1999),

Taking account of the information provided by the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic on 10 February and 28 April 2000, and of information provided by one of the sources on 27 April 2000,

Recalling that Hernán Motta Motta, while a member of Parliament, had for some time been receiving death threats, which finally forced him into exile in October 1997; that investigations into the threats were launched in October 1995 and conducted by the Terrorism Unit of the Regional Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Bogotá, but have so far been unavailing,

Considering that the information provided by the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic on 28 April 2000 confirms the information already on file, namely that the investigations are still at the preliminary stage; the Office was furthermore in the process of contacting members of the Unión Patriótica in a quest for new material that might advance the investigations,

Considering that, according to one of the sources, a member of a paramilitary group who used to be close to paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño, a man currently in detention known as “Vladimir”, testified that the “Autodefensas” (national organisation of paramilitary groups) held a meeting in 1993 at which they decided to kill Manuel Cepeda (see case CO/01-CO/08), Aida Abella Esquivel (the Unión Patriótica President who narrowly escaped an attempt on her life in April 1996 and was forced to flee) and Hernán Motta,

Considering in this connection that, according to one of the sources, Carlos Castaño gave an interview in March 2000 on the private TV channel “Caracol” in which he admitted that he personally took decisions on who was to be “executed” by the Autodefensas,

Recalling that the sources and Mr. Motta himself have repeatedly expressed the view that adoption of the statute on the political opposition, provided for under Article 112 of the National Constitution, would bring about greater respect for the rights of the political opposition; and noting in this connection that, as stated in the letter of 28 April 2000 from the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic, the Vice-President contacted the Minister of the Interior seeking information from him in this respect,

Noting that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in March 1997, declared admissible a petition regarding the persecution of the Unión Patriótica political party which alleges, inter alia, that the State of Colombia has tolerated or acquiesced in the persecution of that party through its failure adequately to investigate and sanction the crimes committed against its members and its failure to take other effective measures to prevent these crimes; considering that, according to the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic, as part of the search undertaken in 1999 for an amicable settlement under the auspices of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, agreement has been reached on the establishment of a subcommittee to undertake investigations into presumed human rights violations against activists of that political movement; and that, to facilitate this task, “the Attorney General's Office has established 26 sub-units in as many sectional directorates for the purpose of investigating crimes committed against Unión Patriótica members”,

Noting finally the recommendation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in its Third Report on the Human Rights Situation in Colombia (1999), namely that “The State should take immediate and concrete steps to combat the extremely high level of impunity that exists in all types of criminal cases, and particularly in traditional human rights cases. These steps should necessarily include serious, impartial and effective criminal investigations of those allegedly responsible for committing crimes and the imposition of corresponding legal sanctions”, in addition to the statement made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia in its report to the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights that it is the “Colombian State's obligation to combat impunity” through, inter alia, “the effective punishment of those responsible for human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law”,

  1. Thanks the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic for its cooperation;
  2. Notes with deep regret that the investigation into the death threats that forced Mr. Motta into exile, which has now been under way for almost five years, has been fruitless and failed to move beyond the preliminary investigation stage;
  3. Fears that such a situation indicates a lack of resolve to combat impunity and may constitute a violation of Mr. Motta's right to security and justice, the Colombian State having failed to take appropriate measures to protect him and to identify and bring to justice those making the threats;
  4. Notes, however, that new measures have been taken to investigate crimes against members of the Unión Patriótica, and earnestly hopes that they will yield results;
  5. Awaits with interest the information announced regarding the statute on the political opposition;
  6. Calls on the National Congress to take every measure in its power, both in the legislative field and within its function of overseeing the Executive, to ensure that the appropriate authorities effectively combat impunity and adequately investigate and punish human rights offenders;
  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary and other appropriate authorities;
  8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (October 2000).

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