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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

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/171/12(a)­R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Recalling that Mr. Motta, a member of the Unión Patriótica, had been receiving death threats which forced him into exile in October 1997; his name was reportedly on a hit list drawn up by the paramilitary group led by Carlos Castaño Gil, who admitted publicly in March 2000 on a private television channel that he personally decided who was to be executed by his group,

Recalling also that the former Human Rights Office of the Vice-Presidency of the Republic reported on 28 April 2000 that the investigation into the death threats was being conducted by the Special Prosecutor of Bogotá and was still at the preliminary stage,

Taking account of the communication from the Director of the Presidential Programme on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of 17 September 2002, according to which the Prosecutor's Office, that is the 242 Anti-Abduction Unit of the Regional Directorate of Public Prosecutions of Bogotá, is carrying out preliminary investigations in this case, registered under N° 444247,

Noting the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of 28 February 2002 (E/CN.4/2002/17), which concludes that: "There was a noticeable gap between the Government's tough discourse against the paramilitary groups and both its actions and failure to assess the extent of public servants' ties to these groups" and "the impunity that protects those responsible for paramilitary acts, owing to acts of commission or omission, and the limited effectiveness of the State's mechanisms for combating these groups, in large measure account for their increased strength",

Recalling that the former parliamentary authorities responded positively in January 2002 to the prospect of an on-site mission concerning the cases of Colombian parliamentarians under the Committee's examination, but that a change in the political climate prevented the mission from taking place as scheduled; noting that a new Congress and Government have since been installed,

  1. Thanks the Director of the Presidential Programme on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law for the information provided;

  2. Notes that an investigation into the death threats is still under way; remains nevertheless deeply concerned that, five years after Mr. Motta's exile, any tangible progress towards identifying and punishing the perpetrators has yet to be reported, despite strong leads suggesting Carlos Castaño to be the mastermind;

  3. Recalls that States are under an obligation to make every effort to ensure that human rights violations do not go unpunished and that, in the case of a lack of resolve on the part of the authorities to bring the culprits to justice, they bear indirect responsibility for those crimes;

  4. Urges the authorities, in particular the newly elected Congress, to ensure that their expressed commitment to fighting impunity is matched by effective action, and to keep it informed of any initiatives to that end;

  5. Reiterates its belief that, for want of any real progress in this case, the grounds for the earlier proposed on-site mission to gather information from the competent parliamentary, governmental, administrative and judicial authorities remains fully valid;

  6. Requests the Secretary General therefore to contact the new parliamentary authorities with a view to an on-site mission as early as possible; is confident that the new Congress will likewise respond favourably to this request and will make every effort to ensure that it can go ahead as early as possible;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003) in the light of such information as the mission may have gathered
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