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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

The Governing 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/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

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 publicly admitted in March 2000, on a private television channel, that he had personally decided who was to be executed by his group,

Recalling also that, on 17 September 2002, the Director of the Presidential Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Programme reported that the Anti-Abduction Unit 242 of the Regional Directorate of Public Prosecutions of Bogotá was conducting preliminary investigations in the case, registered as N° 444247,

Taking account of a communication from the Office of the Prosecutor General, dated 20 April 2004, and of letters of 16 October 2003 and 5 January 2004 from the Presidential Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Programme, forwarding a report from the Attorney Generalís Office dated 6 October 2003, which stated that by order of 23 July 2001 a stay of proceedings had been declared in the case of the death threats against Mr. Motta,

Recalling that, as part of the search for an amicable settlement following the petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning the persecution of the Unión Patriótica, a joint commission was set up to help in the search for the truth and reparation for the victims; considering that, according to the Director of the Presidential Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Programme, regular meetings of the joint commission have taken place about this and that several subcommissions were set up to look into the issues of truth, justice and protection,

Recalling also that, following the Santa Fe de Ralito agreement of 15 July 2003 between the authorities and the paramilitary, a bill on their demobilisation was submitted to the National Congress, the provisions of which have been widely criticised, including by the Prosecutor Generalís Office, for failing to take adequate account of questions of justice and reparation;

Noting that, according to a member of the Colombian delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 110th IPU Assembly (April 2004), the bill will be debated in the Senate in the week of 2630 April 2004 if so agreed in the First Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs of the Senate; meanwhile, negotiations continue between the Government and the paramilitary groups, the latter reportedly insisting on further limitations to possible criminal proceedings against their members,

  1. Thanks the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Director of the Presidential Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Programme for the information provided and for their cooperation;

  2. Notes that a stay of the investigation into the death threats against Mr. Motta was ordered in June 2001; wishes to ascertain whether, in the light of the existing evidence suggesting that Carlos Castaño was behind the threats, resumption of the investigation could be ordered;

  3. Is convinced that the mechanisms set up within the amicable settlement procedure in the Unión Patriótica case provide an additional avenue for addressing Mr. Motta's case; wishes to ascertain whether the procedure also includes the cases of Unión Patriótica members forced into exile;

  4. Is deeply concerned that, in its present form, the draft bill before Congress on the demobilisation of the paramilitary does not ensure the right to truth, justice and reparation of victims of human rights violations and would prevent investigation of the strong leads suggesting that Carlos Castaño was behind the death threats;

  5. Expresses concern that the Congress has so far not been represented in the ongoing negotiations with the paramilitaries, which thereby prevents it from intervening at an early stage in the negotiations and voicing any concerns regarding the underlying spirit of the current bill and the demands of the paramilitary groups for wider impunity provisions;

  6. Considers that Parliament is uniquely positioned to provide the basis for combating impunity, in particular by establishing an effective legal framework for this purpose; strongly urges Congress, in particular its human rights committees, to show the necessary political will to make the bill compatible with Colombiaís national and international human rights obligations, and to monitor the ongoing negotiations to this end;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the source;

  8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004).

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