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COLOMBIA
CASE N° CO/121 - PIEDAD CÓRDOBA
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 Ms. Piedad Córdoba 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 Ms. Córdoba was kidnapped on 21 May 1999 by the "Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia" (AUC) and held by them until 4 June 1999; upon her release, she had to go into exile owing to death threats, reportedly also made by the AUC; she returned to Colombia and has since been the target of attempts on her life, in December 2002 and in January 2003,

Recalling that an investigation was instituted into the kidnapping; the preventive detention of AUC leader Carlos Castaño Gil was ordered, and the investigation against him was closed pending the court's determination of whether the case against him could proceed to the trial stage; another person, Iván Roberto Duque Gaviria, was declared guilty in absentia,

Recalling that, at the time of the Secretary General's on-site mission to Bogotá (31 March and 1 April 2003), a new plan to kill Ms. Córdoba was revealed; recalling also that Ms. Córdoba has reportedly been receiving death threats,

Taking account of the letters of 16 October 2003 and 5 January 2004 from the Director of the Presidential Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Programme, including details of the elaborate security arrangements in place for Ms. Córdoba in Bogotá and Medellín; noting that a review has taken place of these arrangement after the latest attempt on Ms. Córdoba's life, as a result of which the vehicle assigned to her has been replaced and two more detectives have been assigned to her; moreover, a regular consultation process has been set up with a view to monitoring and evaluating the implementation of security measures,

Considering that the Attorney Generalís Office, in its report of 6 October 2003, reported that the investigation into the attempt on Ms. Córdoba's life of 20 January 2003 was at the evidence-taking stage and that four persons already in detention were implicated; on 18 September 2003, a preliminary investigation found them to be involved in this crime; the matter was pending the courtís determination of whether it could proceed to trial on the basis of the legal merits,

Considering also that, according to the Prosecutor Generalís report of 16 April 2004, the disciplinary investigation against the Director of the Security Department (DAS) was shelved; the Director had declared that the incident of 20 January 2003 was an attempted car theft and not an attempt on Ms. Córdobaís life; it also stated that the Antioquía authorities refused the request for a bullet-proof car for Ms. Córdoba when travelling in that Department on the ground that no such vehicle was available,

Recalling 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 a 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. Wishes to ascertain whether the case of the attempt on Ms. Córdoba's life perpetrated in January 2003 has meanwhile passed on to the trial stage; also wishes to ascertain whether the court has meanwhile determined whether the case against Carlos Castaño for Ms. Córdoba's kidnapping in May 1999 could pass on to the trial stage;

  3. 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 entail impunity for Carlos Castaño, sought for the kidnapping of Ms. Córdoba;

  4. 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;

  5. 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;

  6. Reaffirms that any legislation to fight impunity is bound to fail if no concrete action is taken to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to trial; urges the competent authorities to implement the preventive detention order for Carlos Castaño;

  7. Reaffirms further that it is in the interest of Parliament to ensure that its members can fulfil their parliamentary mandate freely without intimidation; and calls on Congress to monitor the investigations in this case and the need for any additional protection measures for Ms. Córdoba;

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

  9. Requests the Committee 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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