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COLOMBIA
CASE N° CO/138 - GUSTAVO PETRO URREGO
Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 175th session (Geneva, 1st October 2004)


The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Gustavo Petro Urrego, a member of the Colombian House of Representatives, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/175/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 174th session (April 2004),

Taking account of the information provided by the President of the Colombian Senate on 16 June and 27 September 2004,

Recalling that Mr. Petro has regularly been subjected to death threats by paramilitary groups; in June 2002 he learned that contacts had been made between a senior official of the Attorney General's Office and paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño Gil with a view to having him assassinated, and decided to make this information public as a measure of protection; instead of investigating the allegations, the Attorney General reportedly claimed that his Office was the object of a conspiracy; that, according to the President of the Colombian Senate, the House of Representatives had put a high security rating on Mr. Petro and assigned him an armoured vehicle, and that the investigations into the threats were the sole responsibility of the Attorney General's Office and relevant security bodies,

Recalling also that in 2004 Mr. Petro disclosed a document containing the names and telephone numbers of officers of the Attorney Generalís Office and members of the paramilitary groups, together with possible links between them; he was subsequently accused by the Attorney General, before the Supreme Court, of abuse of authority and of undue disclosure of secrets; that on 22 April 2004 the Supreme Court exonerated Mr. Petro in this matter,

Recalling further that Mr. Petro formally presented to the Committee on Accusations of the Colombian Congress reportedly well-documented accusations against the Attorney General of perjury and criminal offences allegedly committed in the exercise of his functions; considering that, according to the President of the Senate in his communication of 16 June 2004, the Committee was moving the investigations forward,

Noting that Mr. Petro, Ms. Córdoba and a third parliamentarian were reportedly physically attacked on 18 May 2004 and groundlessly detained by the police for a brief period during a peaceful demonstration in Cartagena; the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice reportedly apologised for the incident the same day,

  1. Thanks the President of the Colombian Senate for the information provided; appreciates the protection measures taken by the Congress; and trusts that it will continue to monitor Mr. Petro's security situation in order that appropriate measures may remain in place;

  2. Notes that the Committee on Accusations of the House of Representatives is acting on Mr. Petroís accusations, and would appreciate being kept informed of its work;

  3. Fully understands that it falls within the competence of the Attorney General's Office to carry out independent and effective investigations into the death threats made against Mr. Petro; affirms nevertheless that it is in the interests of Parliament to ensure that its members can fulfil their parliamentary mandate freely and without intimidation;

  4. Calls therefore on the Congress to monitor the investigations in this case and to take effective action to prevent incidents highly detrimental to the political opposition's exercise of freedom of expression and of assembly, such as the recent assault and brief arbitrary arrest of Ms. Córdoba and Mr. Petro;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the source, asking them to provide the requested information;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 112th Assembly (April 2005).

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