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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Gustavo Petro Urrego, a member of the Colombian House of Representatives, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Recalling the following information on file:

  • Mr. Petro regularly received death threats from paramilitary groups. In June 2002 he learned that contacts had been made between a senior official of the Attorney General's Office and the then paramilitary leader Mr. Carlos Castaño with a view to having him assassinated;

  • In April 2004, the Attorney General reported that three disciplinary investigations were under way regarding the complaints lodged by Mr. Petro, two of which, conducted by the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office and by the National Directorate of Special Investigations, respectively, were at the preliminary stage, while the third, conducted by the Prosecutor for Disciplinary Matters - Human Rights Unit, was at the stage of preliminary investigation of the complaint. In all three investigations, members of Brigade 13 of the army were referred to as possible suspects. In addition, the Attorney General's Office conducted a preliminary investigation into attempts allegedly carried out in collusion with a police officer by paramilitary groups to infiltrate Mr. Petro's security detail in order to plan an assassination;

  • According to the information provided by the authorities in January 2004, elaborate security arrangements have been put in place for Mr. Petro;

  • Mr. Petro formally presented to the Committee on Accusations of the Colombian House of Representatives well-documented accusations against the then Attorney General of perjury and criminal offences allegedly committed in the exercise of his functions. In his letter of 16 June 2004, the then President of the Congress stated that the Committee was moving the investigation forward,
Recalling that two house searches by the Attorney General's Office on 25 August 2004 appeared to reveal the involvement of members of the Colombian army and other state authorities in an operation (Operación Dragón) to collect sensitive information on the movements, activities and habits of specific individuals, including Mr. Petro, all of whom were considered in this material to be supporters of the insurgency by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and that this matter was raised in Congress, but reportedly did not lead to any parliamentary action,

Bearing in mind that, in her report to the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called inter alia on the Congress to promote adequate norms and mechanisms to address the problem of impunity, and furthermore encouraged the Attorney General to ensure that the sub-unit of the human rights and international humanitarian law unit responsible for investigating presumed ties between civil servants and armed groups would concentrate on elucidating links between paramilitary groups and members of law enforcement agencies, civil servants and private individuals,

  1. Deplores that the authorities have so far not seen fit to reply to its concerns regarding the extremely serious revelations of a secret intelligence-gathering operation, in which Mr. Petro was linked to FARC, and of the alleged involvement therein of members of the Colombian army and other State agents;

  2. Recalls that experience has amply shown that in Colombia the presumption of a linkage between political activists and FARC is often used to present the former as counter-insurgency targets, and may seriously jeopardize their safety;

  3. Stresses that the revelations warrant immediate and effective action by the authorities to bring to justice those responsible for setting up and carrying out the operation and to ensure that it is fully dismantled; urges the authorities to take all the necessary action to this end; and would greatly appreciate receiving the latest information in this regard;

  4. Reaffirms its belief that the Congress has a crucial role to play in this regard, particularly as, in addition to the safety of the persons concerned, the work of the opposition as such is at stake; and once again calls upon the Congress to ensure that effective investigations are carried out in this case, that appropriate security arrangements are in place, and that adequate steps are taken to guarantee the opposition's participation in public life, free from any intimidation;

  5. Urges also once again the authorities to take effective steps to identify and bring to justice those guilty of threatening Mr. Petro with death and planning his assassination; and would greatly appreciate being kept informed of progress in this regard, including with respect to the investigation of collusion between paramilitary groups and officers of the Attorney General's Office and the outcome of the disciplinary investigations instituted in this respect;

  6. Deeply regrets the continuing lack of information on the work by the Committee on Accusations with respect to the denunciations made by Mr. Petro about the former Attorney General's behaviour; and fears that this indicates that no progress has been made in examining the accusations, which is all the more worrying given that they raise fundamental questions about the rule of law in Colombia, and that such questions have already been the source of repeated expressions of concern by United Nations bodies;

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

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

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