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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 180th session
(Nusa Dua, Bali, 4 May 2007)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Senator Hernán Motta Motta of Colombia, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/180/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 179th session (October 2006),

Taking account of the communications from the Prosecutor General's Office dated 27 March 2007 and 30 October and 28 December 2006, and from the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office dated 15 January 2007; taking account also of the information provided by one of the sources on 15 January 2007,

Recalling that Mr. Motta, a member of the Unión Patriótica (Patriotic Union) party, was on a hit list drawn up by the paramilitary group led by Mr. Carlos Castaño Gil, that Mr. Motta received death threats which forced him into exile in October 1997, and that the investigations were discontinued in mid-2001 without yielding any result; considering that Mr. Castaño disappeared in mid-April 2004 and that his remains have since been found in a shallow grave in the department of Córdoba,

Recalling the following: pursuant to a petition lodged in March 1997 pertaining to the persecution of the Unión Patriótica and the crimes committed against its members, including the parliamentarians concerned, an amicable settlement procedure has been pursued since 1999 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with the express support of the authorities; several working groups set up to examine human rights violations perpetrated against members of the party have produced no tangible results,

Considering in this regard the following: (i) while the Prosecutor General (Procurador General) through Resolution 335 of 9 November 2001 set up a Special Commission to deal with the Unión Patriótica case, and while this Commission initiated 144 disciplinary investigations for the period 1985-2001, five of which resulted in trial proceedings, the other authorities have apparently from the outset demonstrated a lack of political will effectively to address the concerns of the case, as shown by their refusal to set up a group of attorneys general to ensure proper follow-up in criminal matters; (ii) the frequency with which members and survivors of the Unión Patriótica have been assassinated, attacked and harassed has remained extremely high throughout the procedure; (iii) one of the advertisements in the President's 2006 re-election campaign showed a former member of the Unión Patriótica justifying the killing of members of the party and calling for a continued fight against them, which prompted the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Colombian Constitutional Court to ask for a rectification and for apologies to be made to the persons concerned; it would seem, however, that no such action has been taken by the authorities; considering also in this regard the Prosecutor General's written appeal of 4 July 2006 to the President of Colombia asking him to do everything in his power to ensure that the amicable settlement procedure does not break down,

Considering that, in the light of the above, the petitioners no longer wished to pursue the amicable settlement procedure and requested the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to examine the merits of their case, and that a first hearing was scheduled for February 2007,

Noting that, in her March 2007 report on the human rights situation in Colombia (A/HRC/4/48), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states that "substantial efforts are still needed to overcome impunity" and that she "strongly hopes that the implementation of the policy of combating impunity will lead to concrete results in the investigation and punishment of human rights violations",

  1. Thanks the Prosecutor General and the Attorney General for the extensive information provided;

  2. Reiterates that it is the fundamental duty of any State to protect the lives of its citizens and that this obligation also stems from the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and other human rights treaties to which Colombia is a party;

  3. Reaffirms that the pending proceedings in the Unión Patriótica case before the Inter-American Commission do not release the Colombian authorities from their obligation to make a determined effort to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses to account and to provide victims and their families with reparation; urges the authorities to do so without further delay;

  4. Stresses that, by effectively fulfilling its oversight role, the Colombian Congress can help to ensure that such a determined effort is indeed made; deplores in this respectthe prolonged absence of information on any action taken by the Congress in this case, and fears that this may denote a lack of interest on its part to see that justice is done in this case; urges it therefore to do everything in its power to help ensure that Colombia's human rights obligations are complied with fully and rapidly;

  5. Sincerely hopes that, since more than ten years have elapsed since the original petition was lodged with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Unión Patriótica case is dealt with as a matter of priority so that a ruling on the merits can be announced as early as possible; would greatly appreciate being kept informed of the proceedings;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to inform the competent authorities and the source of this resolution;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 117th Assembly (October 2007).
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