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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 183rd session
(Geneva, 15 October 2008)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Wilson Borja, an incumbent member of the Colombian Congress and vocal critic of the Colombian Government, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/183/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 182nd session (April 2008),

Taking account of the information provided by the source on 11 August 2008,

Considering the following information on file:

  • Mr. Wilson Borja suffered an attempt on his life on 15 December 2000, after he had received repeated death threats; on 26 August 2005, an indictment was brought against five accused who had not yet been apprehended following the sentencing of four persons to prison terms ranging between 28 and 60 years; one of the convicts, Army Major César Alonso Maldonado Vidales, escaped from the Military Police Battalion 13 detention centre in November 2004, even though he was being guarded by some 30 prison officers, but was captured again on 15 July 2008; two army officers were punished - one for a disciplinary offence leading to his suspension for 80 days and the other to a two-year suspended prison sentence - for their responsibility in the escape; two of the other convicts, former Sergeant Evangelista Basto Bernal and Mr. Regulo Rueda Chávez were reportedly included by the Colombian Government in the list of those enjoying the privileges offered under the Justice and Peace Law, which is applicable exclusively to demobilized members of illegal armed groups, on the grounds that they belonged to the Bloque Centauros of the Autodefensas Unidad de Colombia, even though no such claim had been made by this group itself; given the time already spent in detention, these persons may soon be released; the alleged masterminds of the attack, paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso and Evert Veloza Garcia (alias "HH"), will reportedly stand trial in the United States of America, but only on drug-related charges;

  • There have reportedly been deficiencies on several occasions (starting in May 2006) in Mr. Borja's protection scheme, in particular with respect to his security vehicles, about which he has regularly complained to the Ministry of Interior and Justice without any action being taken; Mr. Borja has therefore felt obliged on several occasions, most recently at the end of March 2008, to stay at home until his security was fully ensured;

  • Following the killing on 1 March 2008 by the Colombian military of high-ranking FARC member Raúl Reyes and the discovery of reportedly compromising material in his computers, on 22 May 2008 the Attorney General requested the Colombian Supreme Court to investigate Mr. Borja, along with others, for his alleged links with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); on 4 July 2008, the Supreme Court opened a preliminary investigation in this respect; the source affirms that the documents found are written by others in which Mr. Borja's name appears, as do those of many others, and described his public activities as a parliamentarian and previously as a labour union leader; the source affirms that the authorities passed the collected information to selected media even though the investigation was ongoing; when Mr. Borja was publicly linked to FARC in a radio interview on 20 February 2007, he lodged a complaint with the Committee on Accusations of the House of Representatives, whose investigation is under way,
Recalling that Mr. Borja has been a strong and persistent advocate for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Colombia,
  1. Is deeply concerned at the reportedly recurring problems in Mr. Borja's security detail; can but consider that the failed attempt on his life shows that his protection has to be taken extremely seriously and that, by not addressing his complaints diligently and swiftly, the authorities are responsible for putting him at great and unnecessary risk; urges the Colombian authorities to ensure, as is their duty, that an effective security arrangement is in place for Mr. Borja at all times; wishes to receive confirmation on this point;

  2. Expresses deep concern about the actual enforcement of prison sentences in the case of the attack on Mr. Borja's life; considers that the escape in suspicious circumstances of the army Major bearing chief responsibility for the crime and the limited action to hold those responsible to account, together with the proposed reduction of sentence for two convicts on highly contested grounds, raise doubts about how sincerely the authorities are seeking to ensure full justice in this case; considers that, as the main convicts were serving or former members of the armed forces, the authorities have an even greater responsibility to ensure that they are indeed serving their sentences, and urges them to take all necessary measures to this end; would greatly appreciate receiving further information in this respect;

  3. Is deeply concerned that the criminal investigation instituted against Mr. Borja is taking place in a climate in which, along with other vocal opponents to the current government, he is publicly discredited and, in disrespect of the presumption of innocence, is labelled a FARC associate before any court of law has ruled on these serious accusations; calls on the authorities to refrain from making such statements and to let justice take it course; trusts that the investigation and proceedings are carried out diligently and independently and that they fully respect Mr. Borja's rights; wishes to be informed of the precise accusations, and the facts underpinning them, against Mr. Borja and the stage reached in the proceedings before the Supreme Court;

  4. Considers that the Congress of Colombia has a special responsibility to ensure that its members can exercise their parliamentary mandate free of any threat or intimidation, and therefore calls upon Congress to do everything in its power to ensure due administration of justice in all proceedings relating to Mr. Borja, and the provision of appropriate security arrangement for him; would greatly appreciate receiving information on any steps taken in this respect, including by the Committee on Accusations of the House of Representatives, on Mr. Borja's complaint;

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

  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 120th Assembly of the IPU (April 2009).
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