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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 184th session
(Addis Ababa, 10 April 2009)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento, a member of the Colombian Congress murdered in August 1989, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/184/12(b)-R.1.),

Considering the following information on file:

  • Mr. Luis Carlos Galán, a member of the Colombian Senate, was a pre-candidate for the Liberal Party in the presidential elections when he was murdered on 18 August 1989 at a political rally in the main square of Soacha municipality, Department of Cundinamarca; according to the source, the primary motive for the murder was to put an end to Senator Galán's fight, as leader of the New Liberalism political movement, against the infiltration of drug trafficking into politics;

  • The source affirms that the perpetrators of the murder, paramilitary members Jorge Eduardo Rueda Rocha and José Everth Rueda Silva, both now deceased, operated thanks to information provided by former Lieutenant Flores from Military Intelligence B2; according to the source, the investigations were for many years at a complete standstill; on 19 August 1999, José Edgar Téllez Cifuentes and Johan Aslec Lozano Rodríguez were found guilty at first instance, which sentence was quashed on appeal by the High Court of Cundinamarca; Lieutenant Flores was acquitted at first instance, but Senator Galán's family, as complainant in the proceedings, filed an appeal against the decision, which is pending before the High Court of Cundinamarca;

  • The source affirms that the crime was masterminded by Mr. Pablo Escobar, Mr. Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and Mr. Alberto Santofimio Botero, a politician from Tolima and member of the political wing of the Medellín cartel; in October 2007, the latter was found guilty and sentenced by a lower court as the co-perpetrator of the murder to a 24-year prison term, owing to the compilation of new evidence by the Attorney General's Office, such as the testimonies of John Jairo Velásquez Vásquez (alias "Popeye"), who is serving a prison term for his direct involvement in Senator Galán's murder, and Mr. Carlos Alberto Oviedo Alfaro; on 22 October 2008, the High Court of Cundinamarca quashed the sentence against Mr. Santofimio, according to the source without giving due consideration to the overwhelming evidence on file and to jurisprudence of the Supreme Court; the Attorney General and Mr. Galán's family, as complainant in the proceedings, filed a cassation petition before the Supreme Court, which is pending;

  • According to the source, recent testimonies collected by the Attorney General's Office, including one by a former judge who worked for the Medellín cartel and by a bodyguard of a person known as "El negro Vladimir", implicate other politicians, all linked to drug trafficking, along with Mr. Miguel Maza Márquez, Police Commissioner and former Director of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), to Senator Galán's murder; according to this information, Mr. Maza had ties with Mr. Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha and the paramilitary groups that were operating under his orders to persecute members of the political party Unión Patriótica; the source affirms that Senator Galán's assassins were hired from those groups, which also infiltrated his security detail; Mr. Maza is also allegedly responsible for having wilfully and falsely steered the investigation towards an innocent person who, as a result, spent three years in detention;

  • The crime of murder is subject in Colombia to a statute of limitation of 20 years, which is why the source insists that everything needs to be done to ensure that the new evidence can be acted on before this term expires,
  1. Is deeply concerned that, almost 20 years after Senator Luis Carlos Galán was murdered, the instigators of this crime have not been held to account; can but consider this failure to be due to the initial unwillingness of the authorities fully to dispense justice in this case, in which the wilful diversion of the course of justice at the beginning of the investigation stands out as particularly grave;

  2. Is alarmed at recent revelations about the alleged responsibility of several politicians and of a former high-profile State agent, which is all the more worrying since the latter was at the time in charge of the department entrusted with Senator Galán's security;

  3. Considers that the fact that the victim was a public figure and that these revelations, if they prove true, shake the very foundations of the rule of law in Colombia should prompt the authorities all the more to do their utmost to ensure that full justice is done in this case; stresses in this respect that they are faced with a final opportunity to do so in this case, which can only succeed if they act with the greatest resolve and urgency;

  4. Makes a forceful plea therefore to the authorities to do everything in their power to make this case an absolute priority in order to prevent ultimate and far-reaching impunity from prevailing; requests the Secretary General to convey its plea to the competent authorities, in particular the Attorney General and the Prosecutor General;

  5. Trusts that the Supreme Court will pronounce on the cassation petition promptly and take due account of all the arguments presented; would appreciate being kept informed in this regard;

  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 121st Assembly of the IPU (October 2009), in the hope that decisive judicial action will by then have been taken.
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