Cases of extrajudicial killings taken on by CJL

The Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL) represents the relatives of the victims of approximately 60 cases of extrajudicial executions involving members of the Security Forces, most of which took place in Eastern Antioquia.[1] According to CJL, “in Antioquia during the period 2002 – 2010 there were 1050 recorded cases of extrajudicial executions. Most of them remain in impunity”.[2]

Through its tireless work, CJL has succeeded in demonstrating the existence of “a directive emitted by commanders and followed by all echelons of this Battalion (Engineers’ Battalion No.5 ‘General Pedro Nel Ospina’ of the 4thBrigade)”[3] to present murdered civilians as guerrillas killed in combat.

The National Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Unit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office has accused those responsible of murder of a protected person, enforced disappearance, aggravated kidnapping, carrying illegal weapons and conspiracy to commit crime.[4]


Stories from the field: Where dreams lie


CJL has also presented some extrajudicial execution cases to the Inter-American Human Rights System.[5]

According to Human Rights Watch, in 2015, hundreds of cases of extrajudicial executions remained in the military justice system. This is an impediment to justice and conducive to impunity in these cases.[6] In 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in its annual report reiterated that military justice must “abstain from investigating or claiming jurisdiction over cases that may involve human rights or international humanitarian law violations”.[7][

“Throughout the last decade we have been fighting for it to be the ordinary civilian justice system that takes on criminal investigations and not the military justice system. This struggle has taken up a lot of time. Whilst we have succeeded in getting many cases that we represent, which are between seventy and eighty extrajudicial execution cases, moved from the military justice system, many of them remain in the military justice system and some have even been transferred from ordinary justice to the military justice system. The lack of guarantees for the representation of victims in criminal prosecutions, and also for relatives, and for the full exercise of their rights in the Justice and Peace system is another of the serious problems we face in terms of the exercise of legal representation” – Elkin Ramirez, lawyer with CJL.


Footnotes:

Stories from the field: Donde yacen los sueños

[1] PBI Colombia: Interview with Oscar Correa, 9th October 2015
[2] CJL: Falsos Positivos: Historias de Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales, el caso de Amparo Bermúdez, 23rd November 2015; In 2015, according to Human Rights Watch, the Public Prosecutor’s Human Right Unit was investigating more than 3,700 cases of alleged extrajudicial executions committed by State agents between 2002 and 2008. That same year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the number of victims could reach 5,000. Op. cit. HRW 2015, UNHCHR: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Colombia, 23rd January 2015
[3] CJL: Imputan cargos al Batallón Pedro Nel Ospina por ejecuciones extrajudiciales, desaparición forzada y secuestro, 15th May 2015
[4] CJL: Imputan cargos al Batallón Pedro Nel Ospina por ejecuciones extrajudiciales, desaparición forzada y secuestro, 15th May 2015
[5] PBI Colombia: Interview with Elkin Ramírez, June 2012
[6] Human Rights Watch: Evidence of Senior Army Officers’ Responsibility for False Positive Killings, 2015
[7] United Nations: Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 31st January 2012

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