CCAJAR: 2004 – 2016

Among the most severe attacks against CCAJAR between 2004 and 2016, the following are worthy of note:

Threats and acts of aggression

  • 1 February 2012: the daughter of Rafael Barrios, member of the Lawyer’s Collective, was attacked in a taxi.  Barrios represents family members of civilian victims in the Palace of Justice case and the attack coincided with the conviction of Alfonso Plazas Vega for forced disappearance.[1]
  • 27 and 28 February 2012: In the days before the 6 March mobilisation which is held each year for the National and International Days for Victims of State Crimes, members of CCAJAR and other organisations received threatening pamphlets signed by “Los Rastrojos–Urban Command” and “Black Eagles—Capital Chapter.”[2]
  • 4 July 2012: 13 human rights defenders and Colombian politicians were declared military objectives by the “Anti Land-Restitution Army.”  Among the threatened targets were Yessika Hoyos and Soraya Gutierrez of CCAJAR.[3]
  • 13 November 2012:  Email death threat signed by the Capital Block of the Águilas Negras against different human rights defenders and organizations, among them CCAJAR.[4]
  • 1 April 2013: The “Rastrojos” issued a massive threat to various organizations and HRDs, including CCAJAR.[5]
  • 4 February 2014: Death threat via email against CCAJAR and MOVICE and various other political leaders including Ivan Cepeda and Alirio Uribe. In an aggressive manner, the so called urban commandos of the Black Eagles Capital Bloc threatened them with death unless they withdrew from politics.[6]
  • 11 January 2015: Mass threats against human rights defenders in the Caribbean region from the Águilas Negras’ North Bloc of the Atlantic Coast. Among those threatened were members of CCAJAR, FCSPP and MOVICE-Sucre Chapter. Altogether 39 people were declared “military targets” and threatened with death.[7]
  • 6 February 2015: During a hearing for the murder of trade union leader Jorge Frank Darío Hoyos, Soraya Gutiérrez, a lawyer and member of CCAJAR’s board of directors, was threatened by the testifying witness. As a result she had to abandon the case and was replaced by Reinaldo Villalba. He and Yessika Hoyos, daughter of an assassinated trade union leader and also a CCAJAR lawyer, were victims of persecution and harassment inside court buildings.[8]
  • 9 March 2015: Mass threats by means of a pamphlet from the Águilas Negras South Bloc targeting political leaders and organizations such as FCSPP and CCAJAR.[9]

Slander and defamations

  • 2004: Then President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe made declarations at European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg that he regreted the presence “of a lawyer that wanders like a ghost in the halls of the European Parliament who is from the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyer’s Collective and defends the guerrilla.”  Notes from the Lawyer’s Collective Hearing, Case 12.380. José Alvear Restrepo Lawyer’s Collective versus State of Colombia, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 5 November 2009.  DAS & CCAJAR: In 2010 details were published about illegal intelligence operations against trade unionists, journalists, and human rights defenders, implemented by the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), intelligence agency that was dissolved in 2011.  The “Transmilenio Operation” ordered “neutralizing the actions of NGOs in Colombia and in the world” as well as the surveillance of Alirio Uribe’s family.  The “Arauca Operation” was created to “establish ties between CCAJAR and guerrilla organisation ELN.”[10]
  • 2011:  high-ranking members of the Colombian State (including President Juan Manuel Santos[11]) made a series of public declarations in which they minimised the gravity of the Mapiripan (Meta) massacre and attacked the legitimacy of the victims and CCAJAR.  The Mapiripan scandal, as it became known in the press, emerged after Mariela Contreras—recognized as one of the victims by her legal representation, the Prosecutor General’s Office and in the sentence handed down by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights—stated to the press that she had been a victim, but not of Mapiripan.[12]
  • 27 January 2012: Jaime Restrepo Restrepo, a lawyer who is frequently interviewed by the Colombian media as a defender for victims of the guerrilla, accused diverse non-governmental organisations and peasant farmer leaders as being sympathizers or members of the FARC.[13] He spoke with the press in Panama accusing CCAJAR of ties to the FARC.[14]
  • 22 and 23 March 2012: Ex-President Alvaro Uribe wrote in his Twitter account that Luis Guillermo Perez, CCAJAR attorney, was a liar that defended terrorists.[15]
  • 3 July 2012:  In an article published on web page Journalism Without Borders and in the ACORE newsletter, Ricardo Puentes Melo described Alirio Uribe, CCAJAR’s president, as “a very dangerous terrorist criminal and member of the M-19 [19 April Movement, demobilised guerrilla organisation].”[16]
  • 5 June 2013: In an article published on the website of Journalism Without Borders, Ricardo Puentes Melo accuses Alirio Uribe, president of CCAJAR, and members of the organization of being guerrillas, stating, among other things, that “the group and its militia will not rest until we are behind bars or dead.”[17]
  • 23 January 2015: Ex-president and current senator Alvaro Uribe published defamatory remarks on Twitter against CCAJAR RELATED to the DAS wiretapping case:“María del Pilar, other companions and myself have been accused by the Collective, FARC lawyers and extreme leftists,”[18] and“Lawyer’s Collective, at the service of the FARC, tricks international organizations to pressure for María del Pilar Hurtado’s deportation” and “Pressure for deportation by the Collective at the service of the FARC demonstrates the political interests to jail María del Pilar Hurtado.”[19]
  • 28 February 2015: A day after the ex-director of the DAS, María del Pilar Hurtado was convicted, ex-president Álvaro Uribe wrote in Twitter that he would compete with the victims’ representatives in the case of the illegal interceptions, warning that “we will compete internationally / with the FARC lawyers’ collective”, referring to CCAJAR.[20]
  • 4 June 2015: in the session of the Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights Commission of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (EUROLAT), MEPs Luis de Grandes Pascual and Agustin Diaz de Mera made statements about Lawyer Yessika Hoyos (CCAJAR) which insinuated links between CCAJAR and the FARC. The MEPs then proposed to vote to suspend their intervention: 16 deputies voted in favour, three against and two abstained.[21] Yessika Hoyos had been officially invited to participate as the representative of several Colombian human rights platforms, to talk about the peace process in Colombia from civil society’s perspective. It was also worrying how the Colombian ambassador didn’t reject earlier verbal attacks against Yessika Hoyos and CCAJAR.[22]
  • 5 August 2015: defamations on Caracol Television’s program “Séptima Día”, against CCAJAR, accusing the organization of retaining a large part of victim’s compensations in the case of the Caloto or El Nilo massacres, contrary to the information provided to the program’s journalist by CCAJAR.[23]
  • 23 March 2016: defamation of the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) and lawyer Daniel Prado Albaracín by former president Alvaro Uribe, who alleged that Mr Prado, the lawyer for the victims in the case against Santiago Uribe, is a former member of the guerrillas who works for CCAJAR, the organisation which Alvaro Uribe also accuses of embezzling money from false victims in Mapiripán.[24]

Tracking and surveillance

  • 12 February 2015: Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas, lawyer and President CCAJAR, subjected to surveillance by three unknown men while he was meeting in public with victims’ families from the Mapiripán massacre.[25]
  • 17 February 2015: Surveillance, by a man sit at a neighbouring table, of Reinaldo Villalba, lawyer with CCAJAR, while he was meeting in public with victims of an extrajudicial execution case and a journalist from the region. When they took a photo of the man, he approached them and identified himself as a member of Criminal Investigation Unit of the National Police (SIJIN, in Spanish), stating that he had been called by security to investigate suspicious persons, however this was denied by the onsite security.[26]
  • 10 September 2015: tracking and surveillance in Bogotá against the woman in charge of caring for Yessika Hoyos’ (CCAJAR) daughter, by people who inquired about Ms. Hoyos’ schedule and the person responsible her daughter’s care.[27]


  • 11 June 2016: attempts to unlawfully record the personal information of members of the Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) and the Environmental Agrarian and Community Committee, by private security agents from the Canadian multinational company Pacific Exploration and Production Corporation (Pacific E&P), formerly named Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., and the National Police, while they were gathering evidence of alleged contamination by the oil company in the area of Caño Rubiales of Puerto Gaitán (Meta). Later, Pacific E&P company vans followed the members of the Committee and CCAJAR on the public roads that cross the Rubiales oil field, according to reports by these human rights organizations.[28]

[1] The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia (OIDHACO): Recrudecimiento de ataques a Defensores y Defensoras, March 2012
[2] National Movement for Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE): Ccajar y el Movice denuncian ante la comunidad nacional e internacional amenazas en el marco de la movilización de marzo 6 de 2012, 29 February 2012
[3] Observatorio para la protección de los defensores de derechos humanos: Amenazas de muerte en Colombia, 5 July 2012
[4] CIJP: “Persisten amenazas contra organizaciones sociales y periodistas”, 14 November 2012.
[5] Central Union of Workers of Colombia, “El grupo paramilitar los Rastrojos, amenazan a organizaciones sindicales, defensoras de los derechos humanos y parlamentarios de los partidos de oposición”, 1 April 2013 (denunciation sentvia e-mail)
[6] El Espectador: Águilas Negras amenazan a opositores políticos, 4 February 2014
[7] El Heraldo: Nuevas amenazas a líderes y defensores de víctimas, 14 January 2015
[8] OMCT Colombia: Harassment and persecution against members of the Lawyers’ Association “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), 24 February 2015
[9] Verdad Abierta: Documents, March 2015
[10] La Silla Vacilla: Operación Bautizo: La historia detrás del nombre de las operaciones criminales del DAS, 22 April 2010
[11] Presidencia – República de Colombia: Palabras del Presidente Juan Manuel Santos en la presentación del libro ‘Superando la Corrupción’, de Bertrand de Speville, 27 October 2011
[12] PBI Colombia: Victims do exist in Colombia – social movements in solidarity together. 3 February 2012
[13] Semana: ¿Abogado Jaime Restrepo, usted es alias ‘Samuel’?, 28 January 2011
[14] Periodismo Sin Fronteras (Journalism without Borders): Farc inician sicariato moral contra abogado Jaime Restrepo, 4 February 2012
[15] CCAJAR: Nuevas difamaciones y acusaciones contra Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas y el Ccajar por parte del ex Presidente Sr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, 26 March 2012
[16] Alirio Uribe Muñoz, guerrillero del M19 y presidente del Colectivo Alvear Restrepo. In: Periodismo Sin Fronteras (Journalism without Borders), 4 July 2012
[17] Periodismo sin Fronteras: “Alirio Uribe Muñoz o la venganza del M19”, 5 June 2013
[18] El Espectador: Seguimientos del DAS eran operaciones de seguridad nacional: Uribe, 2 February 2015
[19] FIDH Colombia: Hostigamiento y persecución en contra de los miembros del Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), 24 February 2015
[20] El Heraldo: Corte Suprema envía otro proceso contra Uribe a Comisión de Acusaciones, 24 March 2015
[21] CCAJAR: Rechazamos censura y deslegitimación en EuroLat a delegada de los defensores de derechos humanos y de las víctimas, 5 June 2015
[22] Plataformas y organizaciones de víctimas y de derechos humanos: Rechazamos censura y deslegitimación en EuroLat a delegada de los defensores de derechos humanos y de las víctimas, 5 June 2015
[23] CCAJAR:“Séptimo Día” tergiversó, manipuló y falseó información sobre actuación de Cajar en el caso Masacre de Caloto o del Nilo, 5 de agosto de 2015
[24] Semana: Uribe vuelve a despacharse contra Santos, el fiscal y el padre Giraldo, 23 March 2016
[25] OMCT: Colombia: Harassment and persecution against members of the Lawyers’ Association “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), 24 February 2015
[26] Ibíd.
[27] CCAJAR: Nuevos hechos de hostigamiento contra la abogada Yessika Hoyos, integrante el Cajar, 15 September 2015
[28] CCAJAR: Pacific y Policía instalan retén ilegal e intentan empadronar a Cajar y Comité Ambiental, 14 June 2016

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