Apartadó, August 7, 2013
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN volunteer translator)
Mr. CARLOS ANDRÉS PACHECO BENAVIDES
Criminal Investigator II
Carrera 99 No. 96-35 Apartacentro Ofic 606
Our Peace Community has received your e-mail message dated July 31, where you request the attendance of our former legal representative, Jesús Emilio Tuberquia, at the Attorney General’s Office to provide information about the circumstances of alleged “complaints” filed by our office in regard to events that took place on April 25, 2011.
In response to that, we permit ourselves to provide clarification as follows:
1. For several years now our Peace Community has ceased to file complaints with the Attorney General’s Office and the Inspector General’s Office. We reached that decision when it became clear that the hundreds of complaints we had filed for many previous years, instead of achieving a little justice, brought on greater persecutions of the members of our Community and left the horrendous crimes of which we had been victims in absolute impunity. The files themselves, to the extent that we have been able to find out about them, revealed terrifying levels of corruption in the judicial and disciplinary systems, and demonstrate the violation and omission of almost every governing principle of the administration of justice, as those have been formulated in the national Constitution, in relevant codes and in the applicable regulations contained in international treaties ratified by Colombia.
Even international committees that have visited us on the occasion of some of the most disturbing episodes of genocide that have been committed against us, such as the MEDEL (European Magistrates for Liberty and Democracy), after they had explored the failings of Colombian justice at the national level, were very pessimistic in their reports about the possibilities for obtaining justice in Colombia for these atrocities.
In our tragic Calvary, we have demonstrated how prosecutors, officials of the Inspector General’s Office, and both local and appellate judges have removed the investigations of thousands of crimes perpetrated against us. They do not investigate the victimizers; instead they investigate the victims. They manipulate TESTIMONY, the only element on which they base their guilty or not guilty decisions. They inundate the files with false testimony; they throw the entire burden of proof on the victims and avoid any investigation of the victimizers. They trample all of the evidentiary criteria that are established in the applicable codes. They proceed and act with obvious ideological and political biases, with an absolute failure of independence of the institutions of the government, the very government whose responsibility for the crimes by now is unquestionable. They ignore the reality of the terrifying context of victimization of the most vulnerable strata of the campesino population, in violation of the regulations that require them to consider it. All of this evidences of arbitrariness and partiality that the judicial functionaries appear not to perceive, being committed to a national institution that tolerates that kind of behavior and that has no mechanisms for control to avoid that kind of corruption. When on January 19, 2009 we presented evidence of all this to the highest courts in the land, asking them to correct this rottenness, they expressed to us their deep concern but claimed limits on their jurisdiction to act.
2. The previous reasons and experiences placed before us serious ethical impediments to resorting to the judicial and disciplinary systems then in effect and that is why, for a number of years now, we have decided not to provide any more statements or to collaborate at all with ongoing judicial proceedings. Protected by constitutional principles, we have rather resorted to the Right of Petition to request that the head of state take administrative measures to deter and correct the criminal actions against us, measures that the Constitution itself imposes on the President as an inescapable obligation to defend the victims of serious violations of their rights. Unfortunately, the head of state, ignoring his constitutional obligations, has not acted either. Simultaneously, we have applied to international tribunals whose jurisdiction Colombia has accepted in international treaties, to demand justice in our case. Perhaps you, Mr. Attorney General, call these our “complaints”, coming from official letters from the presidential office or from international agencies through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but we have not been the “complainants”, because our ethical imperatives do not permit us to resort to the judicial system currently in effect.
3. Only the Constitutional Court has comprehended our tragedy and it has mandated, by means of decisions and orders, that elementary constitutional principles be respected and carried out. When the Court issued its Order 164/12 last December to require immediate compliance with Decision T-1025/07, our Peace Community offered complete cooperation so that its mandates could be carried out. Among the mandates in that order was the establishment of a COMMISSION TO EVALUATE THE JUSTICE SYSTEM, a point that our Community had presented since 2005 as one of the conditions for renewing our discussions with the government. Those discussions had broken down completely after the horrible massacre of February 2005 and the subsequent occupation by the armed forces of our spaces for peaceful living, along with criminal slanders and official stigmatization. Even though that Commission was established beginning in February 2013 with the participation of all of the entities contemplated in the order, its functioning suffered numerous obstacles and the time period ordered by the Court elapsed without reaching even the most minimal result. The establishment of that Commission was only the beginning of the process that was supposed to result in the identification of the failures of the justice system and pointing out paths to correction. But just initiating it did not mean that the corruption had ended. Not at all. We take refuge in the hope that the Constitutional Court will restart the proceedings, which, as can be seen, will take a long time.
4. Recent events have confirmed the corruption, arbitrariness, and prejudice that affect those who carry out justice in Urabá. Thus, for example, the procedure initiated by Prosecutor 117 and decided by Branch 2 of the Criminal Court in 2012 and which is now being appealed to the Antioquia Superior Court, as File # 2012.0492-3. It keeps in prison innocent people who were found guilty by means of inconceivable abuses of testimony. A criminal who has been housed illegally for several years in the 17th Brigade headquarters, where he was induced to slander the Peace Community continually, was the only witness to the charge. He acts through intelligence agents and supposedly demobilized individuals who base their statements on his lies. The judicial functionaries pressure the victims to confess to false charges and they refuse to listen to people who know what happened, violating the principle of “non bis in idem” (double jeopardy) against one of the defendants. They refused to investigate the complicity of the Attorney General’s Office and the Public Defender in an attack on the defendants in a shooting after one of the hearings, and in the death of the other defendant in his own hometown after numerous death threats. This all shows that the corruption, rather than being reduced, is getting deeper in the Urabá judicial apparatus.
No less serious is the persistence of the stigmatization, which has been the result of the most dirty and dishonest campaigns by government agencies, the irreparable result of the thousands of crimes by which they have tried to exterminate us, while being criminally and perversely manipulated by the “information” media in their desire systematically to criminalize the victims, and not the victimizers. Because of that, on the dark day of April 18, 2013, officials of the Technical Investigation Group (TCI is the Spanish acronym.) of the Attorney General’s Office in Apartadó told a person close to our Peace Community that “The Peace Community, especially San Josecito, is the principal seat of the guerrillas”. These were criminal statements that were repeated by other public servants the next day, April 19, 2013. In the same way, on May 20, 2013, in a meeting of the Commission to Evaluate the Justice System, with delegates from high levels of government institutions in attendance, including the National Director of the Attorney General’s Office, the Coordinator of the Attorney General’s Human Rights Group, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Public Defender, the Ministry of Justice and Law and the attendance of delegates from the Peace Community, the Prosecutor assigned to the Analysis and Context Unit of the Attorney General’s Office told all those present that the Attorney General’s Office in Apartadó has a bad opinion of our Peace Community. That shows the great disorganization of the Attorney General’s Office as an institution that does nothing to stop this persecution against the Peace Community that has been going on for years. That is the reason why we will not attend this court proceeding.
We hope, Mr. Prosecutor, that you understand our reasons and the ethical impediments that we feel about coming to give statements. We can do no less than to profoundly lament and deplore the abysm of corruption and impunity that is drowning our shattered country. May God provide that this dark night end some day.
Peace Community of San José de Apartadó
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