Message from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

January 28, 2019, 7:52 a.m.

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The Second Municipal Judge of Common Pleas in Apartadó, MARÍA MARIELA GÓMEZ CARVAJAL, is apparently insisting on supporting the petition brought by the military at the 17th Brigade to force our Peace Community to take our historic reports and moral censures off the internet. Our reports include all of the attacks, harassment, and disregard of fundamental human rights committed by the military, the police, the paramilitaries, and government officials in general. She is trying to present her submission to the armed men who oppress and murder as a “legal action”. Nevertheless it contravenes the laws and constitutional principles in a number of aspects.

  • The legal regulation governing civil rights actions (tutelas) (Regulation (Decreto) 2591, issued in 1991) states emphatically that a civil rights action “is not to be awarded against the legitimate conduct of a private citizen”. And the United Nations General Assembly (March 8, 1999) solemnly declared that all persons, whether acting individually or collectively, have the right to “publish, impart, or broadcast freely to third parties their opinions, information and knowledge relative to all fundamental human rights and liberties” and to “study and debate whether or not those rights and liberties are being observed, not only in the law, but also in practice” (Õ) “as well as to call to the attention of the public those issues by means of those media and through other media as appropriate.” (Article 6 of the Declaration on the right to protect and promote fundamental human rights and liberties” (A/53/144, March 8/99)
  • But that judge, at the same time she is attacking the National Constitution, since Article 93 of the Constitution gives “precedence in internal order” to every treaty and international convention that recognizes human rights. That is why the Decision C-038 issued by the Constitutional Court in 2004 states that: “the second paragraph of Article 93 constitutionalizes all of the human rights treaties ratified by Colombia, referring to rights that appear in the constitution and, by virtue of the hermeneutical rule of favorability, the interpreter must choose and apply the regulation that is most favorable to the effectiveness of human rights.”

That is to say that when there are doubts about whether a rule that refers to human rights in any manner contemplated in the Constitution, such as freedom of expression, it takes constitutional precedence. The interpretation has to be the one that is most favorable to the effectiveness of human rights. That is what has been established by the United Nations General Assembly, recognizing in individuals and in collectives the right to call what is going on with regard to human rights to the attention of public opinion:  it must be respected in theory and in practice, it is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, endorsed by the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, and a judge, no matter how important she is, may not refuse to recognize it.

  • But Judge Gómez Carvajal, in her eagerness to submit to the armed men who murder, disappear, displace, torture, defame, stigmatize and steal, also tramples another constitutional right: the freedom of conscience (Article 18 of the Constitution). The Peace Community, after eight years of experience with the most terrifying levels of corruption and impunity in the legal system, has relied on the Constitution and made a conscientious objection not to continue fooling around with it, with its participation in denunciations and testimony and similar corruption and impunity. Because of that, the Community has broken with the legal system. Judge Gómez Carvajal does not want to recognize this right and wants to force the Peace Community to submit to a legal process which, for other reasons, violates the Constitution, as has been demonstrated.

It must be remembered that all of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional court has affirmed that freedom of conscience is so highly valued in the philosophy of the Constitution that it is on the list of rights that in no circumstance, not even in exceptional situations, can be ignored.

  • The judge also attacks common sense and the most elementary rules of logic: She wants to make the legal representative of the Community responsible for our conscientious objection and breaking with the legal system, and tries to punish him for not obeying her decisions that are unconstitutional and contrary to international law. That, besides being ridiculous, is a consummate injustice. The decisions of the Peace Community have always been collective, but in addition, as we have demonstrated, they have been based on constitutional rights and on universal ethical rules. Besides being unjust, it is affected by an incomprehensible level of foolishness.

It’s deplorable that government officials, now very far from being able to identify themselves with the “Rule of Law”, can fall into such errors and immoral decisions, because of their eagerness to allow themselves to be manipulated by armed men who have perpetrated so many crimes against humanity and have carried out genocidal practices for so many decades, escaping all of the complaints, protests, urgent calls from the international community, from international tribunals and groups that care about humanity. All of this produces in us a deep pain for our country.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

January 28, 2019

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