Documents on the Attempt by Colombian Military and Others to Intimidate Gloria Cuartas
This is a report on the criminal case prepared by the defense for Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya (Translated from Spanish by CSN)
CRIME : Rebellion
This criminal investigation was begun based upon the sworn testimonies of five witnesses whose identity has been kept secret. They have declared that Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya is a helper of the armed insurgency (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia FARC)
The concrete charges against her are :
Based upon these accusations, the Regional Prosecutor's office ordered the presence of the accused, Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya to testify on October 1st, 1996; and since then the defense has requested several items of evidence among them the following testimony from the Minister of Interior, from the Vice-minister of Labor, from members of the clergy, and from the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace; and documentary evidence of the massacres which have occurred in Apartado (photographs, video-cassettes, letters of support and solidarity from national authorities).
In the last two months another suspicion was added, related to the death of two secret witnesses who had given testimony against Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya. The defense has argued that these baseless charges tend to aggravate the legal situation of the accused.
The defense believes that this judicial investigation has a very high political content. Evidence is being used which is difficult to contradict because it is secret, leaving to the discretion of the investigating prosecutor the freedom of Ms. Cuartas.
We have asked the Fiscal General to give special attention to this investigation in order to preserve the impartiality of justice.
General Rito Alejo del Rio Rojas, Commander of the seventeenth Brigade of the Army, filed a criminal complaint against Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya charging that she had stated publicly that the Colombian army has shown partiality towards paramilitary groups.
The accusation was filled out on August 28, 1996 and the criminal case is pending.
Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya was called to testify as the accused on January 29, 1997, to explain and clarify these accusations against the military forces.
The case is awaiting definition of legal status of Ms. Cuartas.
Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya has been charged with violating fundamental rights (Death Plan), pointing to the fact that 437 people have been assassinated in Apartadó.
This accusation was made under oath, but up to the present time no investigation has been open because the Delegate Prosecutor considers that there is at this time no merit to the accusation. the investigation
Given all of the above, investigations were carried out in the Special Hearings Court of Public Order of the Ministry of Interior from September 17-27, 1996, the results of which were made public on October 11, finding no evidence of embezzlement of funds nor fraud. In an illegal way in violation of due process, I have been accused of :
Apartado, March 18 1997
RITO ALEJO DEL RIO ROJAS
Brigade XVII Carepa
Respected Commander :
The administration of the Municipality of Apartado is developing a Program of Housing in the rural areas, in agreement with the policy of subsidies that was arranged with the Caja Agraria.
Included in the Program are 16 rural hamlets corresponding to the unincorporated town of San Jose (La Balsa, La Victoria, San Jose, Miramar, La Pedroza, Churido, Siani, Pancha Zunguito, El Gas, Playas Altas, Arenas Bajas, Guineo Alto, Guineo Bajo, Buenos Aires, Las Playas and Union Alta). In each one of these hamlets people have been displaced to the urban areas. To date the Caja has disbursed for this Program about 50% of the total value of the subsidies, which were invested already in materials, but these have to be given to each one of the recipients and transported to the place where they are going to be used. In this respect we have had difficulties in the transportation of the mentioned materials, because of the different armed violent groups, taking the risk that some of the materials may be damaged, one of them being cement.
It is for this reason that I apply for the possibility of establishing an agreement between the administration and the Army to transport or guide the materials to a specific agreed upon place. From there each beneficiary would take the supplies to his or her home. If this is possible, it would be wherever you determine, or when you cooperate with the transporting of these, or if you believe that it is not convenient that the program be developed I beg you to indicate when it is appropriate to continue with this project in order to wait and take a recess until a new order is issued.
Please understand that this is important so that the resources from the State not be assigned to another program and region because we did not use them.
I send a copy to General Manuel Jose Bonnet, Commander of the Army, Ms Irina Marcela Marun Meyer, Manager of the Caja Agraria ; and to the Honorable Municipal Council.
(signed) Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya
Santafe de Bogota, March 10, 1997
Doctor HORACIO SERPA URIBE
Minister of Interior
GUILLERMO ALBERTO GONZALEZ
Minister of Defense
With due respect :
Exhausted by the ever increasing violence in Apartado and having to confront every day the search for solutions that overwhelm the limited resources of this Municipality, I request your intervention in a prompt and opportune way with the objective of taking care of the problems that we are experiencing here, and to providing immediate solutions in the following areas :
TO HAVE A POLICY OF STRENGTHENING THE CIVILIAN AUTHORITY. Repeated violent and barbaric acts have produced an unfortunate confrontation between the authorities, where the authority has been taken from me before public opinion, where all the peace initiatives that the Mayor's office have been taking have not been respected.
LAND POLICY The Ministers of Development, Finance, Agriculture and Justice should immediately develop an integrated policy to protect the people displaced by the violence and allow them to retake their productive lands. The work of the Network for Social Solidarity is not enough, since the factors that cause the displacement are not solved.
OPEN POLICY TO STRENGTHEN THE PEACE PROCESS The National Commission for Reconciliation presented an open and democratic proposal for peace which has received mild support. From different democratic spaces people have been urging solutions to the armed conflict and to the low intensity war which exist in Uraba, but the government through measures of force, legitimated by the declaration of this area as a special zone of public order, has increased the dramatic circumstances of the thousands of persons with no means of support.
GUARANTEES TO DUE PROCESS AND THE RIGHT TO DEFEND ONESELF The hostilities against this Mayor have also been reflected in the existence of criminal accusations against me before the Regional Prosecutor in Medellin ( case # 20997) and before the Sectional Prosecutor's office in Apartado ( accused of slander and injury), without having full guarantee of due process and to defense, with the possibility that due to lack of partiality in the Justice system, I might be apprehended and detained as precaution.
DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC POLICIES. In effect, the Mayor 's Office in Apartado has made commitments through its different secretariats and through national and regional governmental support, through the signing of an Investment Plan and of the special resources given by the Fund of Mutual Financing, in agreement with the projects we presented, to place special emphasis on rural housing and the income of the peasant woman. However, an increasing process of destabilization, from different sectors and with the antagonism of the actors in the armed conflict, has made it impossible to develop this policy
PEACE COMMUNITIES AND ACTIVE NEUTRALITY . It is indispensable that wide, open, democratic and pluralistic debates be allowed in all the sectors of Apartado, to consolidate the proposals of active neutrality with peace communities which have been proposed by the Governor of Antioquia and the Dioceses of Apartado.
ELECTORAL GUARANTEES The climate of intolerance and dirty war, has totally fragmented the society of Apartado. It is considered indispensable to initiate processes of participation and support that guarantee the democratic authority in the region and preserve the rights of citizens to participate and to defend fundamental rights
REGULATION OF THE ARMED CONFLICT AND MEDIATION BY THE UNITED NATIONS To create spaces that facilitate the commitment of all the actors in the conflict and in the society in searching out conditions for peace.
To stimulate the creation of a Center of Attention, Mediation and Conciliation, helped and assisted by the office of the High Commissioner for Peace of the United Nations for Human Rights, in such a way that guarantees of the civil and political rights of the victims of the armed confrontation are made effective and that displaced persons be accompanied for in the protection of their properties and possessions abandoned because of the violence.
Waiting for your consideration,
Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya
MILITARY FORCES OF COLOMBIA
NATIONAL ARMY BRIGADE XVII
Court No. 114 of the Military Criminal Justice system
Carepa, February 28, 1997
No. 113/BR 17 - J114 -IBM-746
Topic: Sworn Testimony
Sent to: Gloria Cuartas Montoya Mayor of Apartado
Respectfully and as established in Article 287 of the Criminal Procedure Code, allow me to request that you provide testimony under oath that you will sent to this court, on the following aspects :
Finally, please add all those aspects which you consider necessary to clarify in relation to the mentioned acts. The above is required in order to work within preliminary proceeding # 164 carried forward against Major General Ramirez and Brigadier General del Rio.
CT Pedro Gabriel Palacios Osma
Judge 114 , IBM Institute of Military Brigades)
Municipal Administration Center
March 12, 1997
Senores Military Forces of Colombia National Army Seventeenth Brigade Military Criminal Court # 164
I, Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya, identified as appears below my signature, in a most respectful manner, in accord with the provisions of Article 287 of the Criminal Code, supply answers under oath to the questionnaire which you sent me.
I have nothing further to add.
s/ Gloria Isabel Cuartas Montoya
(national identity card no. given)
Mayor of Apartado