James Zapata Valencia and Jose Heriberto Ramirez Llanos vs. Colombia (Report No 79/11, Case 10.916)

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

136. It is therefore critical to determine if the illegal act [addition by PHRP: murder and torture] was committed with the participation, support, or acquiescence of state agents, or resulted from failure by the State to fulfill its obligation to reasonably prevent human rights violations, to conduct a serious investigation to identify and punish the responsible parties, and to provide adequate reparations to the victims or their family members for the damages caused. According to the Court’s findings in its jurisprudence, states have the obligation to guarantee the conditions required to prevent violations of this inalienable right and, more specifically, the duty to prevent its agents from perpetrating such violations.

145. In this context, the Commission recalls that in accordance with the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court, gaps or defects in the investigation that prevent effective action to determine the cause of death or to identify the responsible parties or the masterminds behind the crime imply noncompliance with the obligation to guarantee the right to life. Thus, the Commission notes that the Inter-American Court has repeatedly ruled that in cases of extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, torture, and other serious human rights violations, the conduct of an ex of ficio investigation that is prompt, serious, impartial, and effective is a fundamental element that is a requisite for the guarantee and protection of certain rights affected in these situations, such as personal liberty, humane treatment, and life.