Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio and family vs. Colombia

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


60. The Commission observes that in this case there is no direct evidence indicating that Pedro
Julio Movilla Galarcio was deprived of liberty of the part of State agents. However, from the record, multiple
indicative, circumstantial and context elements arise, which result pertinent for the present analysis.

61. First, as established before, in the present case at least three relevant contexts for the
analysis of the present case converged. On the one hand, the context related to the categorization of trade
union workers within the notion of internal enemy in the State manuals of intelligence and counter-guerrilla,
which had a direct impact on a high incidence in acts of violence against said persons, including executions
and forced disappearances. On the other hand, there is the context related to the political violence in
Colombia, whereby alarming numbers were registered regarding executions and forced disappearances of
persons related to certain political parties with the characteristics of the PCC-ML. The third context is of a
high incidence in the forced disappearance of persons in the context of the armed conflict in Colombia, being such serious human rights violation precisely one of those documented in the framework of the first two contexts referred.

71. The State carried out three search visits at three detention centers on the days 20, 26 and 28
of May, 1993. In other words, the State carried out three visits during the first ten subsequent days to the
complaint filed for the disappearance, in the context of the disciplinary investigation. The same occurred in
the context of the criminal investigation, as it is understood from a report of May 31, 1993, in which the
General Prosecutor’s Office confirms the visits carried out at the legal medicine facilities and official
notifications to the Dijin, Sijin, DAS and Military Forces. The Commission finds that these search actions were
not sufficient to reveal the fate or whereabouts of Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio. The following actions carried
out to find Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio date back to the year 2008, fifteen years later, which allows affirming
that in the circumstances of the present case, the omission to duly find the alleged victim contributed to the
concealment of his detention and whereabouts.

74. The Commission resolves that what occurred to Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio constituted
forced disappearance and, therefore, the Colombian State is responsible for the violation of the rights to
juridical personality, life, humane treatment and personal liberty set forth in Articles 3, 4, 5, and 7 of the
American Convention in relation to the obligations established in Articles 1.1 and 2 of the same instrument, to the detriment Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio. Moreover, taking into account that to the effective date of the
IACFPD for Colombia122 the forced disappearance was still being committed, the IACHR concludes that the
State also violated Article I a) of said instrument.

90. Ultimately and in connection to the reasonable time, the Commission takes notice that the
PGN investigation was developed during almost 8 years (1993 – 2001) and that the General Prosecutor’s
Office investigation during almost 25 years (1993 – 2018). Specially referring to the criminal investigation, it
has been delayed for more than 25 years and is still on its preliminary stage. Regarding the complexity of the
issue, the Commission observed that the State has declared that “there are difficulties that reflected in the
failure to get satisfactory results from the time when the facts were performed, which they have tried to
overcome through the measures taken”. In this regard, for the complexity argument to be in order, it is not
enough that the States explain the complexity of the issue in general terms, but it is necessary to present
specific information which connects this complexity with the delay in every instance142, which was not made
in this case. In connection to the proceedings carried out by the interested party, the Commission observes
that there is no record of any information indicating that the alleged victims obstructed the investigations.
Regarding the behavior of the state authorities, the Commission abides to everything mentioned in this
section. In addition, the IACHR observes that there were periods of time when the State was inactive without
justification, especially in connection to filing, closing and reopening the investigations.

91. Pursuant to the foregoing, the Commission concludes that the Colombian State did not fulfill
its duty to investigate, judge and punish, within a reasonable time and with due diligence, the forced
disappearance analyzed in this report. Consequently, the Commission concludes that the Colombian State is
responsible of the violation of the rights to a fair trial and judicial protection established in Articles 8.1 and
25.1 of the American Convention, in connection to the obligations established in Article 1.1 of the same
instrument, to the detriment of Pedro Julio Movilla Galarcio and the members of his family, identified in this
report. In addition, the Colombian State is responsible for the violation of Article I. b) of the IACFDP.


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