The Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, held meetings today with members of the International Community, to whom he presented a report of the investigative and judicial actions carried out by the institution in light of the events that occurred during the protest in the country since last April 28.
These meetings were held with the participation of the delegate of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Héctor Schamís; the head of the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP by its acronym in Spanish), Roberto Menéndez; the special representative of the secretary general and head of the United Nations Verification Mission, Carlos Ruiz Massieu; and the director of verification of the UN Mission in Colombia, Raúl Rosende.
Likewise, the Attorney General in Colombia held a meeting with the representative in Colombia of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Juliette de Rivero; and the ambassadors of the European Union, Spain, Ecuador, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, among others.
After addressing the situation in Colombia due to protests and outrages, the Attorney General Barbosa stated that the institution recognizes the full existence of the right to social protest; However, it fulfills its constitutional power, as well as the international duties within the framework of the universal system and the inter-American human rights system, in its 8 lines of investigation, with objectivity and due diligence, under the analysis situations in the context to clarify the criminal acts committed during this period.
The Office of the Attorney General seeks to prosecute criminal acts that hinder the proper development of social protest. “This is an autonomous and independent institution in the Judicial Branch, whose function is to investigate and accuse people allegedly responsible for these events,” emphasized the Attorney General Barbosa.
In this sense, the attorney general referred to the work of the more than 5,000 public servants who seek to guarantee citizens access to justice, thereby strengthening investigations and prosecution in the territories.
Moreover, some prosecutors were assigned to make progress and obtain conclusive results in prioritized investigations such as 1) the case of the female minor who died in Popayán (Cauca), in which the alleged commission of a sexual offense by members of the public force is being investigated; 2) 15 homicides which are directly related to the protests, including the case of Lucas Villa, in Pereira (Risaralda); 3) the 7 cases that occurred in Cali (Valle del Cauca). In one of these cases, a patrol officer was prosecuted for the death of a minor, among others.
Regarding these facts, the Attorney General Barbosa referred to the conflict of jurisdiction contemplated by the institution, in one of the facts in which a police officer was involved and he stated that “the Attorney General´s Office is taking actions so that in cases where (…) requirements are meet, where there is police abuse or there are possible human rights violations, these can be assumed by the ordinary jurisdiction ”.
The international community was also informed about the activities carried out concerning the reports of missing persons and the activation of the Urgent Search Mechanism (MBU for its initials in Spanish) in the framework of the protests, through which, 261 people were located.
On the other hand, in the meetings, a balance of the facts that took place in Cali, Popayán and La Plata (Huila) was presented. Facts in which not only different damages and offenses were committed but also the administration of justice was affected due the attacks on its infrastructure and its investigative capacity, which considerably hinder the adequate provision of the service and the fulfillment of the missionary functions of the institution to guarantee the protection of human rights.
The Attorney General Barbosa emphasized that “If the Attorney General´s Office cannot investigate, what guarantee does the social protest have? By attacking the premises of the Prosecutor’s Office and destroying the evidence, human rights are violated because these actions hinder the clarification of the facts and access to justice”.
He pointed out that in this way citizens’ rights are also violated, in the understanding that the rights to truth, justice, reparation and the guarantees of non-repetition, inherent to the progress of criminal investigations, are threatened.
Finally, the implementation of a gender perspective in the investigation of sexual assaults committed within the framework of the protest was highlighted. As a matter of fact, the Attorney General Barbosa Delgado revealed that, among the strategies that were implemented, the National Working Group on Gender Violence to deal with Offenses committed against Women, Boys, Girls and Adolescents will be created in order to monitor the complaints, investigate, prevent, punish and eradicate violence against this population.
“Today, a special commission with a gender perspective will be created to provide women, who are protesting in the streets, with a roadmap so that they can report the attacks,” said the Attorney General.
This report is intended to provide the International Community with information so that it can validate the Office of the Attorney General´s work as part of the judicial branch of public power.