Biograf

Pueblo Bello

The massacre

On 14 January 1990, 60 army-backed paramilitaries travelling in two lorries entered the community of Pueblo Bello, Turbo Municipality, Antioquia Department. The Inter-American Court on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) [1] established that the paramilitaries belonged to the “Los Tangueros” paramilitary group under the command of Fidel Antonio Castaño Gil. The paramilitaries had travelled to Pueblo Bello from the Santa Monica Farm (belonging to Fidel Castaño) in the municipality of Valencia, department of Córdoba.

 

To date only two people are serving penal sentences in relation to the massacre. The paramilitaries forced several inhabitants of the community to lie face down on the ground, they selected and abducted 43 people whom they forced to board the two lorries. According to information presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS [2] , the paramilitaries were able to pass unhindered through at least two military checkpoints in the municipality of San Pedro de Urabá, department of Córdoba.

 

NAMES OF THE 43 PUEBLO BELLO VICTIMS : José del Carmen Álvarez Blanco, Fermín Agresott Romero, Víctor Argel Hernández, Genor Arrieta Lora, Cristóbal Manuel Arroyo Blanco, Diómedes Barrera Orozco, Urías Barrera Orozco, Jorge Fermín Calle Hernández, Jorge Arturo Castro Galindo, Benito Genaro Calderón Ramos, Juan Miguel Cruz (oR Cruz Ruiz), Ariel Dullis Díaz Delgado, Camilo Antonio Durango Moreno, César Augusto Espinoza Pulgarín, Wilson Uberto Fuentes Miramón, Andrés Manuel Flórez Altamiranda, Santiago Manuel González López, Carmelo Manuel Guerra Pestana, Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez Arrieta, Lucio Miguel Úrzola Sotelo, Ángel Benito Jiménez Julio, Miguel Ángel López Cuadro, Mario Melo Palacio, Carlos Antonio Melo Uribe, Juan Bautista Meza Salgado, Pedro Antonio Mercado Montes, Manuel de Jesús Montes Martínez, José Encarnación Barrera Orozco, Luis Carlos Ricardo Pérez, Miguel Antonio Pérez Ramos, Raúl Antonio Pérez Martínez, Benito José Pérez Pedroza, Elides Manuel Ricardo Pérez, José Manuel Petro Hernández, Luis Miguel Salgado Berrío, Célimo Arcadio Hurtado, Jesús Humberto Barbosa Vega, Andrés Manuel Peroza Jiménez, Juan Luis Escobar Duarte, José Leonel Escobar Duarte, Ovidio Carmona Suárez, Ricardo Bohórquez Pastrana and Jorge David Martínez Moreno. 

 

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights established that the paramilitaries headed towards the Santa Mónica Farm on the road which links Pueblo Bello to San Pedro de Urabá. In the Santa Mónica Farm in the department of Córdoba, those abducted were met by Fidel Castaño and subsequently taken to the Las Tangas Farm where they were interrogated, tortured and killed. [3] Fidel Castaño was himself involved in the interrogations. At least 22 of the victims were buried in Las Tangas on the banks of the River Sinú.

 

The “disappearances” were reportedly carried out in retaliation for the theft of 43 head of cattle belonging to paramilitary leader Fidel Castaño by guerrilla forces. Fidel Castaño reportedly stated that Pueblo Bello was "Un nido de guerrilleros, que tenían que pagar por sus ganados",“A guerrilla nest which would have to pay for his cattle”.

 

Information presented to the IACHR indicated that in advance of the paramilitary incursion army personnel had labelled the inhabitants of being guerrilla collaborators because of their supposed passive reaction to the cattle theft. During the incursion paramilitaries set fire to several buildings in Pueblo Bello and told inhabitants "esto es para que respeten a 'Los Tangueros'", “This is so you will respect ‘Los Tangueros’”. As the IACHR states, ‘Los Tangueros’ was presumably a reference to the “paramilitary group directed at that time by Fidel Castaño, from the farm known as ‘Las Tangas’, situated on the banks of the Sinú river, in the department of Córdoba”. [4]

 

It is of concern that a large number of paramilitaries were able to enter and leave Pueblo Bello, having abducted 43 people, despite the military presence on the road into and out of the community. Witnesses told the Inter-American Court on Human Rights that screams and crying had been heard from the lorries in San Pedro de Urabá. There was a military checkpoint on the road between Pueblo Bello and San Pedro de Urabá and a military base of the Batallón de Infantería No.32 "Francisco de  Paula Vélez", No.32 Infantry Battalion “Francisco de Paula Vélez”. According to the testimony of one of the witnesses presented to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights:

 

nadie se imaginó que [los paramilitares] iban a entrar al pueblo porque [se] sentí[an] protegid[os] con el retén del ejército que había.  [Se preguntaban] cómo iban a pasar esos carros con hombres armados si ahí había un retén militar permanente donde requisaban [a todas las personas] todas las veces que pasaba[n] .

 

“nobody imagined that [the paramilitaries] were going to enter the village because [they] felt protected with the presence of the military checkpoint. [They asked themselves] how those armed men were going to pass in their vehicles if there was a permanent military checkpoint at which [everybody] were searched every time they passed through”. [5]  

 

According to the same witness, a high-ranking military officer had told relatives of the “disappeared” victims on 16 January 1990 that the checkpoint operated every day.

 

When families of the victims and community leaders of Pueblo Bello went to the San Pedro military base in an effort to find the 43 victims a member of the armed forces reportedly criticized them for denouncing the “disappearances” but failing to denounce the theft of the cattle:   " y ahora por qué sí vienen, cuando se llevaron los ganados [de Fidel Castaño] ustedes no vinieron a denunciar eso pero ahora que se llevan la gente, ahora sí vienen a denunciar eso", “and now why do you come? when they took [Fidel Castaño's] cattle you did not come to denounce but now that they have taken people you come to denounce that”. [6] Another witness stated that following the massacre members of the army threatened inhabitants of Pueblo Bello telling them that if they did not leave it was because they were "cómplices [de] la guerrilla", “guerrilla accomplices”.

 

Between 10 and 15 April 1990, on the basis of information provided to the authorities by one of the paramilitaries who participated in the attack, 24 bodies were exhumed on the Las Tangas and Jaraguay farms, also in the department of Córdoba. Six of these bodies were identified as victims of the Pueblo Bello massacre [7] . It was not possible to positively identify the other bodies. Although further excavations and exhumations were carried out in 1994, March-April 1995, in August 2003 and between May and September 2004 in the cemetery of the capital of Córdoba Department, Montería, only the six bodies exhumed in 1990 have been identified as those of the victims of the Pueblo Bello massacre. In August 2005, forensic investigations seeking to find the mass graves where the bodies of the Pueblo Bello victims might be located were carried out in the Las Tangas Farm by the Fiscalía General de la Nación. These were suspended as a result of climactic conditions and resumed in early 2006. AI has not received information to indicate that the bodies of further victims have been found.

 

Failure to fully investigate the Pueblo Bello Massacre and State Responsibility

On 20 April 1990, the military justice system archived criminal investigations into several members of the armed forces implicated in the massacre. Subsequently, the military justice system issued several decisions clearing army personnel of any involvement in the massacre. In August 1990, for example, the military justice system reopened investigations following information published in the national press which referred to a letter written by a junior officer stating that the abducted peasant farmers must have been taken through a military checkpoint. This new evidence was dismissed by the military justice system on 13 November 1990 which ruled that it would not open criminal investigations into possible responsibility of members of the armed forces in the massacre. In April 1998 the military justice system ruled that there was no evidence attributing any responsibility to army personnel, instead only paramilitaries were implicated in the massacre.

 

The civilian justice system sentenced paramilitary commander Fidel Castaño in absentia and at least nine other paramilitaries to prison sentences of 12-30 years on 26 May 1997 on charges of homicide, among other crimes. On 30 December 1997, the Tribunal Nacional, National Tribunal, ordered that investigations into others involved in the massacre and not included in the original judicial proceedings should be opened but partially nullified the rulings in the original sentence relating to the 37 victims whose remains had not been found. As the Inter-American Court on Human Rights underlines this means that the 37 cases of “disappearance”remain in complete impunity. [8]   No further information has been received to indicate progress in criminal investigations into these 37 cases.

 

On 8 March 2001, the Corte Suprema de Justicia, Supreme Court of Justice, confirmed the 30 December 1997 ruling against the paramilitaries. Judicial investigations had originally suggested that some 60 people were implicated in the massacre. The Office of the Procurator General carried out two disciplinary investigations into the possible responsibility of security force members in the massacre. On 27 November 1991, the Office of the Procurator General ruled that two officers implicated in the massacre were not responsible. This decision followed the killing on 24 July 1990 of María Esther Restrepo, the Regional Procurator who was undertaking disciplinary investigations into the massacre, and her bodyguard Edgar Albornoz in Apartadó Municipality reportedly by paramilitaries. 

 

Although new disciplinary investigations were opened in August 1998 into the role of an army lieutenant in the massacre he was cleared of responsibility on 31 July 2000. However, these disciplinary investigations did not rule out that the armed forces were not implicated in the massacre. In its ruling the Office of the Procurator General gave credibility to the testimony of a member of the paramilitary group responsible for the “disappearances” and killings who affirmed that an army officer had collaborated with the paramilitary group to facilitate the forced abductions. Criminal courts had also recognized the credibility of the paramilitary. The paramilitary had given testimony to the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, DAS, Civilian Security Department (a civilian intelligence agency) on 25 April 1990. In his statement,[9] the paramilitary had claimed that an army lieutenant had boarded one of the trucks and accompanied the paramilitaries through the army checkpoint. The testimony of the paramilitary had led to the authorities unearthing the 24 bodies on the Las Tangas and Jaraguay Farms in the municipality of Valencia, Córdoba Department, in April 1990.

 

Eight days after the massacre three alleged members of the army entered Pueblo Bello and distributed 50,000 Colombian pesos to the families of the victims, many of whom refused to accept the money. According to lawyers representing the families of these victims in proceedings before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, this action was indicative of military involvement in the massacre. [10]

 

It is of concern that the military justice system handled investigations into possible security force responsibility in the “disappearances”. The military justice system has regularly guaranteed the impunity of members of the security forces implicated in cases of human rights violations even in cases where strong prima facie evidence against them exists. The civilian justice system does not appear to have advanced investigations into the possible responsibility of members of the security forces in the “disappearances”, despite the fact that investigations undertaken by the Office of the Procurator General have not ruled out security force involvement in the Pueblo Bello case.

 

The IACHR, in its 2002 report on admitting the Pueblo Bello case for examination, stated:

 

“The Commission has repeatedly indicated that military courts are not an appropriate forum and therefore do not provide an adequate remedy for investigating, trying, or punishing human rights violations enshrined in the American Convention, and allegedly committed by members of official forces, or with their collaboration or acquiescence ... . Trial before the military courts of members of the Army allegedly involved in the massacre, by act or omission, is not an adequate remedy for determining their responsibility in the serious violations alleged, in the terms of Article 46(1) of the American Convention.”

 

On 31 January 2006, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in its sentence on the case of the Pueblo Bello massacre criticized the fact that the military justice system had handled criminal investigations into the possible responsibility of members of the armed forces in the massacre and stated that this was not the appropriate body to handle these. Referring to the Military Justice System the Court concluded that:

 

“193.… esta jurisdicción no era la vía adecuada, no constituyó un recurso efectivo para investigar las graves violaciones cometidas en perjuicio de las 43 víctimas de Pueblo Bello, ni para establecer la verdad de los hechos y juzgar y sancionar a sus responsables. Las actuaciones en esta vía fueron gravemente negligentes y no se investigó seriamente a miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas que pudieran estar vinculados con los hechos.

 

“193. … this jurisdiction was not the appropriate one, it did not represent an effective means to investigate the serious violations committed against the 43 Pueblo Bello victims, nor to establish the truth in the facts and to try and to sanction those responsible. The actions taken in this direction were gravely negligent and members of the Armed Forces who could have been implicated in the events were not submitted to serious investigations”. [11]

 

The Court made clear it believed the armed forces were implicated in the massacre:

 

“211. …. Un ataque a la población civil de las proporciones subrayadas en este caso no pudo pasar desapercibida por los mandos militares de las zonas de donde salieron y por donde transitaron los paramilitares. Si bien han sido condenados algunos de los paramilitares responsables de la masacre, subsiste una impunidad generalizada en el presente caso… .”

 

“211. … An attack against the civilian population of the proportions seen in this case could not go by unnoticed by military commanders in the areas through which the paramilitaries departed and travelled. Whilst some paramilitaries have been sentenced, generally impunity reigns over this case … .” [12]

 

According to information received, of the six people sentenced for their part in the massacre (specifically in relation to the killing of the six Pueblo Bello victims whose bodies were found in 1990) only two had been detained and were in prison.

 

The Court concluded that all investigations undertaken into the Pueblo Bello massacre did not meet: “265.                   … los estándares de acceso a la justicia y protección judicial establecidos en la Convención Americana (supra párr. 169 a 212)”. “265. … standards relating to access to justice and judicial protection established in the American Convention”.[13]

 

In its sentence of 31 January 2006 the Inter-American Court on Human Rights ruled:

 

“13.El Estado debe realizar, en el plazo de un año, contado a partir de la notificación de la presente Sentencia, un acto de disculpa pública y reconocimiento de responsabilidad internacional, en relación con las violaciones declaradas en la misma ..,, por haber incumplido sus obligaciones de garantizar los derechos a la vida, a la integridad personal y a la libertad personal de esas personas, como consecuencia de las faltas del Estado a sus deberes de prevención, protección e investigación, así como por las violaciones a los derechos de acceso a la justicia, protección judicial y garantías judiciales cometidas en su perjuicio,en presencia de altas autoridades del Estado, en los términos de los párrafos 277 y 286 de la presente Sentencia.” [14]

 

“13. The State must undertake, within the space of a year, counted from the time of notification of this Sentence, an act of public apology and recognition of international responsibility, in relation to the violations declared in the same document … for having failed to meet with its obligations to guarantee the right to life, personal integrity and right to liberty of the affected persons, as a result of the failure by the State to abide by its obligations to prevention, protection and criminal investigation,  as well as by violating the right to access to justice, judicial protection and judicial guarantees … .” [15]

 

In its ruling the Inter-American Court on Human Rights concluded that the Colombian State was responsible for fomenting the development of paramilitary structures it was responsible for creating a situation of risk for the community of Pueblo Bello. [16] AI is concerned that despite this ruling the Colombian government is not pursuing policies which will ensure the true dismantling of paramilitary structures in Colombia. AI is also concerned that despite this ruling the Colombian government is not implementing policies which will ensure that impunity in the case of the Pueblo Bello massacre and other cases of human rights violations committed by paramilitaries, often in collusion with the security forces, will be brought to justice. Instead, AI is concerned that government policies may result in the silencing voices of victims of human rights abuse, their families and human rights defenders demanding justice.


 

APPENDIX II

 

An inadequate legal framework regulating the supposed paramilitary “demobilization” process and attempts to silence the campaigns of those demanding justice

 

On 25 November 2004, members of a paramilitary group calling itself the Bloque Bananero, Bananero Bloc, was supposedly demobilized in the Urabá region of Antioquia Department as part of the paramilitary “demobilization” process initiated by President Alvaro Uribe Vélez’s during his first term in office (August 2002 – August 2006) [17] . This paramilitary group did not appear as a distinct paramilitary group until months before its demobilization. An article which appeared in El Tiempo, 24 November 2004, quoted a paramilitary member involved in the November 2004 “demobilization” who alleged he had belonged to Los Tangueros. The statements made by this paramilitary member raises concerns that paramilitaries who participated in the Pueblo Bello massacre may have been demobilized in this and other demobilization processes and benefited from de facto amnesties under Decree 128 of 2003.

 

Decree 128 grants de facto pardons to members of illegal armed groups who surrender to the authorities unless and who are not under criminal investigations for human rights abuses or violations or have been sentenced for such crimes. The problem is that the vast majority of rank-and-file paramilitaries or guerrillas are not under investigation for such crimes or have not been sentenced for such crimes. This decree may therefore ensures the de facto amnesty of combatants before any form of judicial investigation into their possible criminal past.

 

Impunity for members of the paramilitary group responsible for the Pueblo Bello massacre and members of the armed forces implicated in the case could be further consolidated by other legislation implemented by the government as part of its “demobilization” policy, most notably the Justice and Peace Law of 2005 and Law 906 of 2004.

 

AI has repeatedly criticized these pieces of legislation and underlined that they may guarantee the impunity not only of paramilitaries responsible for human rights violations but third parties who have financed, supported and coordinated paramilitary forces, including members of the security forces. They may, in the future, also guarantee the impunity of members of guerrilla forces who demobilize and who are responsible for human rights abuses. AI has stated that the government is, in effect, negotiating “contracts of impunity” which will benefit paramilitaries, their third party backers and guerrillas responsible for human rights abuses.

 

Although the Constitutional Court issued a ruling in May 2006 [18] – made public in July – declaring many of the more controversial parts of the Justice and Peace Law unconstitutional or null and void, the legal framework regulating the demobilization is still inadequate:

 

(a) The Justice and Peace Law is designed to benefit only those few members of illegal armed groups who are under investigation or have been sentenced for human rights abuses. Given the high levels of impunity most paramilitaries and guerrillas are not under investigation for such offences. According to recent Colombian media reports of over 30,000 paramilitaries who have supposedly demobilized only 2,180 are eligible to benefit from the Justice and Peace Law. The vast majority have thus benefited from de facto amnesties under Decree 128.

 

(b) AI has repeatedly underlined its concern that the legal framework to regulate the paramilitary process is not only designed to guarantee the impunity of paramilitaries responsible for human rights violations but seeks to ensure that the responsibility of third parties, including members of the security forces, in coordinating or supporting paramilitary structures is not exposed or investigated. This concern persists despite the Court’s ruling:

 

  • Under the Justice and Peace Law, a Justice and Peace Unit (Unidad de Justicia y Paz) of the Office of the Attorney General will investigate human rights abuses committed by members of illegal armed groups. But human rights cases implicating the security forces will remain with the Human Rights Unit (Unidad de Derechos Humanos) of the Office of the Attorney General. Since many cases of human rights violations involve collusion between paramilitaries and the security forces, there are fears that separating such cases into different investigating bodies could weaken criminal investigations into security force responsibility in cases of human rights violations.

 

  • Although the Constitutional Court’s ruling removed the strict time limits on criminal investigations, the still-small number of judicial investigators employed by the Justice and Peace Unit will severely limit their capacity to effectively investigate. Investigators are thus likely to focus on the individual responsibility of the combatant rather than on the armed structure to which s/he belonged or on the role that the security forces and others played in the activities of these structures.

 

  • Since those benefiting from Decree 128 of 2003 are not subject to full and impartial investigations, their responsibility, and that of others, in human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, are unlikely to be exposed. There are fears, therefore, that both the Justice and Peace Law and Decree 128 will ensure that the responsibility of third parties in human rights violations will not be exposed.

 

  • The Principio de Oportunidad (Principle of Opportunity) established under Law 906 of 2004 allows the Attorney General to close investigations into criminal acts, possibly including cases of human rights abuses, when it is considered that prosecution would not be “opportune”; for example, when the accused collaborates to prevent the commission of further crimes or provides essential information for the dismantling of an organized criminal group. Although the law allows for some restrictions in the application of Principio de Oportunidad it does not contain language excluding war crimes. It could, in theory, lead to the closing of investigations implicating third parties in paramilitarism, since exposing such links may be deemed not to be in the public interest.

 

The government responded to the Constitutional Court’s ruling by issuing Decree 3391 on 29 September 2006. This Decree revives some of the most worrying aspects of the Justice and Peace Law. It includes language which may enable demobilizing combatants from benefiting from the reduced sentences afforded by the Justice and Peace Law even if they do not freely admit to all the human rights abuses or violations for which they are responsible. Article 9 of the Decree establishes that a demobilized combatant must provide “una confesión completa y veraz de todos los hechos delictivos en los que participó de los que tenga conocimiento cierto”, “a complete and truthful confesión of the all the crimes in which [the demobilizing combatant] participated or of which he has certain knowledge”. It is of concern that this provision could present the demobilizing combatant with an opportunity to omit confessing to certain crimes arguing that s/he did not have “certain knowledge” of the criminal act.

 

The Decree develops the Principio de Oportunidad by stipulating that the Office of the Attorney General can decide to close criminal investigations into third parties when it is considered that prosecution would not be opportune. In particular, investigations into the possible criminal responsibility of third parties (known as testaferros) who are responsible for managing assets – obtained through the illegal activities of armed groups – on behalf of demobilizing combatants, could be closed. This stipulation would prevent criminal investigations to determine the direct involvement or support of these third parties in human rights abuses of violations committed by the demobilizing group. 

 

The Decree reincorporates the deduction of up to 18 months from the reduced sentences established under the Justice and Peace Law (five to eight years) for time spent by demobilizing combatants in the so-called “concentration zones” (zonas de ubicación). The Constitutional Court had established that such deductions were unconstitutional since concentration in those zones by paramilitaries had been voluntary.

 

Furthermore, the Decree may ensure that “demobilized” paramilitaries are permitted to spend their sentences in security force installations. This is of serious concern given the strong links between the security forces and paramilitaries. Alternatively they may spend, part, if not all, their sentences working in productive, including agricultural, projects in areas which they control and potentially on lands they may have expropriated through war crimes and crimes against humanity. In other words to reap profit from these illegally obtained assets.

 

(c) The fact that combatants may reap benefit from illegally obtained assets has serious implications for the right to reparation of victims. AI is concerned that Decree 3391 and Decree 4760 of December 2005, which regulates the Justice and Peace Law, may undermine rights to reparation. Under Decree 4760 illegally-obtained assets, such as land, can be classified as reparation if they are deemed to be of economic benefit to the local community and demobilized paramilitaries. Demobilized paramilitaries who declare such lands to be of economic benefit to the local community and others, including demobilized combatants, could become eligible for grants to develop agricultural projects on these lands under the government’s “rural reinsertion” programme. This programme envisages government financing for agro-industrial projects which bring together peasant farmers, displaced peoples and demobilized paramilitaries. The latter will account for half of those working in each project. Decree 3391 recognizes “rural reinsertion” programmes as part of a restorative justice effort. These projects could thus see peasant and displaced communities working alongside those who forced them off their lands with threats, or killed or “disappeared” their relatives.

 

The fact that Decree 3391 allows for the Principio de Oportunidad to be applied to third parties who are responsible for managing assets, obtained through the illegal activities of armed groups, could seriously limit the authorities’ ability to identify all stolen assets.

 

Furthermore, Decree 3391 establishes that a combatant’s legally held assets may only be used to cover reparation costs of victims if the illegal assets they hold do not cover these costs. AI is concerned that, first, it is unlikely that all the illicit assets held by a combatant will be fully identified, partly as a result to the application of the Principio de Oportunidad and, second, the combatant does not have to provide the authorities with a list of all their legally held assets. This means combatants could transfer these to third parties to protect them.

 

(d) AI continues to be concerned about government policies which facilitate the re-emergence of paramilitarism and the recycling of combatants into the conflict. These policies include:

 

  • A legal framework which provides de facto amnesties for human rights abusers and does little to expose third party responsibility in such abuses. This leaves paramilitary infrastructure intact and free to re-emerge, sometimes under a new legal guise.

 

  • Demobilized combatants are being encouraged to join “civilian informer networks”, which provide military intelligence to the security forces, or to become “civic guards”, who provide security in towns, public parks and highways and elsewhere but whose true role is the provision of military intelligence to the security forces. There are no guarantees that human rights abusers are not being integrated into such structures, including private security firms – which form part of the informer networks – where they could be armed and so be in a position to exert power and commit further abuses. Recent media reports indicate the government is encouraging the employment of supposedly demobilized paramilitaries in the Urabá (which covers parts of Córdoba, northern Antioquia and northern Chocó) area of the department of Antioquia to provide security on roads. There are no guarantees that paramilitaries implicated in the Pueblo Bello massacre will not be included in this scheme.


[1] Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006.

[2]   IACHR Report No 41/02, Admissibility, Petition 11.478, José Del Carmen Álvarez Blanco Et Al. (Pueblo Bello), Colombia, 9 October 2002.

[3] Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006.

[4] IACHR Report No 41/02, Admissibility, Petition 11.478, José Del Carmen Álvarez Blanco Et Al. (Pueblo Bello), Colombia, 9 October 2002.

[5] Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006. Unofficial translation.

[6] Ibid. Unofficial translation.

[7] Ricardo Bohórquez, Andrés Manuel Peroza Jiménez, Juan Luis Escobar Duarte, Leonel Escobar Duarte, Ovidio Carmona Suárez and Jorge Martínez Moreno. 

[8] Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006. Paragraph 182.

[9] Quoted in the Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid. Unofficial translation.

[12]   Ibid. Unofficial translation.

[13] Ibid. Unofficial translation.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Unofficial translation.

[16] Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos Caso de la Masacre de Pueblo Bello vs. Colombia, Sentencia de 31 de enero de 2006. Paragraph 126.

[17] For a detailed account and analysis of AI’s concerns on the supposed paramilitary demobilization process see: Colombia: The Paramilitaries in Medellín: Demobilization or Legalization?, September 2005, AI Index: AMR 23/019/2005.

[18] Constitutional Court Sentence C-370/2006, 18 May 2006.




I januar 1990 blev der stjålet 43 køer fra farmen Las Tangas i nærheden af landsbyen Pueblo Bello. Farmens Ejer, Fidel Antonio Castaño, var overbevist om, at beboerne i landsbyen havde hjulpet den væbnede gruppe FARC med at stjæle køerne. Castaño tog sin hævn ved at kidnappe 43 tilfældige mænd fra Pueblo Bello, torturere og henrette dem. Han fik hjælp af sin egen væbnede gruppe 'Los Tangueros'. Den Interamerikanske Menneskerettigheds Kommission har anklaget den colombianske regering for blandt andet ikke at have beskyttet civilbefolkningen nok under krisen mellem paramilitære grupper i 90'erne og for ikke at have gjort nok for at opklare sagen om Pueblo Bello og der er stadig straffrihed for forbrydelsen begået i Pueblo Bello.

I 2007 var dansk afdeling af Amnesty International vært for besøget af José Daniel Alvarez, søn og nevø til to af de 43 ofre fra Pueblo Bello. José Daniel er den aktuelle leder af Familiares Colombia, en fælles hjælpeorganisation for pårørende til anholdte eller forsvundne personer.