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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08BOGOTA2386
2008-07-01 21:49:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP STUDY SHOWS DOWNWARD TREND IN

Tags:   PHUM  PGOV  KJUS  CO 
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DE RUEHBO #2386/01 1832149
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 012149Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3429
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0637
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL LIMA 6319
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 6983
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4480
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
						C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 002386 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS CO
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP STUDY SHOWS DOWNWARD TREND IN
EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING

REF: A. A) 07BOGOTA4340

B. B) 07BOGOTA8367

C. C) BOGOTA1602

Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer. Reason: 1.4(b,d)

--------
SUMMARY
--------

C O N F I D E N T I A L BOGOTA 002386

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS CO
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP STUDY SHOWS DOWNWARD TREND IN
EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING

REF: A. A) 07BOGOTA4340

B. B) 07BOGOTA8367

C. C) BOGOTA1602

Classified By: Political Counselor John S. Creamer. Reason: 1.4(b,d)

--------------
SUMMARY
--------------


1. (C) A June 9 report released by the well-known Colombian
think tank/human rights group Center for Research and Popular
Education (CINEP) showed a marked fall in alleged
extrajudicial killings in the latter part of 2007. CINEP
director Mauricio Garcia Duran told us it is too early to
determine if the data marks a trend, but noted the decline
coincides with recent Ministry of Defense (MOD) initiatives
to address the problem. Army commander General Mario Montoya
briefed the Ambassador on Army efforts to reduce
extrajudicial killings, including a new directive tying the
award of medals to captures rather than kills. The
Ambassador welcomed the new directive, but stressed the need
to ensure that policy directives translate into changes on
the ground. End Summary.

-------------- --------------
CINEP Reports Downward Trend in Extrajudicial Killings
-------------- --------------


2. (U) Well-known Colombian think tank/human rights group
CINEP released a report on June 9 showing a fall in the
number of alleged extrajudicial killings by Colombian
security forces in the second half of 2007. In the first six
months of 2007, CINEP identified 85 cases involving 150
victims; in the second half it recorded 47 cases with 87
victims. CINEP Director Mauricio Garcia Duran said it is too
early to determine if the data marks an inflection point, but
noted that the decline coincides with the Ministry of
Defense's implementation of new measures to reduce such
incidents, including the introduction of Directives 10 and 19
(refs A and B), new Rules of Engagement (ROEs), new training,
and a renewed emphasis on operational law. CINEP does not
yet have data for the first half of 2008.

--------------
MOD Figures Also Show Downward Trend
--------------


3. (C) The committee set up by the MOD's Directive 10 and
aimed at addressing extrajudicial killings has already met

ten times and has facilitated the transfer of cases to the
civilian justice system and the strengthening of interagency
communication on human rights cases (refs B and C). Military
Inspector General Eduardo Behar told us the military's data
shows there were 127 reported cases of extrajudicial killings
in 2006, 73 in 2007, and 28 through April, 2008. (Note: Some
cases have multiple victims.) Army Commander General Mario
Montoya affirmed that overall human rights complaints fell in
2007 despite a 20% increase in military operations --
signaling that the implementation and training on new
directives and the MOD's Integrated Policy on Human Rights
are working.

-------------- --------------
General Montoya Underscores MOD Commitment on Human Rights
-------------- --------------


4. (C) General Montoya briefed the Ambassador on June 18 on
the Army's commitment to human rights, transparency, the rule
of law, and working with civilian and international
institutions. Montoya reviewed Army actions over the last
year to improve human rights including: 1) his monthly
meetings with the inspector delegates assigned to each
division to review human rights concerns, disciplinary
issues, etc; 2) assignment to date of 51 operational lawyers
to act as legal advisors to divisional, brigade and battalion
commanders; 3) creation of judicial coordination offices in
all divisions and brigades to receive and investigate
complaints and to coordinate with the Prosecutor General's
Office; 4) enhancing the stature of the Army's Human Rights
directorate; and 5) development of an operations manual to
ensure Army compliance with ROEs and international
humanitarian law.


5. (C) Montoya also stressed the Army's strong cooperation
with the UN High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR) and the

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He said
UNHCHR officials are conducting their third round of visits
to the Army's seven divisions to meet with commanders on
human rights issues and review alleged cases of extrajudicial
killings. Montoya added that on May 14, 2008, the MOD issued
Directive 0542 which links the award of medals and other
benefits to demobilizations captures, and the consolidation
of territorial control rather than combat kills. The
Ambassador welcomed the Army's efforts, but stressed that
need to translate policy directive into changes on the
ground. He also urged the Army to recognize and respect the
important work done by human rights groups.
--------------
UNHCHR: More Needs to be Done
--------------


6. (C) Local UNHCHR office head Javier Hernandez said his
group has not detected the same downward trend reported by
CINEP. The UNHCHR registered 75 alleged victims in the first
part of 2007, compared with 71 in the second half of the
year. Hernandez recognized progress at the doctrinal level in
reducing extrajudicial killings, but said more needs to be
done to implement these changes in the field. Hernandez
praised Luz Marina Gil, the civilian head of the Military
Justice system, for improving the process for transferring
cases from military to civilian systems. The ICRC said the
Colombian military's human rights performance has improved
sharply, but agreed extrajudicial killings remain an issue.
The ICRC dismissed some human rights groups' claims that any
increase in extrajudicial killings is linked to the
paramilitary demobilization, attributing most such killings
to the rapid increase in the security force's size as well as
the heightened operational pace. The ICRC said there is no
evidence to support the notion that such killings are
systematic or ordered by senior commanders.
BROWNFIELD