REPORT No. 31/11 5
CASE 12.416
MERITS
SANTO DOMINGO MASSACRE
COLOMBIA
March 24, 2011
I.

SUMMARY

1.
On April 18, 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter
“the Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition submitted by the Comisión Interfranciscana
de Justicia, Paz y Reverencia con la Creación, the Comité Regional de Derechos Humanos “Joel
Sierra”, the Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo”, Humanidad Vigente Corporación
Jurídica, and the Center for International Human Rights of Northwestern University School of Law
(hereinafter “the petitioners”), which alleged that on December 13, 1998, 17 civilians lost their
lives, among them six children, and more than 25, among them nine children, were wounded as the
result of the actions of the Colombian Air Force (hereinafter “FAC,” for Fuerza Aérea Colombiana) in
the village of Santo Domingo, department of Arauca, Republic of Colombia (hereinafter “the State”
or “the Colombian State”).
2.
The petitioners argued that the State is responsible for violation of the rights to life,
humane treatment, and a fair trial, as well as the rights of the child, the right to property, freedom
of movement and residence, and the right to judicial protection recognized in Articles 4, 5, 8, 19,
21, 22, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the “American
Convention”) to the detriment of the 17 people who were killed, namely, the children Jaime Castro
Bello (4), Luis Carlos Neite Méndez (5), Oscar Esneider Vanegas Tulibila (13), Geovani Fernández
Becerra (16), Egna Margarita Bello (5), Katherine Cárdenas Tilano (7); and Levis Hernando Martínez
Carreño, Teresa Mojica Hernández de Galvis, Edilma Leal Pacheco, Salomón Neite, María Yolanda
Rangel, Rodolfo Carillo Mora, Pablo Suárez Daza, Carmen Antonio Díaz Cobo, Nancy Ávila Castillo,
Arnulfo Arciniegas Velandia, Luis Enrique Parada Ropero and their next of kin; and the 25 individuals
who were wounded, namely, the children Marcos Neite (4), Erinson Cárdenas (7), Ricardo Ramírez
(11), Neftalí Neite (16), Yeimi Contreras (15), Maryuri Agudelo (15), Rosmira Daza Rojas (15), Lida
Barranca (8), Alba García (16); and Fernando Vanegas, Milciades Bonilla, Ludwin Fernando Vanegas,
Xiomara García, Mario Galvis, Frey Monoga Villamizar, Mónica Abello, Maribel Daza, Amalio Neite
González, Myriam Arévalo, José Agudelo, María Panqueva, Ludo Vanegas, Adela Carrillo, Alcides
Bonilla, Fredy Mora, and their next of kin, as a result, not only of the conduct of the agents of the
State, but also of the failure of the State to provide an effective response in terms of investigating
the attacks and establishing the responsibility of those who orchestrated the acts. The State, for its
part, rejected the submissions of the petitioners as regards to the alleged violations of rights
protected by the American Convention and argued the supervening lack of competence of the
Commission to examine the case because the State has investigated, prosecuted, and convicted
those responsible for the acts.
3.
Having examined the arguments as to fact and law offered by the parties, the
Commission concluded that the State is responsible for violation of Articles 4(1), 5(1), 8(1), 19, 21,
and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and, under the principle of iura novit curia,
Article 22 thereof, as well as for breach of the general obligation to observe and ensure rights
5
In accordance with Article 17(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, Commissioner Rodrigo Escobar Gil, a
Colombian national, did not participate in the discussion or decision in the present case.

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