REPORT No. 57/19
CASE 12.380
REPORT ON MERITS
MEMBERS OF JOSÉ ALVEAR RESTREPO LAWYERS' COLLECTIVE (CCAJAR)
COLOMBIA
May 4, 2019

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On April 19, 2001, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission,”
“the IACHR,” or “the Inter-American Commission”) received a petition lodged by José Alvéar Restrepo
Lawyers’ Collective (Corporación Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvéar Restrepo” – CCAJAR) and the Center for
Justice and International Law (CEJIL) (hereinafter “the petitioners”) alleging that the Republic of Colombia
(hereinafter “the State,” “the Colombian State”, or “Colombia”) bore international responsibility for alleged
attacks, acts of intimidation and harassment, and threats against members of CCAJAR since the 1990s and for
the failure to conduct an adequate investigation to identify and punish those responsible.
2.
According to the petitioners, those acts were carried out by either State agents or private citizens acting
with the support, acquiescence, or tolerance of public servants. They said that the State has failed to adopt the
necessary measures to ensure the safety of the organization’s members. They added that Colombia had failed
to take effective steps to prevent those acts from remaining in a state of impunity.
3.
The State, for its part, said that it has not been proved that State agents participated in the acts described
by the petitioners. It argued that it has adopted various measures at the national level to allow human rights
defenders to go about their work unimpeded. Colombia also said that its authorities have taken multiple steps
to move forward the investigations into the facts and that in some cases the persons responsible were
punished.
4.
Having analyzed the positions of the parties, the Inter-American Commission concludes that the State
of Colombia is responsible for violation of the right to life, the right to humane treatment, the right to a fair
trial, the right to privacy, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of association, the rights of the child,
freedom of movement and residence, and the right to judicial action recognized at Articles 4 (1), 5 (1), 8 (1),
11, 13, 16, 19, 22, and 25 (1) of the American Convention, taken in conjunction with the obligations established
in Article 1 (1) thereof, to the detriment of the persons named in each section of this report.
II.

PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION AND PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES

5.
The IACHR received the original petition on April 19, 2001. The processing of the petition, from the time
it was lodged to the decision on admissibility, is detailed in Report on Admissibility 55/06.1 In that report the
IACHR found that the alleged facts could constitute violations of Articles 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, 16, 22, and 25 of the
American Convention in connection with Articles 1.1 and 2 thereof.
6.
The parties were notified of the report on admissibility on October 10, 2006. In the same
communication, the Commission placed itself at the disposal of the parties with a view to reaching a friendly
settlement. On November 5, 2009, the Commission held a hearing in the course of its 137th session. On
December 20, 2013, the petitioners presented a brief containing their observations on merits. The
Commission relayed that communication to the State on March 13, 2014, and gave it the regulation period of
four months to present additional observations. The State submitted its observations on merits on January 23,
2015 and December 16, 2015. In addition, after the adoption of the report on admissibility, the Commission
received various communications and documents from both parties, all of which were duly relayed to the
other party.

IACHR, Report No. 55/06, Petition 12.380, Admissibility, Members of José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, Colombia, July 20, 2006.
Available at http://cidh.org/annualrep/2006eng/COLOMBIA.12380eng.htm
1

1

Select target paragraph3