The Commission invoked Articles 50 and 51 of the American Convention on
Human Rights (hereinafter "the Convention" or "the American Convention") and
Article 26 and following of the Rules of Procedure. The Commission submitted this
case to the Court for a decision as to whether Colombia had violated Articles 4 (Right
to Life), 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a
Fair Trial), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), all read in conjunction with Article
1(1) of the Convention which establishes the duty to respect and ensure those
rights, to the detriment of Isidro Caballero-Delgado and María del Carmen Santana.
In addition, "based on the principle of pacta sunt servanda," the Commission alleged
that the Government had violated Article 2 of the Convention, by not adopting the
domestic legal measures which give effect to those rights, and Article 51(2) in
conjunction with 29(b) of the Convention, by not carrying out the recommendations
of the Commission. The Commission asked the Court to require the Government to
"institute the investigations necessary to identify the responsible parties and impose
punishment . . . inform the relatives of the victims of the latter's whereabouts . . .
[declare that] it must remedy the acts committed by government agents and pay
fair compensation to the victims' next of kin . . . [and order it] to pay the costs and
attorney's fees of these proceedings."
According to the Commission, on February 7, 1989, Isidro Caballero-Delgado
and María del Carmen Santana were captured in the District of Guaduas, in the
jurisdiction of the Municipality of San Alberto, Department of El Cesar, Colombia, by
a military patrol composed of units of the Colombian Army stationed at the Líbano
military base (jurisdiction of San Alberto), attached to the Fifth Brigade
headquartered in Bucaramanga. The detention took place because of Isidro
Caballero's active involvement over an eleven year period as a leader of the
Santander Teachers' Union. He had been held previously in the Model Prison of
Bucaramanga for the crime of illegally carrying arms and was released in 1986. From
that time, however, he was constantly harassed and threatened. María del Carmen
Santana, "about whom the Commission has very little information, [also] was a
member of the Movement April 19 (M-19)" and worked with Isidro Caballero
enlisting community participation for the "Meeting for Coexistence and
Normalization" which was to be held on February 16, 1989 in the Municipality of San
Alberto. This activity had been planned by the "Regional Dialogue Committee" and
involved "organizing meetings, fora, and debates in various regions in an effort to
find a political solution to the armed conflict."
The application alleges that on February 7, 1989, Elida González-Vergel, a
peasant woman who was passing the place where the victims were captured, was
detained by the same Army patrol and later releas-ed. She saw Isidro CaballeroDelgado, wearing a camouflage military uniform, and a woman who was with them.
Javier Páez, a resident of that region who served as the victims' guide, was detained
by the Army, tortured, and later set free. From the interrogation to which he was
subjected and the radio communications of the military patrol that detained him, he
learned of the detention of Isidro Caballero-Delgado and María del Carmen Santana.
After his release, he notified the unions and political organizations to which they
belonged. They, in turn, notified the relatives of the detained individuals.
The application adds that Isidro Caballero-Delgado's family and various union
and human rights organizations began to search for the detainees at the military
facilities. They were told that Isidro Caballero-Delgado and María del Carmen
Santana had not been detained. Legal and administrative actions were brought in an
attempt to establish the whereabouts of the two persons who had disappeared and

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