11. The petitioners allege that in April 1990, 24 bodies were exhumed from the Las Tangas farm, six of which were identified1 as peasant farmers from Pueblo Bello. All the other victims presumably remained disappeared. They allege that even though there are indicia suggesting the location of the other corpses, the steps needed to perform new exhumations had not been taken. 12. As for the investigation by the judicial authorities, the petitioners allege that the activity of the Public Order jurisdiction in Medellín and of the Office of the Regional Prosecutor (Fiscalía Regional Delegada) did not lead to the total clarification of the facts nor to punishment of the persons responsible. They argue that even though the criminal liability of 13 persons was verified, as set out in the bases of the judgment handed down May 26, 1997, by the Regional Court (Juzgado Regional) of Medellín, only one of them was found guilty (José Aníbal Rodríguez Urquijo) and three were imprisoned (José Aníbal Rodríguez Urquijo, Héctor de Jesús Narváez, and Pedro Hernán Ozaga Pantoja). They allege that the participation of other persons accused of being involved was not looked into, and that the steps needed to recover the victims’ corpses were not taken. Seven years after the facts, the liability of several civilians for the death of six of the victims was established, but the violations committed to the detriment of the rest continue in impunity, and their bodies disappeared. Several of the accused were tried in absentia and were never arrested. The petitioners also allege that the trials held in the military criminal courts violate the principles of impartiality and independence safeguarded by the American Convention. 13. The petitioners allege, therefore, that the Colombian State is responsible for violations of Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, and 25 of the American Convention. They argue that the State should make reparation for these violations by punishing the persons responsible, locating the remains of the victims and identifying them, and paying compensation to the next-of-kin. 14. With respect to the admissibility of the claim, they argue that in this case, the admissibility requirement set forth at Article 46(1) of the American Convention does not apply, by application of the exceptions to the requirement of prior exhaustion of domestic remedies, provided for at Articles 46(2)(a) and 46(2)(c). They allege that the State has been tardy in establishing the death of 37 of the victims before the Colombian ordinary justice system. Moreover, they allege that the remedy used to clarify the responsibility of the Army members allegedly involved in the fact–the military criminal justice system–is not adequate in the terms of Article 46(2)(a) of the American Convention. B. The State’s position 15. As regards the alleged participation of state agents in the facts that are the subject matter of this case, the State argues that the members of the Army allegedly involved were acquitted by decisions handed down in the regular courts, the military criminal courts, and the disciplinary regime. The State is of the view that these decisions are reasoned and conclude that there was no link between the state agents and the acts committed by the paramilitary groups. They allege that the petitioners’ assertions are based on evidence produced before the local courts that has been taken out of context.2 16. The State alleges that the internal judicial mechanisms aimed at clarifying the facts and judging the persons responsible have worked and that they continue in the effort to locate the bodies of the other victims.3 Concretely, it presents information on the proceeding in which the Office of Regional Prosecutors in Medellín handed down an indictment of 13 civilians on November 10, 1995. In the same act, it was decided to investigate three others accused of forming armed groups, which was later confirmed by the Office of the Prosecutor before the Tribunal Nacional. The State notes that in March and April 1995, exhumation work was done in which some of the victims were located and identified.4 On May 26, 1997, the Regional Court 1 The bodies found apparently belonged to Andrés Manuel Pedroza, Juan Luis Escobar Duarte, Leonel Escobar Duarte, Ovidio Carmona Suárez, Ricardo Bohórquez, and Jorge David Martínez. 2 Communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, December 5, 2000. 3 Id. 4 Id. 3

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