of Medellín found Fidel Castaño Gil and nine other persons guilty and sentenced them to 12 to 30 years in prison, and the payment of fines for the crimes of multiple homicide, conspiracy, kidnapping, illegal possession of arms for exclusive use of the official forces, and violation of Decree 1194 of 1997. The verdict was appealed and on December 30, 1997, the Tribunal Nacional nullified the proceeding with respect to those victims from Pueblo Bello whose remains had not been found. The State indicates that this judgment modified the penalties and ordered an investigation into co-conspirators not included in the original indictment.5 It alleges that Mr. José Rodríguez Urquijo accepted the charges of kidnapping for extortion, aggravated homicide, and formation of paramilitary groups in this trial, and was sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty. The case was referred to the Supreme Court of Justice on a motion for cassation. 17. As regards the trial of Army members for their alleged participation in the facts that are the subject matter of the instant case, the State refers to four decisions of the military criminal courts. First, on January 21, 1992, two resolutions of acquittal were handed down. On September 11, 1995, the General Command of the Colombian Armed Forces issued a writ of prohibition in which it ruled that there were not sufficient grounds to formally open a criminal investigation. Finally, on April 14, 1998, the National Army stated its position and argued that associating the Armed Forces with the facts is based merely on assumptions and generic accusations, not any concrete evidence. Therefore, it concludes that given the results of the judicial and disciplinary investigations, liability is attributable exclusively to the paramilitary group, and not to members of the Army.6 18. The State also reports that on November 27, 1991, the Office of the Delegate Procurator for Human Rights decided to archive two disciplinary proceedings against two Army officers, and to open another investigation into the possible participation of other state agents. On March 10, 1999, charges were filed against an Army lieutenant, but on July 31, 2000, the Office of the Delegate Procurator for Human Rights handed down a ruling absolving the accused of liability.7 IV. ANALYSIS OF COMPETENCE AND ADMISSIBILITY A. Competence 19. The petitioners are authorized by Article 44 of the American Convention to submit complaints to the IACHR. The petition identifies as the alleged victims individual persons with respect to whom Colombia undertook to respect and ensure the rights enshrined in the American Convention. As regards the State, the Commission notes that Colombia has been a State Party to the American Convention since July 31, 1973, when the respective instrument of ratification was deposited. Accordingly, the Commission is competent ratione personae to examine the petition. 20. The Commission is competent ratione loci to take cognizance of the petition insofar as it alleges violations of rights protected in the American Convention in the territory of a State party to that treaty. The IACHR is competent ratione temporis since the obligation to respect and ensure the rights protected in the American Convention was already in force for the State at the time when the incidents are alleged to have occurred. Finally, the Commission is competent ratione materiae because the petition alleges violations of human rights protected by the American Convention. B. Admissibility Requirements 1. Exhaustion of domestic remedies and time period for submitting the petition 5 The Commission learned that on March 8, 2001, the Chamber of Criminal Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice decided not to set aside the ruling challenged by Pedro Hernán Ozaga Pantoja, Judgment of the Chamber of Criminal Cassation of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Colombia, March 8, 2001. 6 Communication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, December 5, 2000. 7 Id. 4

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