REPORT Nº 112/99*
Case 11.603
ALVARO LOBO PACHECO ET AL. (19 MERCHANTS)
COLOMBIA
September 27, 1999
I.

SUMMARY

1. On March 6, 1996, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the
Commission") received a petition submitted by the Colombian Commission of Jurists
(hereinafter "the petitioners") against the Republic of Colombia (hereinafter "the State," "the
Colombian State," or "Colombia") for the alleged forced disappearance of Alvaro Lobo Pacheco,
Gerson Rodríguez, Israel Pundor, Angel Barrera, Antonio Flórez Ochoa, Carlos Arturo Riatiga,
Víctor Ayala, Alirio Chaparro, Huber Pérez, Alvaro Camargo, Rubén Pineda, Gilberto Ortiz,
Reinaldo Corso Vargas, Hernán Jáuregui, Juan Bautista, Alberto Gómez, Luis Sauza, Juan
Montero, and Ferney Fernández (hereinafter "the victims") by members of the National Army
and civilians allegedly part of a paramilitary group, from October 6 to 18, 1987, in the
municipality of Puerto Boyacá, department of Boyacá, in the middle Magdalena region.
2. The petitioners allege that the State is responsible for violations of the right to life (Article
4), the right to humane treatment (Article 5), the right to personal liberty (Article 7), respect
for judicial guarantees (Article 8), and the right to judicial protection (Article 25), all in
connection with Article 1(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the
"Convention" or the "American Convention"). In addition, they allege violations of those same
rights pursuant to Articles I, XVIII, and XXVI of the American Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man (hereinafter "the American Declaration"). In arguing the admissibility of this
case, the petitioners invoke the exceptions to the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies.
3. The State provided information on the status of the proceedings in the domestic jurisdiction
to clear up the alleged disappearances without expressly questioning compliance with the
exhaustion requirement.
4. After analyzing the positions of the parties and compliance with the requirements provided
for in the Convention, the Commission decided to declare the case admissible.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

5. On March 29, 1996, the Commission proceeded to open the case under number 11,603, and
transmitted the pertinent parts of the complaint to the Colombian State, giving it 90 days to
submit information.
6. On May 21 and July 31, 1996, the State requested extensions of the term for submitting its
answer. On June 6 and August 8, 1996, the Commission granted the extensions requested.
The State submitted its answer on September 17, 1996; the pertinent parts were transmitted
to the petitioners. On December 12, 1996, the petitioners submitted their observations, which
were duly transmitted to the State.
7. On March 3, 1997, during the 95th regular session, a hearing was held on the case in which
the petitioners stated their interest in exploring the possibility of a friendly settlement. On June
18 and 19, 1997, the Commission requested additional information from the State on domestic
remedies. On October 6, 1998, during the 100th regular session of the Commission, a third
hearing was held on the case.
III.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

Position of the petitioner

8. The petitioners allege that on October 6, 1987, Alvaro Lobo Pacheco, Gerson Rodríguez,
Israel Pundor, Angel Barrera, Antonio Flórez Ochoa, Carlos Arturo Riatiga, Víctor Ayala, Alirio
* Commissioner Alvaro Tirado Mejía, of Colombian nationality, did not participate in the discussion and decision on this
Report, in keeping with Article 19(2)(b) of the Commission's Regulations.

1

Select target paragraph3