Inter-american court of human rights



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INTER-AMERICAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS


CASE OF THE AFRO-DESCENDANT COMMUNITIES DISPLACED FROM THE CACARICA RIVER BASIN (OPERATION GENESIS) v. COLOMBIA


JUDGMENT OF NOVEMBER 20, 2013

(Preliminary objections, merits, reparations and costs)
In the Case of the Afro-descendant Communities displaced from the Cacarica River Basin (Operation Genesis),*
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “the Inter-American Court” or “the Court”), composed as follows:**
Diego García-Sayán, President

Manuel E. Ventura Robles, Vice President

Alberto Pérez Pérez, Judge

Eduardo Vio Grossi, Judge

Roberto F. Caldas, Judge, and

Eduardo Ferrer McGregor Poisot, Judge


also present,
Pablo Saavedra Alessandri, Secretary, and

Emilia Segares Rodríguez, Deputy Secretary


pursuant to Articles 62(3) and 63(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter, “the American Convention” or “the Convention”) and Articles 31, 32, 41, 42, 65 and 67 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court (hereinafter also “the Rules of Procedure”), delivers this Judgment.
CASE OF THE AFRO-DESCENDANT COMMUNITIES DISPLACED FROM THE CACARICA RIVER BASIN (OPERATION GENESIS) v. COLOMBIA

Table of contents

I. INTRODUCTION OF THE CASE AND PURPOSE OF THE DISPUTE 4

II PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURT 6

III COMPETENCE 8

IV PARTIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY 8

A. Declaration by the State and observations of the Commission and of the representatives 8

b. Considerations of the Court 9

V PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS 10

A. Arguments of the parties and of the Commission 10

B. Considerations of the Court 12

VI PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PRESUMED VICTIMS 13

VII. EVIDENCE 15

A. Documentary, testimonial and expert evidence 15

B. Admission of the documentary evidence 16

B.1. Documentary evidence submitted after the motions and arguments brief and the answering brief 16

B.2. Documentation handed over during the public hearing by two deponents and transfer of expert opinions from other cases submitted to the Court’s consideration 19

B.3. Documentation requested in the order convening the public hearing, during this hearing, and subsequently 20

B.4. Criteria for assessing the evidence relating to testimonies or “voluntary confessions” received in the context of domestic judicial proceedings 24

C. Admission of the statements of the presumed victims, the expert witnesses, a deponent for information purposes, and a witness 26



VIII FACTS 27

A. Context 27

A.1. Geographical location 27

A.2. Demographics 28

A.3. Public order situation and acts of violence against the Cacarica communities 30

b. Background to Operations “Genesis” and “Cacarica” 33

c. “Operation Genesis” and “Operation Cacarica” 35

d. The death of Marino López 40

e. The facts relating to the alleged forced displacement 42

E.1. The alleged forced displacement 42

E.2. The displacement sites and conditions 45

f. Events following the displacement 48

g. The return of those displaced and the continuation of the acts of violence against those displaced from Cacarica 48

h. Dispossession and illegal logging on the collective territory 52

i. The jurisdictional proceedings 55

I.1. Ordinary criminal jurisdiction 55

I.2. Investigations under the special Justice and Peace procedure 64

I.3. Investigation in the disciplinary jurisdiction 65

I.4. Judicial actions filed based on the forced displacement 67

IX MERITS 68

IX.1 “OPERATION GENESIS” AND THE PARAMILITARY INCURSIONS (“OPERATION CACARICA”) AS CAUSES OF THE FORCED DISPLACEMENT OF THE COMMUNITIES OF THE CACARICA RIVER BASIN AND THE DEATH OF MARINO LÓPEZ (Articles 4, 5 and 22 of the Convention) 69

A. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 69

B. Considerations of the Court 72

B.1. Alleged violation of the right to life, personal integrity, and not to be forcibly displaced of members of the Cacarica communities owing to bombings during Operation Genesis 75

B.2. Alleged responsibility of the State in the paramilitary incursions in the Cacarica river basin and, consequently, in the incursion that resulted in an alleged violation of the rights to life and to personal integrity of Marino López, which had presumably led to the forced displacement of members of the Cacarica communities, in alleged violation of the rights to personal integrity and not to be displaced 81

IX.2. CONDITIONS OF DISPLACEMENT AND RETURN of members OF THE CACARICA COMMUNITIES FOLLOWING THE EVENTS OF FEBRUARY 1997 (Articles 5(1), 22, 17, 19, 1(1) and 2 of the Convention) 95

A. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 95

b. Considerations of the Court 101

B.1. Rights not to be displaced and to personal integrity 102

B.2. Right to protection of the family 103

B.3. Rights of children and adolescents 104

B.4. Other alleged violations 105

IX.3. DISPOSSESSION AND EXPLOITATION OF THE TERRITORIES OF THE AFRO-DESCENDANT COMMUNITIES OF THE CACARICA (Artículo 21 of the Convention) 106

A. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 106

B. Considerations of the Court 107

B.1. The harm to the individual and collective property of the communities of the Cacarica River basin 108

B.2. The illegal exploitation of the territories of the Community Council of the Communities of the Cacarica River basin 110

IX.4 CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND PROCEEDINGS AND OTHER PROCEDURES (Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention) 111

A. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 111

B. Considerations of the Court 114

B.1. Considerations on due diligence and logical lines of investigation 114

B.2. Considerations on the reasonable time 121

B.3. Considerations on the applications for amparo concerning collective ownership 122



X REPARATIONS (Application of Article 63(1) of the American Convention) 124

A. Injured party 125

A.1. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 125

A.2. Considerations of the Court 127

B. Obligation to investigate 130

B.1. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 130

B.2. Considerations of the Court 131

C. Measures of satisfaction, rehabilitation and restitution 131

C.1. Measures of satisfaction 132

C.2. Measures of rehabilitation 133

C.3. Measures of restitution 134

D. Compensation 137

D.1. Arguments of the Commission and of the parties 137

D.2. Considerations of the Court 139

E. Costs and expenses 141

F. Method of complying with the payments ordered 142



X OPERATIVE PARAGRAPHS 142




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