Coronel et al. v. Colombia
Children/Youth | Deprivation of Liberty
The Committee found that the State was responsible for the victims’ detention and disappearance, holding that it failed in its responsibility to take the necessary measures against the perpetrators. The Committee also found a violation of the right to liberty and security with respect to all of the victims, due to the fact that their detentions were illegal and conducted in the absence of any arrest warrants. Taking into account the circumstances of the victims' disappearances, it also made a finding of ill treatment with respect to four of them, but did not have sufficient information to determine whether the other three were subjected to the same violation.
October 24, 2002
Article 6(1) [ICCPR], Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR], Article 17(1) [ICCPR]
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 7 [ICCPR]
Facts of the Case
In January 1993, six of the victims were arrested without a warrant by troops of the Colombian National Army in the context of a military operation aimed at searching for guerrillas of the FARC. They were allegedly tortured by the soldiers, and have not been seen since. The bodies of five of them were later given back to their families by the police or the military, claiming that they had been killed in combat. From August 1995 onwards, the victims' relatives asked several times for criminal proceedings to be instituted, but were told that the matter was one for the military courts. The military criminal jurisdiction undertook various preliminary investigations, defining the incidents as “deaths in combat”. The seventh victim, aged 16, was abducted by soldiers in January 1993, while on his way home. His family members submitted a complaint about his abduction and started to search for him. His body was discovered in May 1993, clothed in uniforms used by the National Police.
All of the victims’ families reported the disappearances to the authorities at the criminal, administrative and disciplinary levels. After reporting the incidents, they were subjected to harassment. In October 1994, the authorities confirmed that the victims had been detained by members of an anti-guerrilla battalion, and concluded that the allegation that they died in the course of clashes with military units was not credible. Preliminary investigations were opened and were still pending in April 1996.