Mapiripán Massacre v. Colombia

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Judicial Protection | State/Non-State Agents | Effective Remedy | Children/Youth

Themes: Persons and Groups Affected | Prevention | Related Crimes | Search

The Court noted that the State had accepted responsibility for violating the rights to life, to humane treatment and to personal liberty in relation to 12 victims only, and found that this limited admission was inconsistent with the State’s admission of responsibility for the wider massacre in which at least 49 individuals had been killed. As regards the violations of the rights to humane treatment and personal liberty, the Court held that it was possible to draw an inference from the facts that the victims had been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and subjected to torture or grave cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, before they were executed. The Court also found that the victims' next of kin had suffered damage as a result of the victims’ disappearance and execution, due to the lack of State support in the search for the missing, the lack of a complete and effective investigation of the facts, and the fear of being subject to threats. This affected their physical and psychological wellbeing, their social and work relations, and their family dynamics.

Amongst the reparations ordered, the State was required to individually identify the victims who were disappeared and executed. In order to facilitate individual identification, the Court stipulated that the State should publish a national announcement regarding the search for the disappeared, and should establish a genetic information system. The State was also ordered to establish an official mechanism to monitor compliance with the reparations ordered.

Judgment Date

September 15, 2005

Country

Colombia

Judicial Body

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 1(1) [ACHR], Article 2 [ACHR], Article 4(1) [ACHR], Article 5 [ACHR], Article 7 [ACHR], Article 8(1) [ACHR], Article 25(1) [ACHR], Article 25(2)(a) [ACHR], Article 27(3) [ACHR]

Facts of the Case

Between 15 and 20 July 1997, 49 individuals were massacred by paramilitaries with the collaboration and acquiescence of members of the National Army who facilitated their arrival in the municipality of Mapiripán, in Meta. The victims were detained, tortured, executed or disappeared, which provoked a massive displacement of the region's inhabitants.

The security forces arrived in Mapiripán on 22 July 1997, after the massacre had ended and after the arrival of the media, when the paramilitaries had already destroyed much of the physical evidence.

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