The Ethics Commission for Truth in Colombia
We members of the Ethical Truth Commission, who accompany the Movement of Victims of State Crimes, question and object to the decision made by the Inspector General of Colombia, Alejandro Ordoñez regarding Senator Piedad Córdoba, and we express our solidarity with her and with those who work for peace through dialogue in Colombia.
In March 2010, in an open letter to the Inspector General, which was officially received in his office, regarding the accusations against Senator Piedad Córdoba Ruiz, we requested to be heard and called on the matter. This request was never responded to. After reading the Inspector General’s decision, we see a clear absence of a legal and factual basis to support the decision to dismiss Senator Cordoba and make her ineligible for public office for 18 years, for her alleged serious offenses that constitute the crime
of “of fomenting or executing acts tending toward the formation or survival of illegal groups; or promoting them, sponsoring them, financing them...or collaborating with them.”
There are serious flaws in the evidence, such as [problems with the] chain of custody of Raúl Reyes computers, and the alteration and introduction of Word documents on the computers belonging to that commander of the FARC-EP, who was killed in a military operation that showed a serious disregard for human rights and humanitarian law. The references to recent telephone conversations between two supposed guerrillas of the Front 30 of the FARC-EP, who again supposedly refer to Piedad Córdoba, do not implicate responsibility on her part in the coordination or the sponsoring of any crime.
The conversations are between third parties that seem to refer to her.
Regarding the alleged use of the nickname “Teodora Bolivar” and e-mail conversations, the evidence shows that the circumstances of the manner, time, place and background, do not conclude that they are about Piedad Cordoba. Much of the alleged evidence, subjective interpretations, and facts mentioned in the decision do not constitute her having exceeded her functions.
Due process was not respected. The evidence requested by her defense lawyer was not completely provided. There was not a reasonable comparison of all the counter-arguments, many of which were not addressed in the decision of the Inspector General. Ordoñez’s decision expresses that mentality of crusading against terrorism that since 2001 has blurred States’ limits in use of force and law, resulting in the violation of human rights, and a medieval mentality that demonizes the expressions that do not correspond to its own mentality.
This decision expresses the position of the dominant sectors who refuse to open the possibility for a democratic opening and a solution outside of the military arena, and who refuse to profoundly discuss the problems of political, economic, social, media, and environmental exclusion in which Colombia lives. We are thus facing the criminalization of humanitarian work that seeks the humanization of war and, at the same time, we confirm how dissenting opinions that oppose the official political projects are made criminal. The decision of the Inspector General and this event seem to mark the beginning of a strategy to declare political death to the opposition with
lesser costs in terms of the right to life, and that will be expanded to include others, politicians, defenders and workers for peace. Inspector General Ordoñez’s decision sends the wrong message to Colombian society and the international community as it seeks to improve human rights at the same time that it converts itself into an obstacle to finding peace and social justice.
Many of us met Senator Córdoba last June during the 8th visit of the Ethical Truth Commission to discuss with her and representatives for other congress people, as well as international cooperation agencies, regarding the possibility of a future Truth Commission for Colombia. We listened to her strong arguments about the criminal structure that controls broad sections of Colombian society and its institutions, as is revealed in diverse national and international judgments. Likewise, we were able to observe her sensitive and respectful direct contact with communities and their representatives in the International Triathlon for the Life of the Darién in Cacarica. We have known her personally in her humanitarian work, we have been at her side in institutional conversations during her travels through Latin America, Europe and the United States seeking the humanization of the Colombian conflict.
During all these activities, her ethical position has been clearly in favor of peace, in favor of negotiated solutions, in favor of the rights of victims of violence, and that what Colombia needs is a process of clarifying the truths about the motives, the actors, and the beneficiaries of this conflict.
We express our solidarity with Senator Cordoba and our respect for her courage to want to continue forward with her actions for life and comprehensive peace wherever she is and independently of what spaces or function she is in. For the second time, we call upon the conscience of the Inspector General, that he should move away from making clearly unfounded decisions, without sound judgment. We call on the Colombian State to provide true guarantees for the defense of human rights, for victims and for workers for peace. This call is particularly important given the series of death threats and crimes committed against those who struggle for land that have occurred since August 7, which does not reflect an improvement in the situation as the government of Santos illustrates.
French Latin America Association, France
Carlos Fazio, investigator and professor at UNAM; journalist, México
Ethics Commission against Torture in Chile; Hervi Lara Bravo, Juana Aguilera
Jaramillo, Executive Secretariat, Chile
Coordinator of former Political Prisoners of Chile, Enrique Nuñez, National Counselor
of the National Human Rights Institute, Chile
Christian Community of Saint Thomas, Madrid, Spain
Eduard Nachmann, teacher, son of disappeared; Carlos Alberto Rice, members of H.I.J.O.S. in Buenos Aires City, Argentina
Enrique Santiago, lawyer, Institute of Political Studies for Latin America and Africa, Spain
Francois Houtart, theologian, sociologist, professor emeritus at Louvain University, director of the Tricontinental Center (CETRI), and founding member of the World
Social Forum, Belgium
Gilberto Rivas y López, anthropologist, professor at the Anthropology and History Institute, Mexico
Libertad Sánchez, Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory of Merida and Comarca, Spain
Lorenzo Loncon; werken comunidad mapuche newen mapa, Mapuche Nation
Mary Bricker-Jenkins, PhD, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, United States
Miguel Álvarez, president of Serapaz, Mexico
Mirta Acuña de Baravalle; Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo - Línea Fundadora, Argentina
Landless Movement, Brazil
School of the Americas Watch (SOA WATCH), United States
Rainer Huhle, Human Rights Center of Nuremberg, Germany
Rick Ufford Chase; Executive Director of Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, EEUU
Sean Hawkey, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland
Stephen Haymes, De Paul University, United States
Vicente Font Gregori, Director of the Catalan International Institute for Peace
Antonio Pigrau Solé Espai Catalunya - Ethical Commission, Spain