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Friday, 15 January 2021 16:48

20 Years of Non-compliance with the Precautionary Measures in the Case of Jineth Bedoya

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The representatives of Bedoya Lima warn on the continuing negligence, lack of commitment and disrespect for the victim by the Prosecutor's Office of the Nation. 

On December 17, the Prosecutor's Office of the Nation did not attend the meeting convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up on the implementation of the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in favor of Jineth Bedoya Lima. The Office of the Prosecutor was to report on progress in criminal investigations into the events of May 25, 2000 that threatened against the life, integrity, and freedom of speech of the journalist. 

The entity justified its failure to attend on the alleged existence of prior commitments, which is inadmissible, as the meeting had been scheduled more than a month earlier*. It appears that meeting the international obligations of the case is in the second order of priority for the entity.

It is profoundly serious that, even in view of the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Colombian State has taken no serious and effective measures to protect the life and integrity of Jineth Bedoya; and to investigate, judge and punish the events of which she was the victim.

At the last meeting to follow up on precautionary measures that was advanced in June of this year, Bedoya Lima reiterated her disapproval of the entity's lack of interest in advancing her case and stressed her dismay in the face of permanent inaction. On that occasion, the urgency of the organization's updating of the collection of evidence elements — which have been ordered more than a year ago — and the prosecution of the criminal events in which the beneficiary is registered as a victim was highlighted. 

Similarly, we note that the Office of the Prosecutor has not made progress in investigating the perpetrators of the crimes for which the journalist was a victim. The chronic lethargy of its investigations contrasts with the multiplicity of harassment that Bedoya has received in the last year, without the entity fulfilling its function of investigating these crimes and channeling further investigations. 

For the above, we warn that the Colombian State is in arrears with taking the necessary measures to guarantee the human rights of the journalist, and to comply with the measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; the inability to make progress in clarifying the events of which the journalist has been a victim is a serious sign of impunity, thereby sending a grim message in a country with extremely high rates of violence against journalists.  

The lack of due investigation and punishment of crimes against journalists is an unfortunate constant in Colombia, that undoubtedly originates the responsibility of the State, and generates a greater risk for exercising freedom of expression and of the press. The systematic lack of institutional response to crimes against the press is a self-censorship enhancer that must be structurally corrected.

 

*Update: On December 22, FLIP received a request for rectification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that "in a timely manner, the Prosecutor's Office of the Nation reported its failure to attend that meeting on the basis of the day of the Judicial Branch, as provided for in Decree 2766 of 1980". However, this was not the information shared during the December 17 meeting.