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Parliamentary questions
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8 July 2010
E-5238/2010
Question for written answer E-5238/2010
to the Commission
Rule 117
Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL)

 Subject: Threats against the judiciary in Colombia
 Answer in writing 

The Colombian judge María Stella Jara has gone into exile in the face of threats made against her and her family. She sentenced Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega to 30 years’ imprisonment for the disappearance of 11 individuals in 1985, while the Palace of Justice was being stormed. Although the judge had asked for protection, it was not forthcoming on the terms that she had requested. All the specialist judges of Bogotá issued a statement rejecting the threats and calling for greater protection for Judge Jara.

Colonel Plazas Vega is currently in the Bogotá Military Hospital, but the Colombia National Institute for Legal Medicine’s reports confirm that ‘he is not suffering from mental or physical illness’. Although he was sentenced to go to prison immediately, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute has not proceeded to jail him. Furthermore, when the verdict was announced, Álvaro Uribe, while still President, issued statements describing the sentence as ‘an excess of action on the part of the courts’.

In its resolution E/CN.4/RES/2005/81, the United Nations Committee on Human Rights states its conviction that ‘impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that constitute crimes (…) is a fundamental obstacle to the observance and full implementation (…) of human rights and international humanitarian law’. The European Council, in the conclusions of the 2678th Council Meeting, commended the work of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia and urged a prompt implementation of the UNHCHR’s recommendations.

Is the Commission aware of the threats, and the failure to implement the sentence handed down by Judge Jara? How does it view these facts?

Given that the EU has recently signed a multi-party Trade Agreement with Colombia, and given that one of its principles is its commitment to human rights, does the Commission intend to deal with this issue within the framework of the Trade Agreement? Does the Commission think that the facts set out above are compatible with this Agreement?

Original language of question: ESOJ C 191 E, 01/07/2011
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