Colombia: Colombia Caravana 2014 – Judges at Risk – Report of the Judge Delegates of the Colombia Caravana | Report

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The IV International Caravana Delegation of Lawyers to Colombia visited Colombia from August 23 to August 31, 2014. About 70 members from 12 countries, including five judges, visited seven regions: Bucaramanga, Buenaventura, Cali, Cartagena, Medellín, Pasto and Santa Marta. The judges, from Canada, the UK, the US and the Netherlands, concentrated on Bucaramanga, Cali and Medellín. They held meetings with colleague judges, with NGO’s and with authorities. In Bogota they had – among others – a meeting with the President of the Sala Penal of the Supreme Court.

This Report follows on from the Colombia Caravana and makes the following recommendations:

We conclude that we have to maintain all the recommendations of the 2012 report, quoted at the beginning of this report. In addition, we want to recommend that the judiciary be provided with sufficient resources in general, but particularly in Land Restitution cases and cases under the Justice and Peace Law. Summing up, we recommend:

  • that an analysis be made of the needs of the judiciary to carry out its task properly, in terms of personnel, staff, training, premises, IT and all other resources,
  • that funds be allocated to meet those needs,
  • that the protection of judges at risk be improved and that the burden of the cost of that protection be taken from them,
  • that all threats or attacks against the physical integrity of judges and their families be investigated with appropriate resources and the perpetrators prosecuted promptly,
  • that the disciplining of judges be returned to the judiciary,
  • that the government explicitly and publicly affirm its commitment to a more respectful attitude towards the judiciary in words and deeds,
  • that the government desist from any further negative statements about judges or the judiciary,
  • that the government explicitly support – without reservation – the judiciary as a partner and one of the essential powers in Colombia.