Colombia: Report of Judge Delegates of the Colombia Caravana | Report

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In April, 2013 the judge delegates of the Colombia Caravana issued the report of their findings. The Honourable Carol Huddart, retired justice of the BC Court of Appeal, attended the Caravana on behalf of LRWC. The judges found, inter alia, that:

“[i]n all regions visited by the Caravana serious concerns were raised about the lack of respect for the judiciary and the levels of impunity and challenges to access to justice which follow from this. Judges across Colombia face stigmatisation and threats. The judges explained that their decisions are frequently treated with contempt, particularly by government and local authorities. Hopes that denigration and persecution of jurists would end under the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos have not been realised. Their experience has been that the persecution has been getting worse.”

As a result of their findings, the judge delegates strongly recommended:

  • that the protection of judges at risk be improved and that the burden of costs 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 President explicitly and publicly reiterate his commitment to a more respectful attitude towards the judiciary in words and deeds
  • that the President not make any further negative statements about judges or the judiciary
  • that the President explicitly support the judiciary as a partner and one of the essential powers in Colombia, thus breaking the circle
  • that the President seek to ensure that all governmental authorities assume the same attitude, including the principle that the decisions of Judges – as a rule – should be implemented and followed and that dissatisfaction with any judicial decision should not give rise to, or provide reason for, negative statements but rather to acceptance or an appeal.