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Saturday, June 30, 2007


Flowers for the Criminals, Impunity and Indolence for the Victims
'Public Statement'

(Translated by Micheál Ó Tuathail, a CSN volunteer translator)

The Memorias Campaign Against Silence and Impunity – No More State
Crimes expresses before the national and international community the
following position in relation to the voluntary testimony of Fredy
Rendón Henao, also known as 'el Alemán':

1. Yesterday, 5 June 2007, marked the beginning of the voluntary
testimony of Fredy Rendón Henao, alias 'el Alemán', leader of the
paramilitary bloc Elmer Cárdenas, which operates in the departments of
Antioquia, Chocó, Córdoba, Santander, and Cundinamarca and which is
responsible for hundreds of crimes against humanity including:
extrajudicial executions, massacres, forced disappearances, torture,
forced displacement, rape, and the appropriation of the collective
lands of campesino, black, and indigenous communities.
2. As part of the activities of the Campaign, the Memoria Gallery was
organized in the Plazoleta de la Dignidad, located near the Justice
building in the La Alpujarra Administrative Center in the city of
Medellín. Among those present at the gallery were victims of
paramilitarism and the social and human rights organizations who
accompany and represent those victims. They demanded truth, justice,
and reparations for all damages suffered.
3. At the same time, a group of demobilized (paramilitaries) from the
Elmer Cárdenas bloc and people from Urabá, who with banners, music,
posters and flowers screamed slogans of appreciation to their leader
and proceeded to occupy the same space where victims had congregated
to dignify the memories of their loved ones and demand their rights.
From the outset, the demobilized had the clear intention of displacing
and silencing the victims; as a result of fear and indignation, many
of the victims and their supporters decided to leave.
4. As the day progressed, 'el Alemán's' men celebrated all around the
Palace of Justice complete with a vallenato and salsa musical group.
The paramilitary leader directly thanked them, waving from a sixth
floor window during the course of the actual judicial proceedings.
5. This action was directed by three known paramilitary leaders from
the Urabá region, who filmed and photographed participants of the
Campaign and the victims present. They persisted until confronted by
members of the Unidad de Derechos Humanos de la Personería de
Medellín, who demanded that they stop such acts of intimidation and
hostility against the victims. These acts constitute both yet another
affront to the memory and dignity of the victims as well as acts of
aggression, which resulted in the Campaign deciding to terminate its
symbolic action and removed the Memoria Gallery.
6. The attitude assumed by 'el Alemán' and his group makes clear the
public opinion that material and substantive actions, which involve
the fulfilment of the requirements of eligibility for the granting of
benefits conceded by Constitutional Court's Law 975 of 2005 and that
of Sentencing 370 of 2006, will NOT be carried out. There are no
gestures of repentance on the parts of the participants, showing that
the haughtiness persists, as does the justification of acts of terror
and intimidation they carried out in the territories under their
7. In the trial of paramilitary leader Fredy Rendón Henao, alias 'el
Alemán', he did not confess to the systematic crimes perpetrated by
the paramilitary structures under his command and limited himself to
alleging that all of the victims were members of insurgent groups who
had been 'neutralized', that which generated indignation among the
trial's attendees. One must highlight that, in his voluntary
testimony, he will not openly and truthfully confess, thereby impeding
the granting of the benefits of the Justice and Peace Law awarded to
paramilitaries under this exceptional process. This should oblige the
Public Prosecutor to suspend said procedure and send the penal
processes back to the ordinary judicial process.
8. The Campaign once again condemns the attitude of the Public
Prosecutor, represented by Prosecutor 19, sent before the Justice and
Peace Tribunal, who persists in denying the participation of victims
and their representatives, with full faculties, in the development of
the voluntary testimonies, a fact that has been recognized in various
statements by the Constitutional Court. The argument of the public
official was that the process of paramilitary demobilization is being
carried out in a state of war, a situation that does not generate
secure conditions for the victims to participate neither directly nor
through representatives in the act of confronting their victimizers.
However, when 'el Alemán' wanted the direct presence of victims in the
trial, the Public Prosecutor obliged. This puts in plain view the
influence afforded the victimizer by the penal process and the
obstacles put in place for the victims in the legitimate exercise of
their rights.
9. The right of victims to hear voluntary testimonies of
paramilitaries is seen newly limited by the Public Prosecutor in his
reaffirmation of disallowing the televised broadcast of the trials. In
a 'supposed' process of demobilizing paramilitary structures, it is
necessary that the public hear the full and true confessions of the
trials; it is a humanitarian right to know what occurred during the
decades of war against the civil population.
10. Prosecutor 19 also rejected the petition by the victims and their
representatives to access the content of other voluntary testimony
proceedings already carried out by members of the Elmer Cárdena bloc,
which would establish the links between members of this paramilitary
group as well as the extent of responsibility of State agents.

Given the preceding, we demand:

1. That the full exercise of the rights of victims to truth, justice,
and reparations be guaranteed. It is also demanded that the
attribution of benefits comply exactly with the terms of Law 975 of
2005 and Sentence C 370-06.
2. That the voluntary testimonies of all paramilitaries in accordance
with Law 975 of 2005 be presented publicly, as promised by the
national government.
3. That the National Public Prosecutor, the Attorney General, the
Defender of the People, and the CNRR guarantee respect for the dignity
and memory of the victims.
4. That the National Public Prosecutor move forward with respective
organizations to establish the identity of paramilitaries, demobilized
members, and intelligence agents of the State who have followed,
harassed, filmed, and photographed victims and members of social and
human rights organizations aligned with the Regional Movement of
Victims of State Crimes and the Memorias Campaign Against Silence and
5. That the national, departmental, and regional governments, as well
as judicial and state controlled organisms, guarantee the lives,
security, and personal integrity of the victims, their
representatives, and social and human rights organizations of the
department of Antioquia who demand truth, justice, and full

We urge that the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, the
diplomatic body, and the international community establish an
observation office that would oversee the voluntary testimonial trials
of the paramilitaries and accompany victims who are demanding the
fulfilment of their rights.


Asamblea Regional de Derechos Humanos
Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado
Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos desaparecidos (Asfaddes)
Asamblea Regional de Derechos Humanos de Antioquia
Nodo Antioquia de la Coordinación Colombia Estados Unidos
Colectivo de derechos humanos Semillas de Libertad (CODEHSEL)
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT)
Asociación de Institutores de Antioquia (ADIDA)
Asonal Judicial
Red Juvenil de Medellín
Instituto Popular de Capacitación (IPC)
Grupo interdisciplinario por los derechos humanos (GIDH)
Capítulo de derechos humanos del Polo Democrático Alternativo
Corporación El Solar
Comité Permanente Héctor Abad Gómez
Red Europea de Hermandad y Solidaridad con Colombia
Corporación Cultural La Aldaba
Asociación Campesina de Antioquia
Comité de Derechos Humanos Gustavo Marulanda
Campaña por la Vida y la Libertad
Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos
Fundación Sumapaz
Cristianos y Cristianas por la Justicia y la Paz
Corporación Jurídica Libertad.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621
e-mail:  csn@igc.org



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