Humanidad Vigente and CPDH-Arauca ["Actual Humanity" and "Permanent Committee to defend Human Rights of Arauca"] repudiate and reject the murder of a woman jusge in Saravena, Arauca
(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator )
Gloria Constanza Goana, the criminal circuit judge of Saravena, who was trying the case of the rape of two girls, 13 and 14 years old, and the murder of one of them together with their 6 and 9 year-old little brothers, which occurred last October in Tame, was murdered this Tuesday morning by an assassin in the municipality of Saravena in Arauca.
Humanidad Vigente and the Permanent Committee to defend Human Rights of Arauca repudiate and deeply lament the murder of the judge and the consequences that this assault against life and justice will have in the development of the trial that the judge was currently conducting against Sub-lieutenant Raúl Muñoz Linares, the confessed rapist of the two minors and presumed to be the murderer of the young Jaimes Torres brothers. The events occurred in the month of October of 2010, when the military officer commanded the "Buitres 2" [Vultures 2"—SC], which is part of the Mobile Brigade No. 5 of the National Army.
Humanidad Vigente, the representative of the victims, believes that this case illustrates how the mechanisms of impunity are utilized, mechanisms that applied to thousands of cases like this in Colombia of grave violations of human rights, and especially of the rights of boys and girls and adolescents: delaying maneuvers by the defense, threats against the witnesses, judicial persecution, and now the murder of the judge of Saravena, Doctor Gloria Constanza Gaona.
Among those delayingh maneuvers we find the withdrawal of 4 lawyers in 5 months, requests to suspend hearings on 2 occasions, defense lawyers attending preliminary hearings without the pertinent documents, the fact that the officer was not sent to Saravena on the indicated dates, that they try to get freedom for the only person arrested because the prescribed time had elapsed, as the judge pointed out in her last intervention in this case.
In the month of February, Humanidad Vigente and the Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights denounced at the national and international level the threats and intimidations to which the potential witnesses in the case and the inhabitants of the rural community of Caño Camame and Caño Temblador, where the terrible crimes were committed, had been subjected. Now we denounce this new assault against the administration of justice as headed by Judge Gaona, who defended the integrity of the trials she administered. In the concrete case of the trial about the children of Tame, she denounced the tricks and unjustified delays with which the defense attempted to win the liberty of Sub-lieutenant Muñoz Linares.
The trial, at the stage of preliminary hearings, has been suspended since February 23, with a date to continue it set for March 31. This new crime occurs in the framework of a clear lack of guarantees with which justice is administered in Colombia, and even more at the regional level in a department like Arauca, which has the highest level of militarization of the entire country.
The investigators must make clear the direct responsibility and the motives for the murder of Judge Gaona. It is equally necessary that an examination be carried out on the militarization of social life, and its effect on the protection of the population of Arauca, and especially of the judicial functionaries, the parties and the persons who are involved in judicial trials, since it is not possible to believe that that in broad daylight and with a high level of military and police presence, an assassin could kill the judge and get out of the commercial zone without any problems.
Unfortunately, the murder of the judge corroborates what we have denounced: lack of guarantees for truly exercising our rights, for justice and for integral reparation, as well as the risks that hover over the families of the peasants who collaborate with their testimonies, and the representatives of the victims, and human rights defense organizations, all of which creates the immediate necessity to move the trial to Bogotá, so that there may be quick and true justice.
Arauca, March 22, 2011
Board of Directors of CPDH-Arauca and Humanidad Vigente.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
Phone: (608) 257-8753
Fax: (608) 255-6621