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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Press Release

Humanidad Vigente and CPDH-Arauca ["Actual Humanity" and "Permanent Committee
to defend Human Rights of Arauca"] repudiate and reject the murder of a woman judge
in Saravena, Arauca

[Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a
CSN Volunteer Editor.]

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 delaying maneuvers we find the withdrawal of four lawyers in five 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.

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