Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Colombia to Inter-American Court

July 28, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case 12.416, Santo Domingo Massacre, with respect to Colombia.

The case has to do with a bombing carried out on December 13, 1998, by the Colombian Air Force in the village of Santo Domingo, municipality of Tame, in the department of Arauca. Specifically, a cluster bomb was dropped on the village, killing 17 civilians, including 4 boys and 2 girls, and wounding 27 civilians, including 4 boys and 5 girls. In addition, following the explosion of the device, the public force continued its aerial bombing of civilians who were trying to help the wounded and those trying to escape the village. Following these events, the entire population of Santo Domingo moved away and in 1999 returned to rebuild their homes. In the report on the merits of the case, the IACHR concluded that these acts remain in impunity, as the State did not conduct serious, effective investigations to identify the masterminds and other perpetrators and impose the appropriate punishments.

The case was sent to the Inter-American Court on July 8, 2011, because the Commission deemed that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in the report on the merits.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 77/11