Colombia Apologizes for 1994 Extrajudicial Execution of Political Party Leader

Colombia issued a public apology, recognizing its international responsibility for the 1994 extrajudicial execution of communist Senator Manuel Cepeda Vargas in accordance with a judgment issued against the State by  the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. [IACHREl Tiempo] The state’s apology was one of the measures of reparation ordered by the Court last year.

The Inter-American Commission had alleged, and the Court agreed, that Cepeda Vargas’ assassination occurred in “the context of a systematic pattern of violence against the members of the [Patriotic Union party and Colombian Communist Party], perpetrated by the alleged operational coordination between members of the Army and the paramilitary groups under the so-called ‘coup de grâce’ plan” to kill [many hundreds of] the parties’ leadership and supporters, and that – given this context and the fact that Cepeda Vargas was the last elected official from the Patriotic Union party – his death constituted a crime against humanity. IACtHR, Manuel Cepeda Vargas v. Colombia, Judgment of May 26, 2010, Series C. No. 213, p.2-3.

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