• Campaigns

UA 191/92 - Colombia: fear of extrajudicial execution: William Ocampo Castano, Maria Mercedes Mendez, Rosa Pena Rodriguez, Ernesto Zarralda, Pedro Agudelo

, Index number: AMR 23/032/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/32/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 191/92 Fear of Extrajudicial Execution 8 June 1992
COLOMBIA: William OCAMPO CASTAÑO, mayor
María Mercedes MENDEZ (female), former mayoress
Rosa PEÑA RODRIGUEZ (female), municipal treasurer
Ernesto ZARRALDA, regional political leader
Pedro AGUDELO, driver
Amnesty International has learned with concern of the killing of William Ocampo,
María Mercedes Méndez, Rosa Peña Rodríguez, Ernesto Zarralda and Pedro Agudelo, all
members of the legal left-wing coalition party Patriotic Union, Unión Patriótica,
(UP) on 3 June 1992 in circumstances suggesting they may have been victims of
extrajudicial execution.
According to reports, the victims had travelled from El Castillo, Meta department
to the departmental capital, Villavicencio, on the morning of 3 June to lodge an
official complaint, denuncia, with regional authorities about human rights violations
against the civilian population by the Colombian armed forces. The UP authorities
had also reportedly denounced
repeated death threats they received. The party left Villaviciencio at approximately
3 pm and was returning to the town of El Castillo when, at approximately 5.30 pm,
their vehicle was attacked at a point known as Caño Cebado, 1 km from the town of
Granada, by a group of heavily armed men, some of whom were reportedly wearing army
uniforms. Hand grenades were reportedly thrown at the vehicle and then the victims
were shot at close range. One man survived, with head injuries. There is a heavy
military presence throughout the region where the killings took place but despite
the close proximity of two army bases, in El Castillo and Granada, the gunmen escaped.
William Ocampo was the recently-elected UP mayor of El Castillo and had been in office
for only three days. María Mercedes Méndez was the town's outgoing mayoress. Rosa
Peña Rodríguez was the municipal treasurer, Ernesto Zarralda an official from the
town's Municipal Technical Assistance Unit, Unidad Municipal de Asistencia Técnica
and Pedro Agudelo, the driver of the vehicle.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Coinciding with a escalating offensive by the Colombian armed forces against the
armed opposition group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in the department of Meta, Amnesty
International has received an increasing number reports of human rights violations
against non-combatant civilians by army personnel in the areas undergoing
counter-insurgency operations. Abuses against the civilian population have included
arbitrary arrest, torture, "disappearance" and extrajudicial execution. Victims are
principally peasant farmers in areas which have for many years been dominated by
the FARC and also the leaders and members of the legal left-wing coalition party
Unión Patriótica (UP). The UP was created in 1985 as a result of a peace process
between the FARC (and other guerrilla groups) and the government. Many former FARC
guerrillas who were amnestied during the peace process and returned to civilian life
became members of the UP. Since that peace process was aborted in 1985 the leaders
and members of the UP have been subject to a systematic campaign of intimidation
and physical elimination: the UP claims that over 1,500 of its members have been
victims of politically motivated killings. The majority of these killings have been
attributed by Colombian authorities to paramilitary groups which it claims it is
unable to control. However independent investigations, including judicial inquiries
have concluded that many such groups operate under the command or with the support
of the Colombian security forces.
Page 2 of UA 191/92
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters:
- expressing serious concern at the killing of UP members William Ocampo, María
Mercedes Méndez, Rosa Peña Rodríguez, Ernesto Zarralda and Pedro Agudelo in
circumstances suggesting they were victims of extrajudicial execution;
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough inquiry into the killings, the
results of which should be made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging that the authorities take all possible measures to protect members of
opposition parties, so that they can carry out their lawful activities in safety.
APPEALS TO
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/
Presidente de la República Dear President Gaviria
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Gaviria, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 3066, + 57 1 286 7324, + 57 1 287 7937
2) Minister of Defence:
Dr. Rafael Pardo Rueda Sr. Ministro/
Ministro de Defensa Nacional Dear Minister
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa Pardo Rueda, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
3) Commander of the Armed Forces:
General Manuel Murillo González Sr. Comandante/
Comandante del Ejército Dear Commander
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Comandante del Ejercito, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:43401 COEJC
4) Minister of Justice:
Fernando Carillo Sr. Ministro/
Ministro de Justicia Dear Minister
Ministerio de Justicia
Carrera 15, No 9-63
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General, Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
2) Human Rights and Educational Organization:
Señores, CINEP
AA 25916
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 20 July 1992.

Choose a language to view report