October 18, 2021 goes down in history as the day that a struggle, which began with an individual crime, led to the revindication of the rights of thousands of women victims and survivors of sexual violence and women journalists who leave part of their lives in their profession. said Jineth Bedoya, journalist, victim and survivor.
On 18 October 2021 an important judgment was issued on the Colombia State by an International Court for its responsibility in the abduction, rape and torture of Jineth Bedoya Lima, an immensely courageous investigative Journalist who at the time was working for El Espectador Newspaper (one of the most important newspapers in Colombia).
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a judgement declaring the Colombian State responsible in the case of journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima for multiple violations suffered by her and her mother: threats, attacks, kidnapping, rape, sexual abuse, impunity, discrimination, damage to their integrity and other attacks.
In the Judgment of the Case of Bedoya Lima et al. v. Colombia, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the State of Colombia internationally responsible for the violation of the rights… During the events on 25 May 2000, when Ms. Bedoya was intercepted and kidnapped outside the La Modelo Prison by members of a paramilitary group and subjected to extremely violent and humiliating treatment, she suffered severe verbal, physical and sexual assault. The Court noted the existence of “serious, precise and congruent indications” of the State’s participation in such events. Press Statement IACHR
On 25 May 2000, journalist Jineth Bedoya, while investigating a story for El Espectador, into the alleged arms sales between paramilitaries and state officials. She was repeatedly raped and tortured for over ten hours. After sixteen years of the Colombian State stalling the judicial investigation into these events, three paramilitaries were convicted, but the mastermind behind her kidnapping, rape and torture has not been identified by the Court or convicted. Everything indicates that there was Police involvement.
The judgment orders, among other reparation measures,
- the creation of a state center for the memory and dignity of all women victims of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict.
- to develop a comprehensive protection policy for journalists,
- to create an investigative centre and implement a public system for the collection of current data on gender-based violence and threats against journalists and human rights defenders.
- to create a fund for the prevention, protection and assistance of women journalists who are victims of gender-based violence.
This sentence once again demonstrates the urgent need for Police reform in Colombia. The Colombian population need to be able to trust in a Police Service that will protect – and not abuse – their rights. A first step towards this Police Reform would be to remove the police from the Ministry of Defence and to re-structure and re-train it for policing during peacebuilding. This is a judicial moment to adopt corrective measures to make the rule of law function effectively, and to create state security institutions in which the population can have confidence.