The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) condemned Colombia for failing to respond properly to the 1998 bombing of a village in the north eastern department of Arauca which killed 17 civilians.
An independent branch of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR declared before the Inter-American Court that the Colombian government failed to punish those responsible for the attack.
“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,” a statement to the court said.
The bombing, which took place December 13, 1998, was carried out by the Colombian Air Force. The attack killed 17 people, including four boys and two girls, and injured another 27, nine of whom were children. After the initial bombing the Air Force “continued its aerial bombing of civilians who were trying to help the wounded and those trying to escape the village.”
The assault resulted in the displacement of the entire population of the village of Santo Domingo until they returned to rebuild their houses the following year.
According to the petition submitted to the commission in 2003, the “[Colombian] state was responsible for violating the rights to life, humane treatment, personal liberty, and judicial protection…to the detriment to the victims and their next-of-kin.”
In their 2010 annual human rights reports, the IACHR continued to include Colombia on their human rights “black list,” citing crimes perpetrated by both state agents and illegal armed groups.