Washington.- The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights celebrate a judgment issued yesterday by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACourt), which held the State of Colombia responsible for failing to provide justice in the case of journalist Nelson Carvajal, who was murdered in 1998.
In the judgment, the InterAmerican Court highlighted the negative impact that the combination of violence and impunity has on both journalists and their families, as well as on society at large and how this has resulted in the fact “that diverse communities in Colombia do not receive information on issues that affect them, such as the armed conflict, organized crime, drug trafficking and political corruption.”
“This decision is a historic milestone in the fight against impunity and in favor of freedom of expression in the Americas. Justice has been achieved by Nelson and his relatives, who had to endure the suffering and anguish for a mourning that included the forced exile of many of them” expressed Gustavo Mohme, IAPA’s president and the director of Peruvian newspaper La República.
“Our work that led to this sentence could not have been carried out without valuable support and legal and judicial support from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights,” Mohme added. “We hope that this decision opens a new chapter in the countries of the region on how to ensure effective and timely justice that serves as a mechanism to protect journalism and, as a result, the right of the whole society to be informed,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.
According to Kennedy and Mohme, “this is a key decision for the fight against impunity for crimes against journalists not only in Colombia but throughout the region, because it clearly exposes the direct relation that violence has on freedom of the press when adequate protection measures are not in place, and when the State does not investigate and punish those responsible.”
Nelson Carvajal Carvajal was murdered on April 16, 1998 in Pitalito (Huila), Colombia, where in addition to being a teacher and director of a school, he worked as a radio journalist on the Radio Sur Broadcaster, affiliated with the national network RCN.