Colombia paid out $23.6 million after losing 11 cases in the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) over a five year period, Colombian media reported Tuesday.
One of the cases was that of the assassination of Communist Senator Manuel Cepeda in 1994 which was brought to the court in 2008. The situation is worrying for the government as 50 cases are pending in the IACHR which could lead to the Colombian state paying $100 million in damages.
This information was revealed in a report sent to Congress by Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, as reported by El Tiempo newspaper. The reported stated that “the way in which the system [of the IACHR] works, neither Colombia, nor any state has won a single case or favorable ruling.”
Senator Manuel Virguez said he does not rule out the existence of a cartel which supposedly is dedicated to suing the state for high amounts of money before international institutions. Virguez said “it is worrying that in Colombia there is not a policy that guarantees the defense of national interests from various perspectives.”
The senator announced he will request that the Foreign Ministry provide a list of those who defend the state in international tribunals to establish whether they are qualified for the task.
The 11 rulings against Colombia were handed down between December 1995 and May 2010. The government is planning to create an office dedicated to defending the state against legal action.
According to newspaper El Espectador there are also cases pending in the International Court of Justice in The Hague regarding the maritime border dispute with Nicaragua and aerial coca eradication in Ecuador.