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The resource with which they seek to expose the violation of rights in the agrarian strike of 2013

The resource with which they seek to expose the violation of rights in the agrarian strike of 2013

Photo: Carlos Rosas – Óscar Pérez

A few months after a decade of the 2013 Agrarian Strike, some protesters continue to ask the justice system to repair them for the damage that, apparently, the Mobile Anti-riot Squad (Esmad) of the Police caused while containing the days of manifestation. The Constitutional Court could hear the specific case of some peasants from Florencia, Caquetá, who denounced the violation of rights in the middle of a sit-in they staged. Judge Jorge Enrique Ibáñez filed an appeal requesting that the file be analyzed as it is a new case.

The Agrarian Strike, which lasted almost a month and had producers, truck drivers, students and peasants as protagonists, was registered due to a series of differences in the agrarian sector regarding the costs of agricultural inputs, the purchase prices of products for export that did not benefit to the Colombian agricultural sector and the prohibition by the national government on the use of national seeds for crops in exchange for the purchase of foreign seeds, especially those brought from the United States.

The nonconformity of the agricultural sector ended up taking its toll on former President Juan Manuel Santos, who at some point announced that the strike did not exist, however, while the former head of state was unaware of what was happening in the different regions, peasants and farmers faced the Police who were in charge of clearing the main roads that ended up blocked by sit-ins and demonstrations. The specific case that Judge Ibáñez asks to be analyzed is that of a group of peasants who had clashes with Esmad.

The events occurred on the road that leads from Florencia to Montañita and that crosses the neighborhoods of La Cabaña, Los Ángeles and Prados Del Norte, neighborhoods where the plaintiffs live. What the file says is that as a result of the clashes, the peasants were victims of aggression by the Police and Esmad. What they denounced was that they suffered the effects of tear gas, stun bombs and stones that were thrown at their houses.

In the lawsuit they explained that “when the Police began to unblock the road that leads to the Florencia airport, the protesters, seeing the pressure from the Police, decided to flee and moved to the Los Ángeles, Prados del Norte and La Cabaña neighborhoods; The National Police, with the aim of preventing their escape, directed their attacks at these neighborhoods, launching tear gas and stun bombs, several of these devices impacted our houses and some of us ran away, but others were left in shock without being able to move from there.”

According to the plaintiffs, the damage to the houses was so serious that, in 2015, it led them to file an appeal for direct reparation against the Police and the Ministry of Defense. The case reached the office of the Second Administrative Court of Florence and in the first instance sentence they were partially right. Specifically, he considered that the damage was demonstrated in the file, as well as the failure of the service by the Police. With that analysis there was a conviction for moral damages.

Police appealed the decision. The peasants also did so, arguing that the punishment was not properly assessed. The Administrative Court of Cundinamarca heard the file and ended by saying that only some damages were recorded and not all of those who filed the appeal. That is to say, not only were they not able to get more money in the sentence, but also, the payment was withdrawn for some peasants. With that refusal, they filed a tutela action because they considered that there was a biased analysis of the evidence.

Specifically, they said that the Court erred in modifying the appealed decision, since it reviewed the accreditation of the unlawful damage, which had not been alleged by the Police.” The guardianship reached the Council of State that denied the claims and with it came the challenges. The case, now, is about to reach the Constitutional Court because Judge Ibáñez asked for a clue. He considered that the case is “a novel issue, regarding which there is a need to rule on a jurisprudential line, as well as the requirement to clarify the content and scope of a fundamental right.”

“The case of the reference presents different discussions that are relevant for the constitutional debate. The first of them has to do with the possibility of clarifying the content and scope of the fundamental right to due process in the framework of direct reparation processes, and the scope of the functions of the contentious administrative judges of second instance”, says the insistence of the magistrate.

For Judge Ibáñez, it is clear that the Court could verify the direct reparation process that is carried out before the Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction and the constitutional jurisprudence could delve into the scope of the jurisdiction of the judicial authority in the second instance.

To learn more about justice, security and human rights, visit the Judicial section of The viewer.

Source: Elespectador

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