The intelligence activities of the State -DAS- serving criminal interests and political persecution

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The next President of Colombia will be taking office in a few days. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) takes this opportunity to release its report on the illegal activities of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), the Colombian State’s most important intelligence service that also directly reports to the President’s Office of the Republic.

The illegal activities of the DAS

This report, which is the result of a monitoring of several months, presents the illegal activities carried out by the DAS, as well as proceedings and ongoing trials. It stresses in particular a deep concern regarding the continuation of these criminal activities and for the obstacles to continue the ongoing investigations and proceedings, due to numerous threats.

What started out as a wire-tapping scandal or interceptions of communications, has ended up being a real investigative program, of taxing, collection of private, banking and taxes information, layouts of psychological profiles, persecutions, attacks, threats and blackmailing. The aim pursued, as expressed by the DAS itself, has been to destabilize and neutralize «individuals or organizations opposed to the government policy», reaching death threats or facilitation of homicides. This is demonstrated by the evidence gathered in the case against Jorge Noguera Cotes, one of the ex-directors of the DAS, prosecuted for the crimes of homicide, aggravated conspiracy to commit a crime, and other offences.

Among the victims of DAS are in particular the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the political parties of the opposition and human rights organizations. FIDH and its member organization, the “José Alvear Restrepo” Lawyers’ Collective, have been particularly affected and decided to request its recognition as civil party in the criminal proceedings against members of the DAS, responsible for these practices. International organizations and agencies that enjoy special diplomatic protection, such as the United Nations, the European Parliament or the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights have also been victims of illegal surveillance.

Even if the government has refused to accept its responsibility, FIDH has serious doubts as regards the alleged lack of the government’s responsibility, due to the direct subordination of the
DAS to the President as well as to the recent testimony that asserted the contrary [1].

FIDH is convinced that the information that is revealed even years later only represents the top of the iceberg. FIDH is particularly worried by the continuation of these illegal activities. Recent information obtained during the meetings with the current Director of the DAS, Felipe Munoz, and recent threats, show that the illegal acitivities of the DAS are still taking place.

FIDH calls upon all intelligence agencies of the Colombian State, and particularly the DAS, to hand over to the Prosecutor General’s Office all intelligence files on human rights defenders and their families, as well as on the other victims in the proceedings for illegal surveillance carried out by the Colombian government. It also insists that all spying activities and persecution against persons involved in legitimate activities cease.

FIDH also requests for disciplinary and criminal investigations against the highest Colombian government officials who have led or sponsored these illegal activites, to ensure that they are held accountable.

FIDH calls for the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider this political persecution within the framework of the crimes against humanity committed in Colombia that should be subject to investigation. It thereby urges the ICC Prosecutor to implement the principle of complementarity established by the Rome Statute and to act in the case the Colombian judiciary does not proceed to the identification and prosecution of the main persons responsible of these serious crimes, violating not only basic rights but the rule of law itself.

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