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in Cali, a individuals’s courtroom to compensate for the delays in odd justice

A Folks’s Court docket has been arrange within the neighborhood of Siloé, in Cali, Colombia, to convey justice – in a symbolic method – to the victims of police repression in the course of the historic protests of 2021. In a public listening to on September 10 , households of victims got here to testify within the hope of acquiring justice, at some point, on the institutional degree. Reportage.

Microphone in hand, wearing a T-shirt with two badges displaying her brother’s face, Crisol Yurani Sánchez speaks for lengthy minutes, this Saturday, September 10, to return to the nightmare endured by her household for the reason that Might 29, 2021. That day, his 16-year-old brother was discovered charred in a retailer in Siloé, a poor neighborhood in Cali, Colombia, after he had been arrested the day earlier than by the police. “For having denounced his assassination”, his household was threatened, says the 26-year-old younger girl. With a lump in her throat, she additionally confides that they’d the impression of being “deserted by the state” of their quest for justice.

In entrance of a moved viewers, she then arms the microphone to Abelardo Aranda, wearing a shirt flocked with a photograph of his son. The 24-year-old was shot within the again on Might 28, 2021, once more in Siloam. “It is very laborious, I do not need it to occur to anybody else,” says the daddy of the household in a deep voice, his arm round his spouse’s shoulder. Visibly upset, he evokes their ache, but additionally their hopes.

Paula Sánchez and Crisol Yurani Sánchez, whose brother was discovered charred in Might 2021 in a retailer in Siloé, Cali (Colombia). © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

Each Crisol Yurani Sánchez and Abelardo Aranda converse at a public listening to held in a sober room of San Matias Apostol Church, Siloé. On the origin of this initiative: the Folks’s Court docket of Siloé, a symbolic physique created by social organizations, legal professionals and inhabitants of this district, following the demonstrations which shook Colombia final 12 months.

Throughout these historic rallies in opposition to the federal government of ex-president Iván Duque, which had lasted nearly three months, dozens of individuals had been killed, lots of them by the safety forces (amongst 25 and 47, in response to NGOs). The overwhelming majority of murders had been recorded in Cali, notably in Siloé.

>> To see: “Colombia: silence the revolt, in any respect prices”

Gradual or non-existent judicial investigations

Drawback: greater than a 12 months later, the judicial investigations are progressing slowly, and even non-existent. In line with the NGO Human Rights Watch, up to now, solely eight cops have been accused or charged for the murders of ten individuals.

“As there’s loads of impunity, we needed to create a instrument for justice to be performed, not less than on an moral degree”, explains Martha Elena Giraldo Mendoza, member of the individuals’s tribunal, formally launched on Might 3.

A vigil organized on September 9 by the People's Court of Siloam, in Cali.
A vigil organized on September 9 by the Folks’s Court docket of Siloam, in Cali. © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

For the general public listening to on September 10, the organizers bought busy from 7 a.m. to organize the corridor of the San Matias Apostol church: hanging portraits of younger individuals from Siloé killed in the course of the demonstrations, putting in the overhead projector and plastic chairs for the general public, technical checks to make sure the printed of the day stay on YouTube… An imposing purple banner was additionally displayed on the facade of the church: “All and all on the Folks’s Court docket of Siloam – Fact and justice for the victims of the nationwide strike”.

“Systematic” human rights violations

The listening to lastly started round 9:30 a.m., within the presence of households of victims and a Bolivian, a Cuban and an Argentinian acknowledged for his or her dedication to human rights, who had made the journey. to play the function of “worldwide magistrates”. All through the morning, the “technical secretariat” of the individuals’s courtroom introduced the quite a few human rights violations dedicated in Cali final 12 months, beginner movies and audio testimonies in assist, in an effort to display their “systematic” side. . Sufficient to make the individuals within the room dizzy, which had progressively crammed up.

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The “worldwide judges” of the Folks’s Court docket of Siloé, September 10, 2022: from left to proper, Edgar Ramos Andrade (Bolivia), Yohanka León del Río (Cuba) and Pablo Pimentel (Argentina). © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

Abelardo Aranda, the daddy of the younger man shot and killed on Might 28, 2021, later instructed us that he had filed a grievance with the Cali prosecutor’s workplace the day after his son’s dying. “However to this point we have not had any suggestions, it is unhappy,” he mentioned, wanting dejected.

For his half, Crisol Yurani Sánchez defined that his brother’s case had first been examined by the Cali prosecutor’s workplace, earlier than being transferred to a Bogotá prosecutor’s workplace specializing in human rights: “They gather the testimonies for under per week, issues are transferring far too slowly. Furthermore, we now have the impression that the establishments guarantee that all the things goes unpunished. For instance, the Nationwide Institute of Forensic Medication has given us incomplete reviews, with X-rays not matching my brother’s physique.”

The faces of Daniel Stiven Sánchez (the brother of Crisol Yurani Sánchez) and Michael Andrés Aranda Pérez (the son of Abelardo Aranda), painted in the place where the first was found charred in May 2021 in Siloé, in Cali (Colombia ).
The faces of Daniel Stiven Sánchez (the brother of Crisol Yurani Sánchez) and Michael Andrés Aranda Pérez (the son of Abelardo Aranda), painted within the place the place the primary was discovered charred in Might 2021 in Siloé, in Cali (Colombia ). © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

“There’s a lack of curiosity from the state to make clear the info”

In line with Santiago Medina, the Sánchez household’s lawyer, the investigations are progressing slowly “as a result of loads of materials proof was not collected correctly over the previous 12 months, and there’s a lack of curiosity from the State in make clear the info. Impunity usually persists in investigations in opposition to State brokers.”

Image of this disinterest, the chair reserved for the lawyer presupposed to defend the state remained empty all day. “It is a lack of respect in the direction of us”, criticizes Crisol Yurani Sánchez. “The lawyer was appointed by the Defender of the Folks [une institution du ministère public, NDLR]however he didn’t need to come as a result of our courtroom isn’t official”, specifies Santiago Medina, who nonetheless considers that his appointment constitutes “a primary step” in the direction of the popularity of the “individuals’s courtroom”.

José Benito Garzón Montenegro, of the People's Court of Siloam, shows the chair where the lawyer supposed to defend the state should have been, September 10, 2022.
José Benito Garzón Montenegro, of the Folks’s Court docket of Siloam, exhibits the chair the place the lawyer presupposed to defend the state ought to have been, September 10, 2022. © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

What prospects?

On the finish of the listening to, round 3 p.m., the “worldwide judges” declared that the subsequent step was now to legally qualify the info introduced to them. “The legal professionals spoke particularly of ‘crimes in opposition to humanity’ and ‘steady genocide’: we’ll examine this, in an effort to render a judgment, on the newest in February”, indicated the Bolivian Edgar Ramos Andrade.

The households of the victims hope that this judgment – ​​symbolic – will have an effect on odd justice. As a result of, even when they imagine that the individuals’s tribunal can restore their “dignity” and convey to mild “the reality”, they need justice to be performed on the institutional degree. In any other case, the individuals’s courtroom is already contemplating turning to worldwide our bodies.

View of the Siloé district, in Cali (Colombia), from a gondola.
View of the Siloé district, in Cali (Colombia), from a gondola. © Chloe Lauvergnier, France 24

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