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Legal aspects of the Ecuadorian journalists' murder

In April 2018, Ecuador and Colombia woke up to regrettable news that put human rights compliance in jeopardy. Three Ecuadorian journalists, kidnapped by dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), were killed by their captors, as confirmed by the authorities of both countries.

Armed conflicts are a source of danger for the inhabitants of the areas surrounding the situation, and even for professionals whose work activities are intermingled in the conflict in one way or another. This is the case of journalists who cover the news aspects of such events.

The Colombian guerrilla has been for a long period a conflict of great proportions. According to data published in the web portal of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for the New Ibero-American Journalism, 61 journalists were murdered between 1986 and 1995. Ten years later, 60 new murders of journalists were registered while exercising their profession within the armed conflict.

Violence against Journalism

The information handled by the foundation reveals that the murders had come from the guerrillas.It also stresses that it has been shown in various ways that these killings were not accidental or random, but were projects aimed at undermining journalistic information and educating communities. He also emphasizes that it has been demonstrated in various ways that these murders were not accidental or random, but rather projects aimed at undermining journalistic information and educating communities.

In the Report "La palabra y el silencio. Violence against journalists in Colombia, 1977 - 2015", highlights that border areas or areas that serve as corridors for the processing and transportation of drugs, as well as for the territorial consolidation of violent groups, are usually the most dangerous for the practice of journalism.

The text also highlights a situation: impunity in these cases, at least in the experience of Colombia, which had been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the exercise of this professional career. The absence of investigation, the intentional misdirection of the direction of the investigations through false accusations, the assassination of key persons in the investigations and the inefficiency of the judicial system were identified as the main causes of impunity.

Two countries affected

Although the case of the murder of Juan Javier Ortega, Paúl Rivas and Efraín Segarra, a reporting team of the newspaper El Comercio (Ecuador) seems to be similar to those that have occurred due to the same conflict against social communicators, specialists point out some differences.

Among these divergences is the fact that the crime occurred on the borders between Colombia and Ecuador, which may imply a mobilization of the guerrilla dissidence, taking into account that the murder was attributed to the Farc dissident group commanded by Walter Arizala Vernaza, alias "Guacho".

Similarly, crime is seen as a mechanism for pressure exercised over the authorities not only of one country, but of two nations. Some warn that even the way they act in crime combines strategies frequently employed by guerrilla groups and drug traffickers.

Although no State is directly involved in this crime, it is a crime that is not directly related toThe kidnapping of the journalists and their subsequent assassination was the responsibility of a guerrilla group. under the action of the Special JurisdictionThe company has been involved in this project due to the national and international consequences and implications that it has raised.

In all proceedings of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the right to truth is contemplated, justice, reparation and non-repetition, as well as taking into account the seriousness and consequences of the harm caused to the victims. The Jurisdiction will prevail over any criminal action and through this body will decide the treatment of those responsible for crimes against humanity, through a special judicial system designed as part of the peace process.

Sources consulted