PBI-Colombia concerned by military intelligence files on the José Alvear lawyers’ collective

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 3, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project tweeted, “We are concerned about the news in @RevistaSemana #CarpetasSecretas [secret folders] that members of our accompanied org @Ccajar have been subjects of military intelligence.”

CCAJAR refers to the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation, a non-governmental organization with over 35 years’ experience defending human rights and fighting impunity in Colombia.

CCAJAR has also tweeted, “We demand disciplinary and judicial sanctions against members of the public force involved in espionage against the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective.” The full statement from the lawyer’s collective can be read here.

The Office in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has noted its concern that those 130 people include, “international and national journalists, judges, human rights defenders, lawyers who handle cases of extrajudicial executions, politicians, as well as former officials and government officials.”

The article in Semana reports, “Between February and the first days of December last year, the activities of more than 130 citizens were the target of what the military called ‘profiles’ and ‘special jobs.”

That article adds, “In these missions, using computer tools and software, they carried out searches and massively and indiscriminately collected as much information as possible about their objectives to prepare military intelligence reports.”

“Phones, residence and work addresses, emails, friends, family, children, colleagues, contacts, traffic violations and even polling places are part of these profiles.”

“One of the first victims of these irregular activities was the American journalist Nick Casey, correspondent for The New York Times.”

“On May 18 of last year, he published an article in which he reported the existence of formats that military commanders had to fill out to project the number of casualties, among other variables. Those documents generated great controversy because they lent themselves to be interpreted as the return of the so-called false positives.”

That May 2019 New York Times article can be read in full here.

“The profiles extended beyond the communicators. In the folders are several members of the José Alvear Collective, some of whom are the lawyers of victims of false positives or are bringing proceedings against retired generals accused of these practices.”

As noted on this PBI-Colombia webpage, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation (CCAJAR) “currently has 15 lawyers and about 30 legal assistants. They are working on over 500 cases of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law.”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CCAJAR since 1995.

Image from Semana article.

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