Militarized Criminal Organizations and Human Rights Court Review of State Protection Efforts: Evidence from Colombia
David L. Attanasio
Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano; Harvard University - Law School - Alumni
August 10, 2012
Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 41, 2014
Regional human rights courts, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, currently apply a threshold requirement for reviewing state failures to protect against serious human rights violations that excludes from review much of the contemporary criminal organization violence in Latin America, such as that committed by drug cartels in Mexico or the new armed groups in Colombia (sometimes called Bacrim). However, this article will argue — through a close examination of the new illegal armed groups in Colombia — that the justiciability principles underlying this restrictive threshold requirement in fact support much broader review of state failures to protect against the widespread violence from these militarized criminal organizations. These principles, which determine the scope of human rights court review of state protection efforts, counsel different degrees of human rights court involvement in state protection failures depending on the particular circumstances at issue. When applied to the violence from contemporary Latin American militarized criminal organizations, review need not be restricted to avoid imposing an unreasonable burden on states, and should be extended in response to the substantial risk of inadequate state protection against such groups. As a result, the problem of these extremely violent organizations should be understood at least in part as one of human rights, since human rights principles not only limit the methods by which states oppose these groups, but also impose an enforceable obligation to protect against them.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: non-state, international responsibility, international liability, protection, justiciability, human rights, neoparamilitaries, bacrim, paramilitaries, paramilitares, neoparamilitares, armed group, inter-american, european court, DTO, drug trafficking organization, cartelAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 12, 2012 ; Last revised: September 15, 2013
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