Cablegate: Hague Compliance Report Preparation - Colombia
UNCLAS BOGOTA 013000
CA/OCS/CI FOR MICHELLE BERNIER-TOTH AND ALESSANDRO NARDI
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC KOCI CO
SUBJECT: HAGUE COMPLIANCE REPORT PREPARATION - COLOMBIA
TAKES POSITIVE STEPS
REF: A) STATE 25492, B) BOGOTA 10415, C) STATE 168732, D)
1. (U) Although Post concurs with the Department's
assessment of Colombia as "non-compliant" with the Hague
Abduction Convention, Post notes legislation to implement
the Convention is moving through the Colombian Congress.
There are also positive developments in judicial training
2. (U) Implementing legislation: On December 14, the
Colombian House of Representatives passed legislation that
clarifies jurisdiction by directing Hague cases to the
Family Court. Working with Colombian legislators and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emboffs successfully lobbied
for CA's suggested modifications to the bill prior to its
adoption by the House. The bill will now move to the
Senate, where our initial discussions with leading members
have been positive. We can reasonably expect the bill to
become law during the Spring 2005 legislative session.
3. (U) Judicial Training: A Family Court judge attended a
recent Latin American Judicial Seminar in Monterrey
sponsored by the Hague Conference on Private International
Law. The intent of the Conference was to promote more
effective implementation of, and compliance with, the Hague
4. (U) Cooperation: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(which, with post encouragement, goaded the Ministry of
Social Protection and Supreme Council of the Judiciary into
drafting the necessary legislation) has agreed to take an
active role in inter-agency cooperation and follow-up, e.g.,
directing cases to trained judges.
5. (SBU) The Family Welfare division of the Ministry of
Social Protection still presents a potential challenge. For
example, Family Welfare declined to attend the Monterrey
training, despite the offer of U.S. financial assistance.
If the legislation described in para 2 above passes into
law, an abducting family member could file a "tutela" (a
species of appeal) that would result in the equivalent of an
injunction while the Constitutional Court considers the new
6. (U) Progress on Outstanding Cases: While post is
unable to report progress on the cases cited in reftel A,
consular officers successfully conducted a long-delayed
welfare and whereabouts visit to Christine and Amir Andre
Sheikh-Attar on December 7. Details to follow by Septel.
Additionally, a consular officer conducted a welfare visit
on August 24 to Sophia Fonte, who had been taken to Bolivia
by her mother while divorce proceedings were ongoing
(Reftels C and D). The Fonte family has since reconciled,
and the mother and child have returned to the United States.
7. (U) Comment: Although the legal processes have been
slowed by the implementing legislation, for the most part
Colombian officials are determined to implement the
Convention fully. Post is confident that after final
passage of the legislation, the GOC will implement the
provisions of the Convention.