Cablegate: Plan Colombia Implementation Round-Up, June, 2005
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BOGOTA 006669
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR MASS PREF EAID KJUS CO
SUBJECT: PLAN COLOMBIA IMPLEMENTATION ROUND-UP, JUNE, 2005
1. (U) The following is an update of Plan Colombia activities
reported during June, 2005.
2. (U) The results of Justice Department and USAID efforts in
Bogota to assist Colombia in the conversion to an oral
accusatory justice system are continuing to bear fruit. The
conversion has gone better than we had expected. Details of
success in this regard have been reported via septels.
3. (U) The Judicial Sector Reform Program (JSRP) provided
training to police officers, judges and prosecutors in the
following general courses:
-- The "Investigator as a Witness" course was offered in
Bogota, Bucaramanga, Cali, Ibague, Medellin, Tunja,
Villavicencio and Yopal to approximately 400 judicial police
from the Cuerpo Tecnico de Investigaciones (CTI), the
Department of Administrative Security (DAS) and the Colombian
National Police (CNP). This two-week course is designed to
prepare the police for the implementation of the new Criminal
Procedure Code and the new role of the police investigator,
covering topics such as preserving evidence, report writing
and testimony in court. This course combines classroom
instruction with practical exercises including mock court
-- The "Police Instructor" course was offered to 60 police
officers in Medellin. The two-week course is designed to
prepare them as instructors in training patrol officers in
the accusatory system and the new Criminal Procedure Code.
-- The "Patrol Officer" course was offered to 60 patrol
officers in Bucaramanga. The one-week course is designed to
prepare them as instructors for fellow patrol officers in the
new accusatory system and the new Criminal Procedure Code.
-- The "Leadership for Judicial Police" course was offered to
25 police unit chiefs, commanders, and office heads from the
CNP, DAS and CTI in Cartagena. The course focused on
developing effective communication techniques, teamwork and
group dynamics, leadership styles, and the accusatory system.
-- The "Post Blast and Crime Scene Explosives" course was
offered to 30 investigators, bomb technicians and forensic
experts from the CNP, DAS, CTI and the Institute for Legal
Medicine and Forensic Science (ILMFS). The course focused on
explosives theory, investigative techniques, evidence
handling, chain of custody, live fire explosive
demonstrations, and post-blast crime scene reconstruction.
The course combined classroom instruction with practical
crime scene scenarios. DOJ and ATF combined to organize and
provide instruction, including 5 ATF explosives instructors
from the U.S.
4. (U) The JSRP also offered the following courses in
-- The "Advanced Digital Photography" course was offered in
Bogota to 25 crime scene experts from ILMFS, CNP, DAS and
CTI. The course taught techniques in photographing crime
scenes and preparing for testimony in court.
-- The "Expert Witness" course was offered in Bogota to 50
forensic crime lab experts from ILMFS, CNP, DAS and CTI. The
course taught techniques in delivering effective testimony as
experts in an accusatory system, including the testimony
involving complex scientific evidence. Forensic experts from
the U.S. assisted Colombian and Embassy DOJ staff in
organizing and presenting the course.
-- The "Intellectual Property Theft" course was offered in
Cali to 30 police investigators and forensic experts from the
CNP and CTI in techniques and methods in the investigation of
intellectual property crimes.
5. (U) The JSRP also offered the following courses for
-- The "Financial Analysis and Data Base Management" course
was offered in Bogota to 50 prosecutors and investigators
from the national and local Anti-Corruption units and the
National Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit. The
course focused on how to analyze and understand financial
information and databases to assist in the investigation and
prosecution of public corruption, money laundering and asset
forfeiture cases. The course combined classroom instruction
with practical exercises, including testimony and
presentation of evidence in court.
-- The "Criminal Trial Advocacy" course was offered in
Medellin and Bogota to 120 prosecutors and 60 police
investigators on the new Criminal Procedure Code and the
accusatory system. The course focused on the role of the
prosecutor, police/prosecutor cooperation, evidence,
presenting a prosecution, decisions about charging for
crimes, plea bargaining, preparation for trial, and trial
techniques. This course combined classroom instruction with
practical exercises including mock court proceedings and mock
trials. Five Assistant United States Attorneys assisted
Colombian instructors and Embassy DOJ attorneys in providing
6. (U) The JSRP also offered the "Criminal Trials" course to
50 judges from Bogota, Santa Rosa and Tunja. The course
focused on the new Criminal Procedure Code and the accusatory
system. Topics included the role of the judge, the role of
the litigating parties, preliminary hearings, evidence,
making decisions in court, and presiding over trials. This
course combined classroom instruction with practical
exercises including mock court proceedings and mock trials.
7. (U) The helicopters for the Infrastructure Security
Strategy (ISS) are on the ground in Saravena and the first
two-week Air Assault Training began on June 2. The U.S.
Special Forces working with the 18th Brigade (BDE)
Headquarters will begin Air Assault Staff Planning with the
goal of having the 18th BDE produce an Air Assault order for
the unit receiving training in Saravena in order to support
the final field training. The last four Huey IIs designated
for the ISS mission arrived in Colombia on June 22.
8. (U) Recently our intelligence-gathering effort has been
reduced dramatically. Relevant details will be reported in
classified channels septel.
9. (U) The CNP, the Fiscalia, and the National Directorate of
Dangerous Drugs (DNE) took a decisive step forward on June 9
when they applied asset seizure and forfeiture laws for the
first time to property being used to grow illicit crops (a
violation of Colombia's counter-narcotics Law 30). Under the
protection of 150 mobile Carabinero policemen, specialized
Fiscalia and DNE units deployed to Pensilvania, Caldas to
notify the landowners that their property was now state
property, and to serve notice that property owners can appeal
the GOC's decision through a court process in Bogota.
10. (U) The asset seizure and forfeiture program still has
many obstacles to work though. Of the 22 eligible properties
in two neighboring Caldas municipalities, the GOC was able to
identify and process the paperwork for just three properties
in two days. Helicopter support and extensive security was
required to protect civilian representatives of the Fiscalia
and DNE. Last October, when the GME tried to enter the area
to manually eradicate coca and gather evidence, a two-hour
firefight began with a FARC front active in the area.
Returning to the plot eight months later was difficult in the
rugged terrain. It is not clear whether the DNE could exert
control over this land in the future. The paperwork
requirements for the process are onerous. Landowners are not
actually evicted, nor does the state take immediate control,
as the term "occupy" might imply. Fiscalia representatives
explained that there is no defined time limit for appeal, and
resolving the first cases could take up to two years, even
though they are processed in a specially designated asset
forfeiture court. Perhaps most importantly, the GOC does not
yet have a clear vision for how and where property seizures
will be applied, nor does it have a public affairs campaign
to garner maximum impact from the application of the rule of
11. (U) Nevertheless, expanding the GOC's law enforcement
presence so that cases can be processed against illicit crop
growers who have never been sanctioned is a crucial first
step. This program may be the greatest benefit of manual
eradication. If this law is applied broadly throughout coca
and opium poppy growing areas, it will be a powerful
deterrent to illicit cultivation and should reduce high
12. (SBU) The Presidential Security Program recently
completed three advanced personal protective security courses
this past month. Twelve veteran agents of President Uribe's
protective detail attended an advanced course on surveillance
detection. Twenty agents from the details of the president,
vice-president, and Minister of Defense attended two
advanced, anti-terrorist driving courses.
13. (SBU) Anti-Kidnapping Initiative (AKI): Crisis Response
Training (CRT) Course Number 9 officially began on June 6 and
is scheduled to end on July 15. The course is being
presented to 24 members of the anti-kidnapping GAULA Army
forces (Grupo de Accion Unificada para la Libertad Personal,
or GAULA) in Santander. In conjunction with DOJ
representatives in the embassy, Colombian judicial personnel
gave the first of three presentations on Colombian justice
sector reforms to CRT Course number 9 on June 10. This will
be a permanent block of instruction for all GAULAs being
trained at Sibate. On June 1 RSO proposed to Vice Minister
of Defense Andres Penate that CRT 10 begin on July 25 and be
offered to GAULA Navy forces from Sucre. As of June 20, the
Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) Program will have five
American instructors working with the 10 previously trained
Colombian assistant instructors. It is expected that these
instructors will form the core of the future Colombian AKI
training staff when the ATA Program transitions to the GOC.
14. (SBU) The much awaited equipment donation for GAULA
classes four through seven arrived in one large shipment on
June 14. On June 15 the shipment was transferred to the
Fondo Rotatorio under armed security escort provided by the
GOC to begin the process of legal transfer from the USG to
the GOC ("nationalization"). The shipment has an approximate
value of US $900,000. The turnover of the donated equipment
will depend on how long the nationalization process takes.
On June 16, DS/ATA informed RSO that the Export Control
License for the donation of equipment to GAULA eight had been
signed. This equipment should be ready for donation in late
June or early July, after the nationalization process has
15. (SBU) Sistema Integrado de Informacion Extorsion y
Secuestro (SIIES): The much-awaited initiation of the
Cundinamarca Pilot Project began on June 15. This is the
first real test of the SIIES Program. It is anticipated that
the pilot will continue through the end of July as the bugs
are ironed out. If all goes well, there will be a gradual
phase-in of the 31 remaining GAULAs. This phase-in should be
completed by September 30, 2005. To date, the approximate
value of equipment donated to the GOC in support of SIIES is
US $84,300. This equipment is composed of hardware,
software, computers and servers.
16. (U) On June 4, President Uribe inaugurated USAID's 39th
Justice House (Casa de Justicia) in Buenaventura (Valle).
Justice Houses are multi-agency, one-stop centers that
provide formal and informal dispute resolution services. The
centers operate in marginal areas of large cities and rural
municipalities serving those who would otherwise not have
access to formal justice services. The Justice Houses
Program is a nationwide effort to promote a more responsive,
participatory and accountable democracy in Colombia. To
date, over 3.1 million cases have been handled through the 38
Justice Houses. By the end of FY2005, a total of 42 Justice
Houses are anticipated to be in place.
17. (U) On June 11, First Lady Uribe inaugurated USAID's
ninth Co-existence Center in Sonson (Antioquia).
Co-existence Centers are public spaces that provide access to
formal justice and an opportunity for the community to
promote citizen values and dispute resolution. The center
was co-financed by USAID (US $350,000), the Ministry of the
Interior and Justice, and the Mayor of Sonson (US $150,000).
It will provide services to roughly 40,000 citizens. Through
the International Organization for Migration, USAID's Peace
Initiatives Program has established eight Co-existence
Centers in the most conflictive and vulnerable municipalities
in the country. The GOC would like to establish 14 centers.
18. (U) On June 14 USAID launched the "Promocion de Jovenes
Empresarios en Situacion de Vulnerabilidad en la Zona de
Influencia de Metrocable" Project in Medellin (Antioquia).
The project will provide business skills training to roughly
100 adolescents from the "Metrocable" area (Northeast of
Medellin). Adolescents in this area are extremely vulnerable
to recruitment by illegal armed groups and other forms of
urban delinquency. The initiative is co-financed by USAID,
the Pan American Foundation for Development, the Mayor of
Medellin, the Caja de Compensacion Familiar de Antioquia, and
Philip Morris Colombia S.A. PADF's contribution to the
project was raised during a gala-dinner for President Uribe
held in Washington, D.C. in March, 2004.
19. (U) Some 897 beneficiaries in ten different cities
graduated from USAID's Program for Economic Assistance to
IDPs, implemented by USAID partner CHF International. The
program generates new employment and promotes sustainable
economic growth through activities such as technical
training, job placement, and support to micro-enterprises.
The majority of the beneficiaries who graduated this month
received financial and technical support for their small and
microbusinesses. These beneficiaries are now averaging the
income of two minimum salaries per month -- double their
earnings at the start of the program. To date, the program
has benefited roughly 9,270 families nationwide. In
addition, the initiative has received nearly US $6 million in
matching contributions from more than 35 organizations