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Cablegate: Colombian Mfa Trains Judges and Lawyers On Hague Child

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #7767 3041549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311549Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9834

UNCLAS BOGOTA 007767

SIPDIS

FOR CA/OCS/ACS, CA/OCS/CI, CA/VO, WHA/AND
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC CVIS CJAN PREL CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIAN MFA TRAINS JUDGES AND LAWYERS ON HAGUE CHILD
ABDUCTION CONVENTION


1. Summary: The Colombian MFA hosted a September 13 seminar for
judges, lawyers and child welfare workers on the Hague Convention on
child abduction. The seminar was the second MFA-hosted conference
on the Convention this year, and, along with two recent lower-court
decisions ordering the return of children to the United States,
suggests that Colombia may have turned a corner in its compliance
with the convention. End summary.

2. On September 13, 2007, the MFA hosted a group of family judges
and lawyers, as well as child welfare officials, at a seminar
entitled "The Hague Conference on International Private Law." While
the conference touched on several Hague agreements, it focused
almost entirely on implementation of the Hague Convention on the
Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. An Embassy
conoff also attended.

3. Ignacio Goicoechea, the Latin American liaison for the Hague
Conference, traveled to Bogota to participate in the seminar. He
told attendees that Latin American countries had made significant
progress in implementing the Convention, while noting that some
problems still remained common in the region, such as judges who
cause delays by wrongly delving into custody issues. With a few
notable exceptions, he stressed, the Convention strives to
immediately return wrongfully taken or retained children to their
country of habitual residence. He urged the attendees to have
confidence in the ability of fellow contracting states to determine
custody issues fairly after a child's return. Attendees appeared to
appreciate Mr. Goicoechea's comments and listened intently during
his presentation.

4. Janeth Aleman of the Colombian Child Welfare Institute, the
Colombian central authority for the Convention, also addressed the
seminar. Aside from processing Hague cases, her office trains
judges, lawyers, and other GOC participants on the Convention. She
lamented the lack of resources in her office, and described the
difficulty of locating court-appointed lawyers for indigent parents
in Hague cases. She said they may begin to recruit retired
government lawyers for this purpose.

5. The MFA also hosted a training event in April 2007, which
delivered a similar message. Such educational seminars, along with
lower-court decisions in two recent cases that ordered the return of
children to the United States, suggest Colombia's progression toward
full compliance with the Hague Convention.

BROWNFIELD

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