Related Rule
Colombia
Practice Relating to Rule 129. The Act of Displacement
Under Colombia’s Basic Military Manual (1995), it is prohibited for the parties to conflict to force the displacement of the civilian population. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 30; see also p. 46.
With respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular, the manual states that it is prohibited to “oblige civilian persons to move because of the conflict, except if security or imperative military reasons so demand”. 
Colombia, Derecho Internacional Humanitario – Manual Básico para las Personerías y las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, 1995, p. 77.
Colombia’s Operational Law Manual (2009) states:
3. Fundamental guarantees and IHL principles
These guarantees have been embodied in principles that guide behaviour during situations of hostilities and must be observed throughout all military operations:
- Principle of precaution in attack: … In the case of Colombia, observance of the principle of precaution is especially relevant to ensure that military operations do not cause displacement.
4. Rules for the conduct of hostilities
b. Precautions in attack and against the effects of attacks
The principle of precaution requires that military operations be carried out with constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects. The following rules, which must be taken into account when planning a military operation, derive from this principle:
- Refrain from ordering the displacement of the civilian population, in whole or in part, for reasons related to the conflict, unless it is necessary to ensure the safety of the civilian population.
In the case of Colombia, it is of particular importance that the Armed Forces apply this set of rules to ensure that their operations do not cause the displacement of the civilian population. 
Colombia, Manual de Derecho Operacional Manual FF.MM. 3-41 Público, Primera Edición 2009, Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares, aprobado por el Comandante General de las Fuerzas Armadas por Disposición Número 056, 7 December 2009, pp. 36–39, 40 and 52–53.
[footnotes in original omitted]
The manual also states:
3. Minimum contents of operational orders
c. Execution
The description of the execution of the operation must include the Commander’s operational concept. Within these sections, the following contents, depending on the operation[,] … should be included:
(i) For operations in a hostilities scenario:
If the operation is carried out in a situation of hostilities, i.e. if the planning can be done within the IHL framework, the section on execution must also include:
- Precautions in attack: … In particular, take all feasible precautions to avoid the displacement of the civilian population. 
Colombia, Manual de Derecho Operacional Manual FF.MM. 3-41 Público, Primera Edición 2009, Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares, aprobado por el Comandante General de las Fuerzas Armadas por Disposición Número 056, 7 December 2009, pp. 100–102.
According to Colombia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (1997), Colombians have the right not to be forcibly displaced. 
Colombia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 1997, Articles 2(7) and 10(5).
Colombia’s Penal Code (2000) punishes “anyone who, during an armed conflict, without military justification, deports, expels or carries out a forced transfer or displacement of the civilian population from its own territory”. 
Colombia, Penal Code, 2000, Article 159.
Colombia’s Decree on Reparation to Victims of Armed Groups (2008) states:
The State shall recognize and pay directly to victims, or to the beneficiaries mentioned in this decree, … compensation in the form of the following sums depending on the fundamental rights violated:
- forced displacement:
Up to twenty-seven legal monthly minimum wages. 
Colombia, Decree on Reparation to Victims of Armed Groups, 2008, Article 5.
The Decree also states:
CONSIDERING : …
That according to paragraph 1 of Article 15 of Law 418 of 1997, modified and extended by Laws 548 of 1999, 782 of 2002 and 1106 of 2006 [Law on Judicial Cooperation, as amended] “victims of political violence are those persons belonging to the civilian population who suffer harm to their lives or serious deterioration of their personal integrity or to their belongings due to terrorist attacks, fighting, kidnapping, attacks and massacres in the context of the internal armed conflict. Displaced persons are victims under the terms of article 1 of Law 387 of 1997.” 
Colombia, Decree on Reparation to Victims of Armed Groups, 2008, Preamble.
In analysing the constitutionality of the 1977 Additional Protocol II in 1995, Colombia’s Constitutional Court found in relation to the rules on the protection of civilians and persons hors de combat:
According to the statistics compiled by the Colombian Episcopacy, more than half a million Colombians have been displaced from their homes as a result of the violence … The principal cause of displacement involves violations of international humanitarian law associated with the armed conflict. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. C-225/95, Constitutional revision of Additional Protocol II and the Law 171 of 16 December 1994 implementing this protocol, Judgment, 18 May 1995.
In 2004, in the Constitutional Case No. T-025/04, the Third Appeals Chamber of Colombia’s Constitutional Court declared that the State had violated the Constitution owing to its failure to guarantee the rights of displaced persons. The Court stated:
This Court has … highlighted that, owing to the circumstances surrounding internal displacement, individuals … who are forced, “without warning, to abandon their place of residence and their usual economic activities, and move to another place within the boundaries of the national territory” to escape the violence generated by the internal armed conflict and the systematic disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law, are exposed to a much higher level of vulnerability. This implies a serious, massive and systematic violation of their fundamental rights, and for this reason merits special treatment by the State …
The case law of this Court has highlighted the following fundamental constitutional rights among those that are threatened or violated by situations of forced displacement:
In light of this multiplicity of constitutional rights affected by displacement, and taking account of the aforementioned circumstances of particular weakness, vulnerability and defencelessness in which displaced persons find themselves, the constitutional case law has emphasized that, generally, they have a right to receive urgent preferential treatment from the State …
… [A]ccording to the constitutional case law, the State’s obligation finds its ultimate basis in the State’s inability to fulfil its basic duty to preserve a minimum of public order necessary to prevent the forced displacement of persons and to guarantee the population’s personal safety. 
Colombia, Constitutional Court, Constitutional Case No. T-025/04, Judgment, 22 January 2004, pp. 34–35 and 41.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2010, in the Diego Vecino and Juancho Dique case, the Justice and Peace Chamber of Colombia’s High District Court of Bogotá convicted two members of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) of several crimes against the civilian population committed within the context of an ongoing armed conflict. The Court stated:
74. On the orders of alias “Cadena”, [150 members of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia], forcibly summoned and threatened the civilian population of Mampuján, including children, the elderly and women, with firearms used exclusively by the military forces … and ordered them to move immediately, at the latest by the following morning, or they would suffer the same fate as the inhabitants of El Salado. It was reported in the proceedings that the civilian population of San Cayetano and Mampuján were displaced from 11 March 2000 onwards.
77. It is clear that those who were forced, through violence, to abandon their land acquired a condition in line with the description provided by article 1 of Law 387 of 2007 [1997 Law on Internally Displaced Persons]: “A displaced person is any person who has been forced to migrate within the national territory, abandoning his or her place of residence or habitual economic activities, because his or her life, physical integrity, personal safety or freedom have been violated or are directly threatened as a result of any of the following situations: internal armed conflict, internal disturbances and tensions, generalized violence, massive violations of human rights, breaches of international humanitarian law or other circumstances arising from the foregoing situations that drastically disrupt or could drastically disrupt public order.”
78. In view of the foregoing, it is proven that the crime of forced displacement occurred.
144. In summary, these demobilized individuals are convicted of grave breaches of international humanitarian law because, as participants in an armed conflict, they attacked the civilian population by displacing it from its territory, taking the lives of non-combatants and pillaging its property after the incursion. However, owing to the limitation imposed by the principle of legality and considering the date when the acts took place, the offences are considered as ordinary crimes. [The accused] are also convicted of crimes against humanity because their punishable conduct was not isolated. The widespread and systematic nature of the inhuman acts committed and the victims of these acts, namely the civilian population, lead to the conclusion that membership of a self-defence group (collusion to commit a crime), the forced displacement of the inhabitants of San Cayetano and Mampuján and the extrajudicial executions are considered to be crimes against humanity. 
Colombia, High District Court of Bogotá, Diego Vecino and Juancho Dique case, Judgment, 29June 2010, §§ 74, 77–78 and 144.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2010, in the El Iguano case, the Justice and Peace Chamber of Colombia’s High District Court of Bogotá convicted a member of the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia) of several crimes committed against the civilian population. The Court stated:
137. To meet the objectives established by the commanders of the organization, that is, “to combat its natural enemy: the guerrillas” and their supposed collaborators or sympathizers and to carry out executions pursuant to the misnamed “social cleansing” policy, [its members] resorted to certain criminal acts such as … forced displacement … in the areas where they were present.
197. … [I]t is possible to conclude that the … forced displacement … attributed to the accused [has] a functional link to the internal armed conflict and, therefore, must be classified as [a] war crime[] regardless of the date when [it was] committed …
213. In conclusion the 170 deaths, the torture, the acts of terrorism, destruction of protected objects, forced displacement and extorsions or arbitrary contributions addressed by this decision constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law. The law of Geneva prohibits this conduct – except for the levies and arbitrary contributions – and obliges the State to prevent, investigate and punish them. In this sense:
228. Forced displacement. Article 17(1) and (2) of [the 1977] Additional Protocol II provides for the prohibition of forced displacement due to an armed conflict.
229. Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the [1998] ICC Statute provides that ordering the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict constitutes a crime in non-international armed conflicts, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand.
285. Therefore … the forced displacements … were consummated with knowledge and intent by the [accused] with the aim of contributing to the objectives of the criminal paramilitary organization. 
Colombia, High District Court of Bogotá, El Iguano case, Judgment, 2 December 2010, §§ 137, 197, 213, 228–229 and 285.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2004, in its third periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Colombia stated:
88. The problem of people displaced by the violence worsened in the years leading up to 2002 as the internal armed conflict flared up and spread, mostly as a result of the activities of self-defence and guerrilla groups who wanted to take control of certain areas, but also, indirectly and to a lesser extent, as a result of the presence of State forces in areas where they clashed with illegal groups.
89. This phenomenon is … one of the most serious human rights violations. 
Colombia, Third periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 24 August 2005, UN Doc. CRC/C/ Add.129, submitted 28 June 2004, §§ 88–89.
In 2008, in its Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, the Ministry of National Defence of Colombia stated:
130. The policy of the Ministry of Defence on displaced persons is set out in Directive No. 9 of 2005, produced in response to Judgment T-025 of 2004 of the Constitutional Court. The Directive establishes preventive and protective measures and procedures for responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of these persons and providing them with socioeconomic stability. These measures include:
- Developing training programmes for the National Security Forces on protecting displaced persons and preventing displacement;
131. As a further measure, Directive No. 16 was issued on 30 October 2006, containing instructions for preventing the displacement of indigenous peoples and for taking preventive measures to ensure their safety during the conduct of police and military operations and to ensure strict compliance with the rules of IHL.
133. The Ministry of Defence also issued Directive No. 1 of 2007 for the purpose of establishing security protocols for the National Security Forces, in coordination with the National Police, for facilitating the return of displaced persons to their place of origin or their relocation, as appropriate, and for ensuring the physical safety and protecting the property of those who have returned or have been relocated. Measures introduced by this Directive include:
- Maintaining a detailed record of infringements of IHL and human rights violations occurring in risk areas during the period of displacement; and
- Planning and carrying out active military and police control operations aimed at preventing forced displacement of the population. 
Colombia, Ministry of National Defence, Comprehensive Human Rights and IHL Policy, January 2008, §§ 130–131 and 133.
In 2008, in its fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Colombia stated:
76. In the absence of a culture of respect for fundamental rights, violence had been increasing since the mid-1980s and, in 2002, led the country to a problematic situation as a result of human rights violations committed by organized paramilitary armed groups and various criminal organizations.
77. In response to that situation, the Government incorporated in the National Development Plan for 2002–2006 a strategy aimed at preventing, reversing and mitigating the effects of violence on civilians, particularly in connection with such practices as forced displacement, terrorism against the population, use of anti-personnel mines and selective persecution of leaders. Much of that strategy has consisted in activities designed to disseminate and promote human rights and IHL and meet related international commitments.
87. The early warning system is a mechanism set up by the administration as a key means for preventing displacement and protecting the communities and persons that may be affected by it. It comprises the early warning system of the Ombudsman’s Office – which draws up reports on risk and related follow-up notes, based on ongoing monitoring in the various regions – and the Inter-Agency early warning committee (CIAT).
88. The project’s role is preventive and its objective consists in anticipating and acting to forestall occurrences entailing human rights and IHL violations.
140. With regard to forced displacement, a phenomenon that gave the Committee cause for concern during the examination of Colombia’s third periodic report [footnote: “That report makes reference to ‘the numerous forced internal displacements of population groups as a result of armed conflict and insecurity in the areas in which they live, taking into account the continuing absence in those areas of State structures for observing and ensuring compliance with the law’”.], the Government and the State as a whole have made a significant effort in implementing and effectively coordinating the policy for providing attention to the population concerned.
141. One of the main measures taken in the area of inter-agency coordination has been the creation, in May 2004, of the Coordination and comprehensive action centre … , managed by the Presidential Agency for social action and international cooperation (formerly “Social solidarity network”) and serving to carry out activities ensuring social and economic development in high-priority parts of the territory, where population expulsion has taken place and which have been recovered by the public security forces under the afore-mentioned Defence and democratic security policy. Although, admittedly, in some of those areas there is no substantial guarantee for citizens’ rights and the rule of law, nevertheless the effective presence there of a State which, as a whole, is coordinated has led to progress in terms of prevention, emergency humanitarian assistance and social and economic rehabilitation among population groups largely exposed to the risk of displacement.
142. The entry into force of the new National plan for comprehensive assistance to displaced population groups under Decree No. 250 of [2005] has been a major contribution to the establishment of the Government’s policy for prevention and care in connection with forced internal displacements …
143. As part of protection measures of a preventive character, the above decree provides for border area activities aimed at reducing the displacement of the population to neighbouring countries, such as training in averting anti-personnel mine accidents. Moreover, special protection activities are carried out for the benefit of communities at risk in relation to the right to life, physical integrity, freedom, free movement and dignity, including full avoidance of cruel, humiliating, degrading, cruel and arbitrary treatment. Such activities are led by the Office of the Vice-President of the Republic, the Ministry of National defence, the Ministry of the Interior and Justice, and Social Action with the participation of committees for assistance to displaced persons. 
Colombia, Fourth periodic report to the Committee against Torture, 21 February 2008, UN Doc. CAT/C/COL/4, submitted on 21 January 2008, §§ 76–77, 87–88 and 140–143.
[footnotes in original omitted]
In 2008, in its sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Colombia stated:
L. Article 12. Freedom of movement
370. This right, enshrined in Article 24 of the [1991] Constitution, has been affected by violence, particularly as a result of the actions of organized illegal armed groups that have led to the forced displacement of thousands of residents of various parts of the country. Although the phenomenon has diminished since 2002, it remains a matter of great concern to the State, which has launched numerous actions to prevent it and to provide care for victims.
371. With regard to forced displacement, a significant development during the reporting period was the issuance by the national Government of Decree No. 250 of 7 February 2005, instituting the National Plan for Comprehensive Care of the Population Displaced by Violence, together with other provisions, aimed at setting the general policy of the Government and lines of action for the prevention of … forced internal displacement in Colombia …
376. One of the main actions carried out in inter-agency coordination is the establishment in May 2004 of the Centre for Coordination and Comprehensive Action, led by the Presidential Agency for Social Action, through which actions are implemented to foster social and economic development in priority areas in the country and in major regions of outflow of displaced population[s] that have been recovered by the security forces under the Democratic Security Policy, recognizing that, although some lacked guarantees of citizen rights and the rule of law, the fact remains that the actual presence of a coordinated State as a whole has brought progress in prevention, emergency humanitarian assistance and social and economic recovery for the population at highest risk of displacement.
378. Among the preventive measures [], protection … of the population [is provided] in border areas in order to minimize the risk of displacement into neighbouring countries. Educational activities are also provided to prevent the risk of accidents with landmines. Similarly, there are special actions to protect communities at risk in regard to the right to life, physical integrity, freedom, freedom of movement and dignity, seeking always to prevent cruel, degrading, inhuman and arbitrary treatment of these populations, led by the Vice-Presidency, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Interior and Justice, and Social Action with the participation of Committees for Comprehensive Care of the Displaced Population.
379. In the strategic lines of action at the stage of prevention and protection, a key element is consolidating the Early Warning System, led by the Ombudsman, for analysis of risk in the regions and to encourage rapid and timely action against factors that may cause displacement. 
Colombia, Sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, 2 June 2009, UN Doc. CCPR/C/COL/6, submitted 10 December 2008, §§ 370, 371, 376 and 378–379.
[footnotes in original omitted]
Colombia also stated:
According to the document CONPES [National Council for Economic and Social Policy] document 3172 of 15 July 2002, “Lines of action to strengthen the State’s policy on human rights and international humanitarian law”, the Colombian State’s policy on human rights and international humanitarian law focuses on the following priority areas: … c) Care of people displaced by violence[.] 
Colombia, Sixth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, 2 June 2009, UN Doc. CCPR/C/COL/6, submitted 10 December 2008, § 81.
[footnote in original omitted]
Colombia’s Operational Law Manual (2009) states:
4. Rules for the conduct of hostilities
b. Precautions in attack and against the effects of attacks
The principle of precaution requires that military operations be carried out with constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian objects. The following rules, which must be taken into account when planning a military operation, derive from the principle of precaution:
- Refrain from ordering the displacement of the civilian population, in whole or in part, for reasons related to the conflict, unless it is necessary to ensure the safety of the civilian population. 
Colombia, Manual de Derecho Operacional Manual FF.MM. 3-41 Público, Primera Edición 2009, Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares, aprobado por el Comandante General de las Fuerzas Armadas por Disposición Número 056, 7 December 2009, pp. 40 and 52–53.
[footnote in original omitted]