Rafael Armando Rojas García v. Colombia
Human Rights Committee
Communication No. 687/1996
30 August 1995
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 7: prohibition on torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment
Article 17: right to privacy, family and home
At 2 a.m. on 5 January 1993, a team of armed men in civilian clothing broke into the house of Mr. García where he was living with his family, including a number of young children. The team conducted a search during which they terrified and verbally abused the occupants of the house, and a shot was discharged. According to the relevant authorities, the armed men had intended to target the house of the suspected murderers of a former mayor, but were mistaken as to the address. By the time the complaint was heard by the Human Rights Committee, it had been 7 years since the incident had occurred, and complaints made nationally had not produced results. Mr. García complained on behalf of himself and his family, including a number of children, that the State had violated their right to privacy, family and the home, and also violated the prohibition on torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.
The Committee found that the State had arbitrarily interfered with the family’s rights to privacy, family and the home in entering the family home in such a violent manner in the early morning. The majority of the Committee also considered that the State had violated the prohibition on torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, as the State did not refute allegations made in this regard.
Two members of the Committee disagreed with the majority in relation to the violation of article 7, in that they considered that there was no intent to cause that harm to Mr. García and his family, and that the assault on the house would have been justified had it been conducted on the house of the suspected murderers.
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