Four days after the presentation of the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) on human rights violations in Bolivia between September and December 2019, the government skewed, omitted or changed the meaning of the document on at least five points.
For example, President Luis Arce and former President Evo Morales concluded that the report is evidence that there was a “coup” in 2019 when experts clarified that determining whether it was coup or fraud is not the goal the investigation was. Or the insistence on using the terms “against humanity” and “genocide” when the document does not mention such crimes because they do not correspond to what happened in Bolivia.
When the report was handed over last Tuesday, the GIEI made it clear that its investigation was not being launched to determine whether the issues surrounding the 2019 election process constituted a fraud or a coup.
Nevertheless, a few minutes after the intervention of Patricia Tappatá, one of the GIEI experts, President Luis Arce read the part of the report in which he recounts the deed in the legislative assembly as Jeanine Áñez as President of the Senate and later as President of the federal states. “If this isn’t a coup, what evidence can we ask for?” Said Arce.
The same incident was cited by former President Morales to later conclude that the GIEI “diplomatically meant that it was a coup”.
It hurts humanity
On several occasions, Arce government officials have accused Áñez’s government of crimes against humanity. The last one was the testimony of Foreign Minister Rogelio Mayta, who told the Telam agency: “You have to realize, you are dealing with crimes against humanity, you have the maximum sentence and Jeanine Áñez could be sentenced to 30 years in prison”.
However, the GIEI experts made it clear that they did not find any elements in the events in Bolivia that could be classified as crimes against humanity.
“In order for an act against humanity to be rated, there must be a systematic or generalized attack on a civilian population with knowledge of the attack and a breach of power,” said the experts.
Another term used by the government and the Movement to Socialism (MAS) to refer to the violence of 2019 is genocide.
Even the prosecution extended the indictment to the former military chief Alfredo Cuéllar with the crime of genocide for the massacres of Sacaba and Senkata.
Patricia Tappatá, a member of the GIEI, assured that “we do not use the figure of genocide, a crime against humanity, because we understand that the conditions are not met”.
Meanwhile, Juan Méndez, also from the GIEI, said that “Genocide requires the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, an ethnic, religious or racial community. We talk about racism, discrimination and gender-based violence ”.
The document states that the investigation cannot be used to trigger a criminal investigation. However, citing the GIEI, government officials are beginning to rush liability proceedings and expand the proceedings against those allegedly responsible for the “coup”.
In its conclusions, the GIEI notes that human rights violations occurred on both sides of the political spectrum during the 2019 conflicts. So far, however, the government has focused on doing justice only to the victims and relatives of the deceased at Sacaba and Senkata.
The report contains 36 recommendations
The GIEI report on the acts of violence and human rights violations between 1
The document showed through scientific and methodological investigation that there had been massacres and serious human rights violations in Sacaba and Senkata.
The UN calls for the report to be applied impartially
The United Nations (UN) has requested that the final report presented by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI-Bolivia) on the events in Bolivia at the end of 2019 be used “constructively and impartially”.
The UN also called for the document to serve “to conduct independent investigations, promote justice and full reparation for the victims, clarify the truth and prevent new human rights violations in Bolivia”.
The statement was made by the spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell. With this in mind, the UN highlights some of the issues disclosed by the GIEI.
Likewise, the UN notes that the GIEI’s recommendations “provide a roadmap to address structural challenges in Bolivia, including racism and political interference in the judicial system, and to strengthen the rule of law and democracy”.
The international organization also welcomes President Luis Arce’s commitment to the implementation of the GIEI report “and we urge the authorities to put in place a mechanism immediately to ensure that these recommendations are translated into concrete action in the medium and long term.” . “, he emphasizes.
“The human rights office of the United Nations is available through its presence in the country to support the plurinational state of Bolivia in this important process and reaffirms its solidarity with the victims and their families,” the text ends.