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Autodefensas Campesinas de Colombia, Peasant Self-Defense Groups of Colombia, a paramilitary organization.


Autodefensas Campesinas de Córdoba y Urabá, Peasant Self-Defense Groups of Córdoba y Urabá, a paramilitary group led by the Castaño family in northern Colombia.


Asociación Campesina de Agricultores y Ganaderos del Magdalena Medio, Association of Peasants and Ranchers of the Middle Magdalena. ACDEGAM has been linked to paramilitary groups since the early 1980s.


Asociación Nacional de Usuarios Campesinos, National Association of Peasant Small-holders.


Batallón Único de Inteligencia y Contrainteligencia "Charry Solano," the army's Intelligence and Counterintelligence Battalion and military intelligence headquarters. It is also known as the Twentieth Brigade.


Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular, Center for Investigation and Popular Education, a Colombian human rights group based in Santafé de Bogotá.


Comité Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, Regional Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, a Colombian human rights group that covers the Middle Magdalena region and is based in Barrancabermeja, in the department of Santander.


Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, Technical Investigation Unit, investigators who work for the attorney general's office.

Consejería Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos

The Presidential Counselor for Human Rights is part of the executive branch and advises the president on human rights matters, The office also has a limited budget to assist victims of human rights abuses and families that have been internally displaced because of political violence. In 1996, the office began collecting information for a computerized network of reports of human rights abuses.


Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, Administrative Security Department, an investigative police force that operates without uniforms and is administered by Colombia's executive branch. All other police units are administered by the Interior Ministry.


Dirección de Policía Judicial e Investigación, Judicial and Investigative Police, part of the National Police that prepares cases for trial.


The government's Public Ombudsman, responsible for protecting the citizenry against abuses of their constitutional rights. The Public Ombudsman oversees regional and local offices as well as Colombia's corps of public defenders.


Ejército de Liberación Nacional, National Liberation Army, a guerrilla group.


Ejército Popular de Liberación, the Popular Liberation Army, a guerrilla group active along Colombia's northern coast. The EPL split in 1991. One group accepted a government amnesty and demobilized. Many of those former militants then formed Esperanza, Paz y Libertad, the Hope, Peace, and Liberty Party. However, some remaining EPL militants continue in combat.


Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Colombia's largest insurgency.


The attorney general (Fiscal de la Nación) and the Fiscalía, Colombia's corp of prosecutors, are responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of Colombia's criminal code. Within the Fiscalía, the Human Rights Unit investigates human rights crimes, including those carried out by paramilitaries or guerrillas. In practice, cases in which members of the security forces are implicated are usually turned over to the military justice system following a military jurisdictional challenge, closing the case to civilian investigators.


Industria Militar, Military Industry. INDUMIL, part of the military, is the only entity authorized to manufacture firearms in Colombia.


Movimiento 19 de Abril, April 19th Movement, a guerrilla group named for the election date they believed was invalidated by fraud in 1970. The M-19 accepted a government amnesty in 1990 and was demobilized.


Muerte a Secuestradores, Death to Kidnappers. MAS was formed by drug traffickers in 1981. The name was also adopted by army-organized paramilitaries in the Middle Magdalena region, some of which later allied with drug traffickers. The name is now generic and is used throughout Colombia by paramilitary groups.


Asociación para la Promoción Social Alternativa, Association for Alternative Social Development, a Colombian human rights group. Minga is a Quechua term meaning collective work.


Movimiento de Restoración Nacional, National Restoration Movement, a short-lived political party linked to paramilitaries in the Middle Magdalena region.


Partido Comunista Colombiano, Colombian Communist Party.


In Colombia, paramilitary has come to mean a clandestine organization of armed individuals, which can include active duty and retired military officers, who work in close coordination with the security forces.


The government's internal affairs agency, responsible for investigating reports of crimes by government employees and recommending administrative punishment like suspensions, fines, and dismissals. Within the agency, specific divisions are responsible for investigating the abuses of various branches of government. They include the Procuraduría Delegate for the Armed Forces and the Procuraduría Delegate for the Police Forces. The Procuraduría Delegate for Human Rights investigates reports linking state agents to forced disappearance, torture, and massacres, defined as the killings of four or more people by the same individuals and at the same time. However, the Procuraduría can only recommend sanctions and does not impose them.


Unidad Anti-Secuestro y Extorsión, Anti-Extortion and Kidnapping Unit. Staffed by officers drawn from the police, DAS, and the military, UNASEs are run through army brigades and divisions.


Unión Patriótica, Patriotic Union Party. Formed as a result of peace negotiations between the government and the FARC in 1984, the UP has been a leading target of attacks by paramilitary groups allied with the military.


Unión Sindical Obrero, Oil Workers' Union.


U.S. Southern Command, responsible for all U.S. military activities in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

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