The ruling on Monday said the attacks against Bedoya "could not have been carried out without the consent and collaboration of the [Colombian] State, or at least with its tolerance."
The court, part of the Organization of American States, added that the state's further failure to investigate threats against Bedoya in the wake of the attack violated her "rights to judicial guarantees, judicial protection and equality before the law."
The court ordered Colombia to "punish those remaining responsible for the acts of violence," calling for other measures, including creating a training program for public officials and security forces focused on violence against women.
Bedoya, now 47, hailed the decision, saying she had faced two decades of "persecution, intimidation and constant threats" while seeking justice for the attack. She was tortured and raped for 16 hours before being left naked on the side of the road.
"ATTENTION: After more than two decades, the international tribunal issued its judgment against Colombia."
"October 18, 2021, goes down in history as the day when a struggle that began with an individual crime has led to the vindication of the rights of thousands of women who have been victims of sexual violence and of women journalists who leave a part of their lives in their work," tweeted Bedoya, who was awarded the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize last year.
President Ivan Duque, in response, tweeted that he "will always condemn any violent act against women and journalists," saying that "the sentence should serve as a guide to actions that can be implemented to prevent anything like this from happening again."
The Colombian state apologized to Bedoya before the same court in March this year when it also ordered the government to immediately ensure the safety of the journalist and her mother, both of whom had been victims of threats – including an attack in 1999 on both that the state did not investigate.
That said, Monday's ruling did not refer to one of Bedoya's main requests – that the prison from which she was abducted, Bogota's notorious La Modelo, be closed down for good.