Criminal proceedings for top commanders in 2005 massacre get traction

Army Actions Increase Risk for FOR and Peace Community

 Army Actions Increase Risk for FOR and Peace CommunityWe are concerned that Colombian Army actions in San José de Apartadó put peace community residents and FOR observers in acute danger, and are in violation of the recent Colombian Constitutional Court ruling regarding the security of peace community members.

Peace Community of San José de Apartadó. The peace community of San José was established in 1997, and does not support any actor in Colombia’s armed conflict. More than 180 community members have been killed, and in 2000 the Inter-American Human Rights Court issued measures for the community’s protection, recognizing the community’s choice not to participate in the war, and specifically requiring that the Colombian state consult with the community about measures for its members’ security. FOR has had a permanent observation team in San José since 2002, while Peace Brigades International and other international groups have also accompanied the community for many years. In February 2005, members of the Army and paramilitary groups carried out a massacre of eight San José residents, including the peace community’s co-founder and three children.
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Criminal proceedings for top commanders in 2005 massacre get traction

By Susana Pimiento

Criminal proceedings for top commanders in 2005 massacre get traction
After eight years, the criminal investigation for the role of high military officials in the 2005 massacre in the San Jose Peace Community is finally getting some traction.

On the eve of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s visit to Colombia, the Colombian prosecutor finally ordered the interrogation of Generals Héctor Jaime Fandiño and Luis Alfonso Zapata. General Fandiño headed the 17th Brigade at the time of the massacre, but had been summoned to Bogota to address a recent ambush by the FARC guerrillas in which 18 soldiers were killed, making General Zapata the brigade’s acting commander. Both Fandiño and Zapata are School of the Americas graduates. The International Criminal Court raised concerns about the lack of accountability of high-ranking Colombian officers in its preliminary report issued last November.
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