International Court Investigates Colombia for “False Positive” Killings

State Retracts Peace Community Smear – But President Doesn’t Show

By FOR Colombia
Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 10:41am

State Retracts Peace Community Smear - But President Doesn't Show
By Emily Schmitz

The brutal massacre that took the lives of eight civilians, including three children on February 21, 2005 in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartadó, has become an emblematic case of government impunity and injustice. In the wake of these events, former President Álvaro Uribe publicly insinuated collaborative ties between the community’s population and guerrillas, accusations that would continue to threaten and endanger civilian lives:

In this community […] there are good people, but some of their leaders, patrons and defenders, are seriously marked by people who have resided there as having helped the FARC, and wanted to utilize this community to protect this terrorist organization.
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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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Rebuilding Trust

Landmark Legal Victory for the Peace Community

By Susana Pimiento

Rebuilding Trust
 The 2013 New Year came with some good news of hope for justice. On January 18, the Colombian Constitutional Courtpublished a decision that incorporated conditions that the peace community of San José de Apartadó has long articulated as necessary for re-establishing dialogue and overcoming its eight-year-old rupture with the Colombian government.
We urge readers to contact Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to press him to comply with the ruling.

The Rupture

Until February 2005, the San Jose de Apartadó Peace Community and the Colombian government had been negotiating implementation of the protective measuresafforded to the Peace Community by the Inter American Human Rights Court since 2000. The protective measures,subsequently reaffirmed by the Colombian Constitutional Court, had to be consulted with the Peace Community. Among them was the installation of a police post near – but outside of – the center of San Jose de Apartadó. Luis Eduardo Guerra was the peace community’s spokesperson.
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Colombian Army Officers Implicated in Killings to Be Promoted

By Susana Pimiento

Sharp contrast with the Petraeus and Allen cases
Recent U.S. news has been flooded with stories of generals David Petraeus and John Allen, both involved in what is perceived as improper conduct. The scandals cost Gen. Petraeus his position as head of theCIA and Allen’s promotion to command U.S. troops in Europe. The speedy strict consequences in both cases contrast with the fate of four Colombian army officers who, despite their involvement in outrageous crimes, have been chosen for promotion. That is the case of Lieutenant Colonel Orlando Espinosa Beltran and Lieutenant Alejandro Jaramillo, who participated in the February 2005 San José de Apartadó Peace Community massacre. Jaramillo was even sentenced to 34 years in prison for murder by an appeals court last June.

1289Officers chosen for promotionOther officers to be promoted to general include Emiro Barrios Jiménez and Jorge Navarrete Jadeth, who paid a thousand-dollar booty for the extrajudicial killings of two civilians in Manizales (Caldas), one of the cases known as “false positives,” the killing of unarmed civilians to bolster the officers’ body counts.
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International Court Investigates Colombia for “False Positive” Killings

By Susana Pimiento

International Court Investigates Colombia for “False Positive” Killings
On November 15, the International Criminal Court gave Colombia a clear warning that the Court expects accountability at the senior level for the serious crimes that fall under its jurisdiction, or else it may pursue a formal investigation. The warning came in the first interim examination report ever issued by the Court’s Prosecutor Office.

Colombia joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November, 2002 and is one of only eight countries formally under ICC examination. The other countries are Honduras, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Georgia, Guinea, South Korea (for war crimes committed by North Korea), and Mali.
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