This July 7, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) charged for the first time ten middle managers of the extinct Colombian guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). They are accused of having committed crimes such as kidnapping and extortion as a financing method for their illegal activity during their period of operation. The former members of the insurgent group acknowledged their crimes, recognized by the JEP as crimes against humanity.
The Recognition Chamber of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) found Luis Eduardo Rayo, Enoc Capera Trujillo, Jhon Jairo Oliveros Grisales, Nelson Antonio Jiménez Gantiva, Édgar Ramírez Medina, Víctor Hugo Silva, Raúl Agudelo Medina, Wilson Ramírez Guzmán guilty , Álvaro Henner López, and Gustavo Bocanegra Ortegón; members of the Central Joint Command (CCC), a criminal structure of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which operated in the central region of Colombia, in the departments of Huila, Tolima and Quindío.
These ten ex-guerrillas carried out crimes such as hostage-taking, homicide, cruel and inhuman treatment, murder, forced disappearance, slavery, and sexual violence, according to information from the JEP.
The Recognition Chamber of this organization also determined that the then members of the now extinct FARC guerrilla carried out practices elaborated from the former secretariat of the insurgent group and that are classified into three types: kidnappings to finance the organization, to force the exchange for imprisoned guerrillas and to help maintain territorial control.
The purpose of the kidnapping was to finance the military apparatus of the entire illegal organization and to be able to fulfill the goal of taking over the capital of the country, according to the JEP after the recognition of the ex-combatants.
#ATTENTION The JEP charged war crimes and crimes against humanity to 10 former members of the Central Joint Command (CCC) of the Farc-EP for kidnapping. This is the first of seven regional indictments in the #Case01.
Follow the statement #Livehttps://t.co/CLjrNlRn45
– Special Jurisdiction for Peace (@JEP_Colombia) July 7, 2023
The accusation is part of ‘Case 01’ that the JEP has been advancing since 2022, where in June of that year the Recognition Hearing of the aforementioned case began in Bogotá, the Colombian capital.
Judge Julieta Lemaitre, of the Chamber of Recognition of this jurisdiction, pointed out that the former militants of the insurgent group have responsibility for command, for omission, for murders, for disappearances and for displacements.
In the hearing it was determined that since the end of the 1990s the FARC practiced the policy of keeping civilians and members of the Public Force hostage in order to be able to exchange them for imprisoned guerrillas.
What is ‘Case 01’?
On July 4, 2018, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace began ‘Case 01’, an investigation that seeks to accommodate the reports delivered by the Colombian Attorney General’s Office related to: “Inventory of cases related to the armed conflict” and “Illegal detentions carried out by the FARC-EP”. Since then, the JEP has identified 21,396 kidnapping victims, with name and ID registration, according to this jurisdiction.
In this case, organizations such as the Vivamos Humanos Corporation, the Colombian Association of Victims of Forced Disappearance, País Libre and Other Victimizing Facts, as well as different groups of victims of the FARC, have taken part. The investigation has also had the constant support of the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Center for Historical Memory.
The investigation also describes how the imputed structure of the FARC was financed through a kidnapping policy. Thanks to the Manuelita Sáenz Financial Commission, the guerrillas extorted and kidnapped civilians and members of the Public Force in order to comply with the quotas that had to be delivered to the FARC Secretariat.
Faced with the stories, accusations and requests for truth by the victims, the defendants have acknowledged their responsibility. “We come as the last secretariat to recognize our individual and collective responsibility in a practice that were war crimes and went against our principles and values, for objectifying a person, for treating him as merchandise, generating uncertainty in his family that ended with his life projects,” said Rodrigo Londoño, the last FARC leader and the first defendant to acknowledge the crimes.
Gustavo Petro before the panorama of violence in Colombia
Apart from the advances of the JEP in the restitution of the memory and dignity of the victims of the Colombian armed conflict and the judicialization of those involved, the ‘Total Peace’ process presented by President Gustavo Petro continues to be bitter.
In May of this year, the president referred to a threat made by the armed narco-paramilitary group Clan del Golfo against JEP magistrate Alejandro Ramelli and his assistant Hugo Escobar.
Ramelli’s phone received a message that said: “We have declared your assistant magistrate Hugo Escobar a military objective (…) since you and your assistant have been digging up a past that is already buried,” according to the local media outlet ‘El Espectador’.
The Colombian president referred to this fact and assured that “if the Clan del Golfo does not understand that peace implies the truth, it is better that they say so and we do not waste time”, after learning of the threat to the members of the Special Jurisdiction for peace.
For its part, the Clan del Golfo assured that it was not responsible for the threat to Ramelli, who in a statement known by ‘El Espectador’ affirmed that “in different media outlets we have been falsely accused of being behind the threats against magistrate Alejandro Ramelli and auxiliary magistrate Hugo Escobar (…) The Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia and their fronts do not affect the institutionality, much less the important work of the members of the judicial branch of public power, on the contrary, we try to help in what within our reach and we declare that these accusations lack any validity”.
Petro has not only ruled on this fact related to the JEP. After a hearing in this jurisdiction last month, the president ruled on what are known as false positives – murdered civilians who were counted as fallen guerrillas – with in the country and the recognition of eight ex-military officers who acknowledged having carried out this crime in the municipality of Dabeiba, in the department of Antioquia. According to the president, false positives are “the worst crime against humanity committed in contemporary times”
Petro recognized the victims of this type of crime and affirmed that “6,402 young people murdered by the State just for receiving a few votes, popular applause, chickens or a medal. A security built on the innocent blood of thousands is not security, it is the greatest human insecurity”.
With EFE, Reuters and local media