By Adriaan Alsema
Under former President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), Colombia’s U.S.-backed security forces murdered more civilians than FARC guerrillas have in more than 30 years.
This is the most inconvenient truth Colombia’s electorate will have to accept once a Truth Commission and a Transitional Justice Court take force to seek impartial justice for the country’s 8 million victims.
The mass killing of civilians by the state is particularly inconvenient because Colombians will have to ask themselves how they got to elect and re-elect a president who, as commander-in-chief, ended up politically responsible for more than 40 times the homicides attributed to the country’s #1 terrorist, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, a.k.a. “Timochenko,” who is either accused of or convicted for 106 homicides.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
This information has been available for years, but has been consistently ignored or distorted in both Colombian and U.S. media.
So, how is it possible that a legitimate state, using U.S. tax payers’ money, ended up murdering more civilians in eight years than the country’s most infamous terrorist group murdered in 30?
You want proof?
According to the National Center for Historical Memory, the FARC committed 3,899 homicides between 1980 and 2012, the year peace talks with the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos were formalized.
FARC rebels agreed to give up their arms.
In a January 2014 report, the Prosecutor General’s Office said it had found that the armed forces, with the help of paramilitary and civilian collaborators, had executed 4,212 civilians since 1986 to report them as guerrillas killed in combat.
Of these victims, 160 were murdered between 1986 and 2001. Another 41 were murdered between 2010 and 2012. The rest was executed and victoriously reported as combat kills under Uribe’s watch in what in 2008 became known as the “false positives” scandal.
To make the slowly emerging truth even more inconvenient, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Santos was defense minister between 2006 and 2009, the years in which the security forces executed 2,364 civilians, according to an earlier prosecution report.
Both Uribe and Santos have long known that the International Criminal Court is not interested in soldiers or rank and file guerrillas, but demands — as international humanitarian law requires — that those “ultimately responsible” be punished.
This could explain why the association of retired generals Acore has so vehemently opposed the peace process and why Uribe has long sought a Nuremberg Trial-type partisan justice in which justice is imposed only on one actor in the war.
Because — once the Transitional Justice Court takes force — Uribe will have to respond not just for the paramilitary massacre in El Aro, and the (para)military operations “Genesis” in 1997 and “Orion” in 2002. He will also be called to trial to explain the 4,000 homicides committed when he was commander in chief.
In what appears to be a desperate attempt to evade justice, the former president has pushed every possible button to either discredit or de-legitimize the peace peace process.
But time is running out for Uribe.
Colombia’s Congress is set to pass the necessary legislation for the implementation of the transitional justice system on January 16 after which it should take six months for the court to have its first hearing.
From then on, Colombians are going to be crudely confronted by the mass killings carried out under the political responsibility of the former commander-in-chief who can still counts on the support of more than 15% of the electorate.
While Uribe enjoys presidential immunity for the more than 4,000 murders committed under his watch, the Truth Commission could mean the political death of the current senator who only three years ago was voted to become the “Greatest Colombian in History.”
The Truth Commission and the Transitional Justice Tribunal will not just investigate homicides, but a series of war crimes including kidnapping, sexual violence and the recruitment of child soldiers, crimes primarily perpetrated by the FARC, according to the National Center for Historical Memory.
Credit: Colombia Reports, http://colombiareports.com