At Least 522 People Kidnapped by Colombia’s FARC Rebels Died in Captivity
Latin American Herald Tribune
September 23, 2019
Inspector General Fernando Carrillo provided this figures after asking former FARC guerrilla leaders to clarify what happened to the kidnapped people during a Special Peace Court hearing
BOGOTA – At least 522 people kidnapped by the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas died in captivity, the Colombian Inspector General’s Office reported Monday.
During a Special Peace Court (JEP) hearing at which 11 former FARC guerrilla leaders appeared, Inspector General Fernando Carrillo asked them to provide any and all data they have to clarify what happened to the kidnapped people.
“The true reparation to the victims of more than five decades of war demands that the families know the truth about what occurred regarding that macabre practice of financing (FARC operations) via kidnapping,” Carrillo said.
Therefore, he asked in his statement before the JEP for the former FARC leaders “not to be able to stick to simple accounts of the cases.”
“We’re talking about families who have the right to know and to preserve the memory (of their loves ones). Reparation demands a joint effort to recover their remains,” Carrillo said.
The stance of the Inspector General’s Office is that it is fundamental to get “detailed information” about what occurred to the victims who died in captivity as well as to clarify the motivations that existed and “the circumstances of time, manner and place of kidnapping of these victims and the circumstances of their deaths.”
Given that, Carrillo emphasized the need to “provide the full truth, make amends to the victims and guarantee the non-reoccurrence” of such acts.
“Providing the full truth means recounting, when the information for that is available, in an exhaustive and detailed way the conduct engaged in and the circumstances ... as well as the necessary and sufficient information to assign responsibility, thus guaranteeing the satisfaction of the rights of the victims,” the Inspector General’s Office report said.
In presenting this report, the Public Ministry compared the databases on kidnappings of the police and the army, the Attorney General’s Office, the now-defunct Administrative Security Department (DAS) and organizations such as Pais Libre and Fondo de Libertad.
During the court session, the president of the FARC political party – these initials standing for the Spanish name of the renamed guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Alternative Force of Colombia – Rodrigo Londoño, known during his time as a combatant as Timochenko, acknowledged the group’s “ethical and political” responsibility for the numerous kidnappings of civilians committed during more than half a century of armed conflict in Colombia.
“We recognize ... and assume on behalf of the men and women who were part of the organization, our collective, ethical and political responsibility for the damage caused to the people and families who were victims of this unfortunate practice,” he said.
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Former FARC Leaders Recognize Responsibility for Kidnappings
Latin American Herald Tribune
September 23, 2019
BOGOTA – Leaders of the former guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) recognized on Monday their “ethical and political” responsibility for the numerous kidnappings of civilians committed during more than half a century of armed conflict in Colombia.
“We recognize the existence of retentions to civilians and assume on behalf of the men and women who were part of the organization, our collective, ethical and political responsibility for the damage caused to the people and families who were victims of this unfortunate practice,” said Rodrigo Londoño, president of the Revolutionary Alternative Force of Colombia (FARC), now a political party.
The former guerrilla leader, known in his time as a fighter as Timochenko, spoke at a hearing of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) in which more than a dozen former FARC leaders delivered a document on the kidnappings committed, such as part of the commitment acquired in the peace agreement signed in November 2016.
Londoño added that the collective appearance before the magistrates is a sign that they want to “bring full truth” and said that the document answers questions asked by the JEP about how the crimes were committed and their objective.
“We do not want to justify any conduct that was in violation of International Humanitarian Law, but to make known in our own voice the objective reasons that led many Colombians to build what the FARC were,” he said.
The ex-guerrillas’ hearing was held as part of “case 001” opened by the court, also known as “the kidnapping one” and in which each of the appearing parties previously attended individually to explain their responsibility in the crime that the members of the FARC used to call “retentions.”
The JEP is the backbone of the agreement signed between the government and FARC and is responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict.
During the session, which lasted for about an hour, Londoño stressed that the former guerrilla leaders will honor their commitment to the agreement “telling this jurisdiction all the serious events because the victims and the country demand it.”
Former guerrilla leader Pastor Alape, who also intervened before the magistrates, said that the ex-combatants must give up all their “efforts” and “energy” so that there is justice and “strengthening the dreams of a new nation” is achieved.
“We believe that it is necessary to appear in this scenario of justice to sow hope ... We aspire to contribute so that at some point this society, from the individuality of each of the people who were affected by the conflict, can forgive us” concluded Alape.
FARC collected between 1996 and 2012 at least 3.6 billion pesos (about $1.25 billion) for kidnappings, according to the first report that the Colombian Prosecutor delivered to the JEP on its investigation of the armed conflict.
From the 1990s when FARC intensified the crime of kidnapping and made it one of its main sources of financing.
The Attorney General’s Office has 6,162 investigations attributable to FARC for kidnappings involving 8,163 victims.