On 26 January 2021, the Reconnaissance Chamber of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) charged eight members of the former Secretariat of the extinct FARC-EP with crimes against humanity and war crimes in case 01: Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, Pablo Catatumbo Victoria, Pastor Lisandro Alape Lascarro, Milton de Jesús Toncel, Juan Ermilo Cabrera, Jaime Alberto Parra, Julián Gallo Cubillos and Rodrigo Granda Escobar. Individual responsibility varies according to the command positions assumed during the armed conflict, other middle level commanders are likely to be added to the case at a later date.
Depriving people of their freedom, and conditioning their release, as well as their well-being, integrity and life, is a war crime – specifically that of hostage-taking. As a result of this crime, the Reconnaissance Chamber also charged the former members of the Secretariat with other war crimes related to the treatment of hostages, such as homicide, torture, cruel treatment, attacks on personal dignity, sexual violence and forced displacement.
Listen to one of the stories of hostage taking during the conflict.
The Colombian Commission of Jurists with the financial support of UNDP created this podcast . The podcast tells the story of 11 policemen who endured more than 15 hours of combat in the Cucutilla station, Norte de Santander. The Station was attacked by over 300 men from the extinct FARC-EP. As a result of this violent act, two policemen died, one was injured and eight were detained; the latter were in the hands of this armed group for approximately a year and a half. The treatment they received was cruel and degrading, as they were subjected to threats, insults and humiliation. On 21 January 2001, the Army launched a rescue attempt, which left policemen Jhon Jairo Posse Zamudio and Alexis Enrique Vera Fajardo dead and Mr. Víctor Julio Sierra disappeared. To this day, his family continues to search for him.
This Podcast is one of a series of podcast entitled “Más allá del cautiverio: retratos sonoros del secuestro en Colombia’ (Beyond captivity: sound portraits of kidnapping in Colombia).
Statement by US Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis at the UN Security Council (13 July 2021)
Over the past few months, the transitional justice system in Colombia has taken enormous strides, particularly with the acknowledgement in April by former FARC commanders of a policy within the group of kidnapping, and their acknowledgment of responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes. This is a vital step for truth, justice, and reconciliation, as well as for the satisfaction of victims’ rights. It is also an important demonstration of the commitment of former FARC members to the Final Agreement. We also recognize the transitional justice system’s progress on identifying and holding accountable members of state security forces who ordered or participated in human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings.