30-year murder sentence upheld for 2 Colombian air force officials

In a second decision, the Bogota High Tribunal upheld the 30-year sentence for two Colombian air force (FAC) officials that led a 1998 attack in northeast Colombia, in which 17 people died, local media reported Wednesday.

Captain Cesar Romero and Lieutenant Johan Jimenez were, respectively, the pilot and co-pilot of an FAC helicopter that in December 1998 bombed a rural area of the Santo Domingo municipality in the Arauca department, killing 17, including 6 minors.

The pilots were originally sentenced for murder in 2009, with the case judge ruling that they had acted impetuously and failed to distinguish between civilians and leftist rebels. In the Bogota ruling, the FAC officials were also sentenced for the crime of intentional injuries to 21 other people, including various women and minors.

The event in question occurred on December 13, 1998, when the “Palanquero” air force unit entered the town of Santo Domingo in pursuit of FARC forces, trying to disguise themselves as civilians. Later, a deadly explosion hit the town, resulting in the numerous deaths and injuries.

Following the attack, then-FAC Commander Coronel Hector Fabio Velasco said that the cause of the destruction was a bomb detonated by the FARC, but it was later determined by investigative bodies that the attack had indeed come from an air force helicopter.

Related posts

At least 49 dead after ‘prison break attempt’ in west Colombia

Colombia investigating bullfighting tragedy

Petro’s first moves to restructure Colombia’s government