Colombian govt criticizes call for ICC trial of former president

Colombia’s national government on Tuesday criticized the Superior Tribunal of Bogota’s call for an International Criminal Court investigation of former president Belisario Betancur.

The investigation would seek to determine if Betancur played a role in the disappearance of people during the 1985 Palace of Justice Siege.

The government said Tuesday they disagreed with but respected the Superior Tribunal’s decision, and  later released a formal statement describing it as a “political” move.

Minister of Justice Juan Carlos Esguerra, speaking on behalf of the executive branch, said “The case in question is not an action of Colombian justice. [Betancur] has been tried on three occasions and each respective investigation decided to close the case.”

The recommendation of the Superior Tribunal, made in a 968-page report released Monday, will be subject to review by the Supreme Court.

The Palace of Justice  was stormed by M-19 guerrillas in 1985, resulting in the death of over 100 people, including 11 Supreme Court judges. 11 people disappeared during the armed forces attempts to reclaim the building.

The document released by the court Monday has far-reaching implications, calling for the investigation of ex-president Betancur and the former directors of DAS and the National Police, Generals Miguel Alfredo Maza Marquez and Victor Alberto Delgado Mallarino.

It also names active military members, such as General Alejandro Navas, commander of Colombia’s armed forces, leading to calls of political persecution from the Colombian Army.

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