Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office indicted 725 former members of paramilitary group AUC for over 22,000 crimes 10 years after the group officially disbanded.
The charges were filed in accordance with the country’s Justice and Peace Law, which was passed in 2005 under then-President Alvaro Uribe to facilitate the demobilization of paramilitary actors.
“We have designed a strategy to close the Justice and Peace Process that begins with this request for indictment of 725 claims, and it signifies the partial closure of eight criminal [paramilitary] macro-structures,” reads a press release from the chief prosecutor.
The macro-structures referenced include, among others, the blocks led by former AUC (United Self-Defense Forces) commander Salvatore Mancuso, and the Calima and Bananero blocks under the control of “HH.”
In addition to Mancuso and “HH”, former AUC commanders “Don Berna”, Emilio Hazbun a.k.a. “Pedro Bonito” and Jorge Ivan Laverde, alias “el Iguano” and were among those mentioned in the mass indictment.
Twelve incidents, identified as massacres, displacements or homicides, are highlighted in the press release, including the massacre of Bojaya and its consequent mass displacement which claimed 1,300 victims in 2002; the displacement of about 300 members of the Association of Women Producers of the Field (Asomuproca); and the massacre of Gualanday (Cauca), in which there were 14 victims.
According to the prosecution, the aim of the indictments is “to provide a response of truth and justice to the more than 49,000 victims affected by the events.”
Arraignment hearings will be announced in the next several weeks, reported El Tiempo.