The UN has said the sentence handed down to a retired general for the disappearance of 11 people in the 1985 Palace of Justice siege represents a positive step in the Colombian government’s fight against impunity.
Jesus Armando Arias Cabrales was sentenced to 35 years in prison last Friday, the highest sentence handed down in relation to the incident.
Colombian representative for UN human rights Christian Salazer said the fight against impunity depends on the impartiality and independence of courts to impose sanctions upon human rights violators, reported Caracol Radio.
“The state must ensure that prison conditions throughout the country are human and dignified, respectful of the person, without privilege of any kind. We interpret big privileges as a synonym of impunity,” he said.
Colombia’s rate of impunity is very high regarding cases of forced disappearances. Between 2009-2010 over 27,000 forced disappearance cases were open, and the vast majority of them remain at an early stage of inquiry.