The Colombian government is required to make moral and financial reparations to families of the 24 villagers killed by paramilitaries in Valle in October 2001.
On 10 October 2001, about 35 paramilitaries of the Calima Bloc arrived in three villages in the municipality of Buga, Valle. The first group of about 10 men stormed the village of La Havana and killed eight peasants. The second group went to the village of Alaska, where 15 people were murdered. And finally, in La Magdalena, the paramilitaries killed two others.
The attack occurred half an hour from a Palace Battalion of the Army, and about fifteen minutes away from the La Magdalena police station, which had 20 soldiers trained in counterinsurgency activities. Both were warned of the presence of gunmen in the area but did nothing to prevent it from reaching the villages, reported weekly Semana.
The police arrived on the scene only five hours after the massacre. “It is clear that neither the police nor the army acted immediately, which allowed the perpetrators to flee with absolute impunity,” ruled Buga’s Second Administrative Court.
For this reason, the Nation (in this case, the Department of Defense, the Army, Police, the Department of Valle and the Ministry of Interior) will have to pay the victims’ families between five and 80 million pesos, depending on the damage caused to each.
According to the sentence, although the slaughter was committed by paramilitaries, the lack of law enforcement provided in a situation where a multiple crime has been committed, constitutes a failure in the State’s duty of care.
Likewise, the August 6 ruling directs that the nation build “a fitting and dignified memorial to remember such a slaughter, to pay tribute to the victims and families of these acts and in turn build memory” in a public place in the village of Alaska.
Last May, the then-Commandant of the Palace Battalion, Colonel Jorge Alberto Amor Paez, was arrested in conjunction with this massacre, after being accused by Calima Bloc paramilitary chief Hebert Veloza of giving a list of names of those to be killed to Armando Lugo, alias ‘El Cabezon’, an engineer of the killings.
Colonel Amor Paez is also accused of coordinating and facilitating activities of the Calima Bloc, providing vehicles for the transportation of its members and receiving money in return. According to ‘El Cabezon’ and another paramilitary known as ‘El Cabo’, Amor Paez attended meetings with them and ‘Tocayo’, who was the link between civil and military authorities in the area.