The army has denied that retired colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega is working as a professor for the army while in detention for crimes committed during the bloody Palace of Justice siege, reports El Espectador.
The NGO Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) was critical of the news that Plazas Vega would be teaching history, conflict management, and combating drug trafficking classes in the military school, saying “it is nonsense that a criminally convicted colonel leading a military operation that resulted in serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture, one of the most emblematic of recent Colombian history, is considered a suitable person to give lessons to members of the Army. Remember that Plazas not only denies his guilt, but has never shown repentance for their crimes, nor has he apologized to the victims despite his conviction in court in an exemplary process.”
The army has strongly denied that there are plans to involve Plazas Vega in any academic activities, releasing a statement which said “with respect to the recent press releases in which it is reported that academic directors … have tried to schedule classes for retired Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega, the command of the Army reports that his name has not been considered to participate in activities such as teacher training centers and military training.”
Plazas Vega was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the forced disappearance of eleven civilians in 1985, when M-19 guerrillas took over the Palace of Justice, and the army stepped in to regain control of the building.
Considered one of the bloodiest episodes in Colombian history, over 100 people were killed in the siege, presumably including the eleven disappeared civilians.