Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered the reopening of a 28-year-old case involving the forced disappearance of eleven students, a worker and a security guard, because it is believed that the accused could be tried for crimes against humanity.
The case against retired General Nacin Yanine Diaz and seventeen other policemen, who were accused of the thirteen disappearances in 1982, was closed in March 1987 after the police inspector general ordered a stay of proceedings in the case. This ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court’s High Tribunal of Justice in July 1987.
Colombian drug trafficker Jose Jader Alvarez testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that in 1981 he hired the Colombian policemen to assassinate his children’s kidnappers – allegedly members of the now-demobilized M-19 guerrilla movement, reports El Espectador.
In its 1991 annual report the IACHR accused the Colombian government of failing to provide human rights, liberty and judicial protection to the thirteen missing civilians, whom according to the report were victims of “a serious judicial error.”
The Supreme Court constantly revises old cases and after revisiting this 1982 case, will request a copy of the IACHR 1991 report in a first step towards further investigations.
Aside from General Diaz, police Majors Ernesto Condia Garzon and Jorge Alipio Vanegas, Captains Luis Angel Perdomo, Jairo Otalora Duran and Miguel Rodrigo Torrado, Sargents Jose Alirio Velasquez, Jorge Enrique Ortiz and Josue Rafael Lobos will also be investigated.
The accused officers are Jaime Heli Colmenares, Pedro Jesus Ramirez, Luis Eduardo Aguirre, Benedicto Lara, Adrian Villamizar Jaimes, Henry Espitia Diaz, Luis Ernesto Suarez, Jose David Quesada and Jorge Eliecer Barbosa.