A Colombian judge has ruled in favor of 14 families in the country’s north, who claimed their lands were stolen by paramilitaries, reported local media Wednesday.
In the first ruling of land restitution, the Supreme Court ordered the return of approximately 160 acres of land to 14 Mampujan families in the northern department of Bolivar.
The “historic” ruling, “kicks off the land restitution in…one of the regions most affected by massive dispossession,” claimed spokesman Nestor Raul Correa.
12 years ago, up to 150 soldiers from the Heroes of Montes de Maria block of paramilitary group AUC marched into the area and ordered residents to leave the area. As a result, 338 households were allegedly forced to relocate.
The Victims and Land Restitution law was a landmark bill aimed at compensating Colombians who had suffered due to the armed conflict. One of the primary aims of the initiative was to assist victims to rebuild their lives with the help of payments of up to $11,000, as well as provide land restitutions to people displaced by violence.