A Colombian soldier who murdered three children and raped one of them was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Tuesday.
Sublieutenant Raul Muñoz was found guilty of the aggravated homicide and rape of Yenny Torres Jaimes, 13, and the murder of her two younger brothers aged 9 and 6, on October 14, 2010 in a rural area of the Arauca department in northeast Colombia.
The bodies of the children were found in a mass grave with signs of torture four days later, close to the military base where Muñoz was stationed.
A Bogota court said it could not dispute the evidence given by the prosecuting body and responded to the previous request of a human rights prosecutor for the army official to serve the maximum sentence of 60 years.
The judgement also said that it “had to consider the lack of respect for the integrity and lives of the children who were totally defenseless when the soldier arrived at their house where they lived with their father.”
“Muñoz Linares used his position in the military to commit these crimes,” said the officer of the court during the judgement, where he said it was a sexual attack and not a crime of passion like the defense had tried to prove.
In its decision the court said that the condemned soldier should not have any right to an appeal mechanism and should spend the total sentence in prison. The judgement also called for cases to be brought against three witnesses of the defense.
The Inspector General ordered a disciplinary investigation to be opened against General Javier Fernandez Leal for omitting to attend to the complaints of the community over the disappearance of the three children.
The prosecutor called for the investigation of the rape of another 9-year-old girl which Muñoz Linares had admitted to but was not addressed in this process.
The children’s father Jose Alvaro Torres, said that the decision shows justice for crimes against minors, but added that nothing will return his children.
The defense have appealed the sentence.