A Colombian court ordered the State to pay $2 million to relatives of 27 victims of a 2001 paramilitary massacre in the north of Colombia.
According to the Administrative Tribunal of the Sucre department, the state is culpable of the massacre because nearby-stationed police and navy knew “of the presence of an illegal armed group close to the place where the acts occurred and did nothing to prevent the incursion.”
The massacre took place on January 17 when a paramilitary group led by Rodrigo Mercado Pelufo, alias “Cadenas,” entered the village of Chengue and beat 27 locals to death. The remaining villagers were ordered to leave.
According to the court, the navy knew the exact location where the paramilitary group were located before committing the massacre and both police and navy had both the means and authority to prevent the massacre from taking place. Instead, they did nothing to protect the civilians.
The Chengue massacre formed part of a paramilitary offensive to take control over other villages in the Montes de Maria region, murdering 120 civilians.
The now-demobilized paramilitary organization AUC is held responsible for the killing of tens of thousands of Colombians in a period of 20 years.