The vice-president of Colombia’s senate said he would ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate President Ivan Duque over the bombing of a FARC dissident camp that killed at least eight children.
The announcement of opposition Senator Alexander Lopez (Democratic Pole) is the latest blow against Duque, who arguably already was having the worst week of his 15 long months in office.
Defense Minister Guillermo Botero resigned on Wednesday after the prosecution confirmed that at least eight children died in the August 29 bombing of the camp of mid-level FARC dissident leader “Gildardo Cucho” in which 17 were killed.
‘The criminals are warned’
Despite warnings that Cucho was forcibly recruiting children in the region, Duque said he authorized the bombing that took place hours after the FARC’s former political leader, “Ivan Marquez,” had announced his rearmament.
The president initially called the bombing an “impeccable operation” that was meant as a “warning” to demobilized guerrillas who were rearming citing Duque’s failure to comply with the 2016 peace deal.
“The things that happened in Caqueta are very serious,” Lopez told media, adding that he would file criminal charges against the president “over the massacre of our children.”
Duque’s iron fist punches him in the face
Duque’s “iron fist” reaction to Marquez’ announcement he and 15 other commanders were abandoning the peace process has backfired with unexpected wrath.
The president was already under increased pressure due to his failures to implement the peace deal opposed by his far-right Democratic Center party, but is now facing criminal charges.
Following the revelation of the children’s deaths on Tuesday, Duque has limited his public appearances to private forums and a military ceremony and has avoided the press like the plague.
When a journalist was able to approach the president on Wednesday and ask Duque for a response, the president appeared to panic, asking: “what are you talking about, man?”
The journalist was immediately pulled away and beaten by a presidential guard, according to press freedom foundation FLIP.
Calls for resignation growing louder
While the opposition senator announced he would drag the president before the ICC, calls for Duque to resign are growing louder.
Indigenous organizations, black minority groups, students and dozens of other social organizations have said they would join a national strike called by labor unions for November 21.
The labor unions called the strike in protest at the government’s economic policy, but the main demand has now become the president’s resignation.