Colombia’s defense minister was embarrassed on Wednesday when the war crimes tribunal debunked lies he had told Congress.
Defense Minister Guillermo Botero told Congress that the security forces were unable to capture FARC dissident leader “Majimbu” because he had submitted to the war crimes tribunal after the 2016 peace deal with the FARC.
The minister was lying through his teeth. Any FARC member suspected of a crime committed after the 2016 peace deal can be arrested. Majimbu is suspected of ordering the murder of a mayoral candidate in Cauca.
The president of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Patricia Linares, reiterated this in a short but harsh press release.
The Public Force has no limitation in pursuing and capturing those who have rearmed and are committing crimes.
JEP president Patricia Linares
Linares additionally reminded the minister that it is the “duty and obligation” of the security forces to arrest demobilized FARC guerrillas who have rearmed.
The only limitation imposed on the security forces is that they can’t kill FARC members, or any citizen for that matter, who are not suspected of having committed a crime.
To make matters worse for Botero, the minister inadvertently discredited President Ivan Duque‘s claim that the military had killed the FARC dissident who ordered the massacre in which mayoral candidate Karen Garcia was killed.
This alleged FARC dissident, “Alonso,” wasn’t linked to the massacre until after he was killed.
During Botero’s first year in office, the minister has been caught lying on multiple occasions in attempts to defend the security forces’ failures to guarantee security or cover up crimes committed by the army.
The minister was appointed by former President Ivan Duque in August last year despite having no experience in public security whatsoever.