Colombia’s war crimes tribunal ordered 63 criminal investigations against suspected political and business allies of paramilitary organizations.
The investigation order is the result of testimonies given by Dario Antonio Usuga, a.k.a. “Otoniel” over the past months.
Among the alleged paramilitary associates are, among others, presidential candidate Luis Perez, a senator, four former congressmen, six former governors, three retired army generals, multiple former police officials, two universities and state-run oil company Ecopetrol.
The Prosecutor General’s Office must verify if Otoniel’s allegations against the other politicians and so-called third-party actors are sustained by evidence.
The jailed former AGC commander’s list of alleged paramilitary collaborators caused major controversy as it adds more names to lists surrendered by demobilized commanders of paramilitary organization AUC.
These lists resulted in Supreme Court convictions of more than 60 former congressmen and at least eight former governors.
Pérez interrupted his presidential campaign to deny the latest allegations of the former Medellin mayor’s alleged ties to illegal armed groups.
The university was founded by the late uncle of far-right presidential candidate Enrique Gomez.
One of the former army generals, Rito Alejo del Rio, has already been convicted for his ties to paramilitary organization
Retired General Mario Montoya, Colombia’s former Army commander, is already being investigated by the JEP for his alleged role in the mass execution of civilians.
Montoya and Barrera have always denied ties to paramilitary organizations.
The JEP was able to receive the names from Otoniel despite attempts by the authorities to frustrate court hearings.