A Colombian commission of jurists Thursday urged the Colombian State to admit the use of excessive force in the 1985 siege of the Palace of Justice that had been occupied by guerrillas of M-19. More than a hundred people died during the occupation and the following army attack. Eleven civilians went missing.
The Truth Commission, presided by Constitutional Court president Nilson Pinilla, ruled that the Colombian State is not just guilty of using excessive force during the siege on the occupied Palace of Justice, but has increased the pain of families of the victim by not allowing justice to take its course.
24 years after the siege, there is still no clarity on what happened to eleven civilians who were seen leaving the building safely, but disappeared after being taken from the scene by security officials. It is also unclear how the occupation and siege could result in the death of so many inside the building.
“I think it is time that the Colombian Government recognizes its responsibility for the excessive use of force and the so-called Palace of Justice siege and for what happened to those who disappeared, because it is an undeniable fact,” chairman Pinilla said
According to the commission, Colombian state institutions actively avoided investigating the bloody siege and possible crimes committed by state agents.
Former Colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega, commander of the military units involved in the siege, is currently on trial in Bogota for his alleged responsibility in the disappearance of the civilians.