A court in the southwest of Colombia has overruled the decision of a lower court to award compensation to the family members of eleven assembly members who were kidnapped and assassinated by the FARC.
The Administrative Court of Valle del Cauca overturned a previous ruling which had mandated that Police, the Ministry of Defence and the Government of Valle make payments of compensation.
The ruling reversed the original order made by the First Circuit Administrative Court of Cali on May 11, 2012, which ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the families of the deputies. The higher court said in its judgement that the state and police force had lost any ability to retrieve the men while they were hostages and therefore could not be held liable for their deaths.
The politicians were killed by Colombia’s largest armed rebel group, the FARC, while being held in captivity. The guerrillas had kidnapped them from the chamber of the Assembly of Valle de Cauca, the department’s regional legislature, on April 11, 2002.
The coroner’s report stated that they had been shot at close range with AK-47 assault rifles. In September 2007 the FARC agreed to hand over the bodies to a humanitarian commission headed by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the remains were transported back to Cali.
Only one of the kidnapped deputies, Sigifredo Lopez, was released alive and was able to return to his family in February 2009.