A court in Colombia has ruled against the Castaño family, the founding members of the AUC, and asserted that they are to return stolen lands to appropriate families, reported local media Thursday.
Leaders of paramilitary group AUC, brothers Carlos and Vicente Castaño managed to take swathes of land while operating in the north west Cordoba department, despite having numerous warrants for their arrests. They were able to attain farm land after bribing and threatening peasants who lived in the area.
According to newspaper El Espectador a judge in the Cordoba department ordered the family of the former AUC commanders to return a further 164 acres to 22 different farming families.
The two brothers and their associates were responsible for a wave of violence that intimidated and threatened the lives of peasants and farmers in the local area. Bodies of four peasants massacred in 1989 were exhumed from the farms in April 1990 alongside twenty other human remains.
The family had previously been ordered by a judge to return 12,355 acres of land to the victims of paramilitary violence in 2010.
Although the AUC formally demobilized in 2006, its dissolution marked the emergence of successor groups formed by mid-level commanders of the paramilitary organization who were exempted from justice or never took part in the demobilization process. These neo-paramilitary groups function in much the same way as the AUC once did.
- Otro fallo contra el “Clan Castaño” (El Espectador)