An Ecuadorian court offered Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immunity but called Colombian military and police officers to justice for their role in bombing a FARC camp in Ecuadorean territory in 2008, Caracol Radio reported Thursday.
The judge of the Ecuadorean town of Sucumbios, Daniel Mendez, announced that Santos was provisionally dismissed from the judicial process because he enjoys immunity as the president of Colombia. Santos was the defense minister to former president Alvaro Uribe when the bombing and subsequent raid on the FARC camp occurred.
However, six members of Colombia’s armed and police forces have been called to court by Mendez. The accused include the then-commander of the military Freddy Padilla, Police Chief Oscar Naranjo, former army commander Mario Montoya, army General Jorge Ballesteros, the then-commander of the navy Guillermo Barrera and Lieutenant Colonel Camilo Alvarez.
The military operation occurred in the Ecuadorean jungle of the Angostura region on March 1, 2008 against a clandestine FARC camp, which resulted in the death of the second in command of that guerilla organization, Luis Edgar Devia alias “Raul Reyes.”
In addition to the FARC commander, the operation ended up killing 25 others, including an Ecuadorean and four Mexican students.
The defendants have three days to file an appeal but Colombia does not recognize the jurisdiction of Ecuadorian justice in this case.
Santos was the defense minister to former president Alvaro Uribe when the bombing and subsequent raid on the FARC camp in Agostura occurred.
Two days after the attack, which was carried out without notice or permission, Ecuador broke relations with Colombia finding that it had violated its national sovereignty.
In November 2010, Santos and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa announced that relations between the two countries were completely restored.