A recovered forensic report on the 1985 Palace of Justice siege has implicated the Colombian military in the killing of rebel hostages, reported news broadcast Noticias Uno Sunday.
The newscast uncovered a lost report that contradicted previously held beliefs surrounding the deaths of certain hostages during the siege of the Palace of Justice in Bogota.
A 2005 Truth Commission ordered by the Colombian government stated that three hostages were killed by members of the M-19 guerrilla group.
Images from the newfound report, however, show bullet holes on the outer wall of a bathroom where the three hostages were held. The guerrillas accused of killing the hostages were located inside the bathroom.
“According to the location of the hole or gap and dimensions of it, it [is] possible that [the shots] came from outside the bathroom,” reads the report.
The report also confirms that some of the hostages such as Judge Manuel Gaona were killed when exiting the bathroom.
“Gaona [was] shot [from] outside the bathroom and not from where the guerrillas were,” the report continues.
The 2005 Truth Commission declared M-19 members responsible for Gaona’s death.
This newfound evidence, dated just three months after the tragedy that left more than 100 people dead, was never referenced in any of the numerous subsequent investigations.
On November 6, 1985, 35 M-19 guerrillas burst into the Palace of Justice intending to symbolically put then-President Belisario Betancur on trial. Judges, staff and civilians were taken hostage. More than 100 people later died when the military stormed the building.
According to the 2005 Truth Commission, the first hostage the guerrillas allegedly called for was the aforementioned Supreme Court Justice, Manuel Gaona. Gaona was responsible for deciding whether or not Colombia’s extradition treaty with the United States was constitutional. M-19 opposed extradition on nationalist grounds.
Of the 100 deaths, 11 people disappeared after being rescued from the palace. It is suspected that they were tortured and killed by the army for their purported ties with the M-19.
One army colonel was convicted for his role in the disappearance of the released hostages and sentenced to 30 years in prison. His 30-year sentence was upheld earlier this year.