FARC leader “Timochenko” said Wednesday that if the rebels responsible for murdering two police officers in southwest Colombia earlier this month should be tried for a crime, it should be under “guerrilla jurisdiction,” not by the government.
The following day, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the FARC to “deliver the militants responsible to the Prosecutor General’s Office, to facilitate the process of investigation, prosecution and punishment.”
However, Timochenko refused to give up the rebels, justifying their actions: “What was going through [the rebels’] minds in that difficult moment is no mystery. The enemy was coming to take the prisoners by force. How would any member of the military or police act in that hypothetical situation?” the FARC’s commander in chief rhetorically asked.
Timochenko went on to ask, “Why is it acceptable to kill [slain FARC commander] Alfonso Cano in a bombing raid, but not OK to defend one’s life without even using firearms?”
According to the FARC, the two policemen had been captured while carrying out intelligence work dressed as civilians. The rebels subsequently clubbed the officials to death when authorities began a manhunt.
To prevent violence like the execution of the policemen, Timochenko reiterated his rebel group’s call for a bilateral ceasefire.
The FARC, at war with the state since 1964, is currently engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government in order to find a political solution to the 50-year armed conflict.
The government has categorically rejected a ceasefire, possibly to prevent the rebels from regrouping their forces.