Lawyers representing the family of Jaime Garzon have implicated top Colombian generals in the journalist and comedian’s murder in 1999 as they make their case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Rafael Barrios presented the commission with the content of a recording from declassified US intelligence archives in which General Rito Alejo, then commander of the 17th brigade, expressed his irritation with Garzon’s efforts to facilitate the release of guerrilla hostages.
Barrios went on to state that the national army, then headed by general Jorge Enrique Mora Rangel, ordered the late AUC leader Carlos Castaño to assassinate Garzon, although, as Castaño claimed when he was alive – this was a mistake.
The Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective is currently presenting evidence to the commission, which will decide whether to take up the case with the Colombian government.
In June, former head of the Colombian intelligence agency DAS, Jose Miguel Narvaez, was called to court to answer allegations that he was involved in the assassination.
Garzon became famous for his unique mix of comedy and journalism, which he used to extract information from off-guard political figures and highlight the issues at the center of Colombia’s conflict.
He was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle on August 13, 1999. Previous investigations have concluded the gang “La Terraza” carried out the killing on the orders of former Carlos Castaño. In 2008, ex-paramilitary leader Veloza Garcia testified Castaño said he ordered the killing as a favor to “some friends in the National Army.”
With the 12th anniversary of Garzon’s death on Saturday, family, friends and colleagues have prepared a homage to him in the installations of Bogota’s Archive District. Among them was Garzon’s sister Marisol, who told La Semana: “This case will never stay like this while we are still alive.”