In a ruling on Tuesday, three magistrates ordered the restitution of 172 acres of land which was stolen from a member of the Patriotic Union (UP) in the 1990’s. As the man disappeared without a trace in 1992, the land will be returned to his wife and three children.
The ruling was considered historic due to it being the first in favor of family members of UP representatives, since Colombia’s Law of Victims and Land Restitution took effect in January 2012.
In 1991, armed men arrived at the man’s property near the town of Villavicencio in the central Meta department and forced him to sell it for only $5,500, but they never paid him.
One year after the sale, two unidentfied men kidnapped the UP representative on a bus near Villavicencio. He was never seen again.
Over 3,000 members of the UP party were killed between 1985 and 1994 by right-wing paramilitaries with connections within the Colombian state apparatus. The party lost its official status as a political party in 2002.
According to Colombia’s Victims’ Law, a victim is “any person who has suffered damage, as a consequence of violations of the international norms of Human Rights or the International Humanitarian Law, within the boundaries of the armed conflict.” Perpetrators denounced by victims include right-wing paramilitaries, left-wing guerrillas and state forces.