The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will be judging the case against the Colombian state for the Santo Domingo bombing massacre that killed 17 people in 1998, reported newspaper El Espectador on Wednesday.
The highest international court will be considering the lawsuit which indicates the state as being responsible for the Air Force bombing on the rural village of Tame, in the northeastern Colombian department of Arauca. The aircraft bombing killed 17 people, including four boys and two girls, while 27 others, including nine minors, were seriously injured.
The lawsuit, filed by Jose Alvear Restrepo’s law firm, asserts that the state allegedly used a cluster bomb in the attack, which is prohibited by international organizations. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights petitioned to the court to review the case based on the argument that the “[the Colombian] state was responsible for violating the rights to life, humane treatment, personal liberty, and judicial protection.”
Over the next two months, representatives of the bombing victims will have to send the court their written testimonies, arguments, and evidence for the court’s commission to consider in the case against the Colombian state.
The event in question occurred on December 13, 1998, when a Colombian Air Force unit entered Santo Domingo in pursuit of FARC members who were trying to disguise themselves as civilians. Later, a deadly explosion hit the town resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Following the attack, Air Force officials reported that the FARC had detonated the bomb, but it was later determined by investigative bodies that the attack had indeed come from an Air Force helicopter.
Air Force Captain Cesar Romero Padillo, and his co-pilot Lieutenant Johan Jimenez Valencia were both sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2009 for the murders and injuries of Santo Domingo residents.