Family of a magistrate who died in the 1985 Palace of Justice Siege announced on Wednesday their intention to accuse Colombia’s former President Belisario Betancourt as responsible for the magistrate’s death.
The family of Judge Manuel Gaona Cruz announced today that they will appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to denounce the murder of their relative at the hands of the National Army, and therefore denounce the former president and head of the Armed Forces at the time, Belisario Betancourt.
Cruz’ son Manuel Gaona Bejarano stated that he wants international justice to bring a case against Betancourt for being in control of the Armed Forces at the time as well as cases against General Rafael Zamudio and Jesus Armando Arias who commanded the siege operation inside the Palace, reported news station Caracol on Wednesday.
Over November 6 and 7 1985, more than 100 people (including 11 Supreme Court Judges) died when the Army stormed Bogota’s Palace of Justice, after some 300 people had been held hostage there by the now defunct M-19 guerrilla faction.
However, in the case of Cruz – and that of 10 others – witnesses claim to have seen him being escorted by Army offcials alive and safe from the burning Palace, yet his son states that Cruz’ body later turned up with a bullet wound to the head, in a forensic medicine room filled with dead guerrilla suspects.
Cruz’ cases, like those of the 10 other ‘missing persons’, has yet to be resolved and no perpetrators have ever been brought to justice.
Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega is currently under investigation by Colombian justice for his alleged implication in the suspicious circumstances surrounding the 11 disappeared civilians.