A Medellin court added a new stack to a mounting pile of allegations against former President Alvaro Uribe, who is under preliminary investigation by the Supreme Court for his alleged ties to paramilitary groups.
The new evidence was presented by the Medellin Justice and Peace tribunal, a special court in charge of investigating crimes committed by paramilitary group AUC in the region of Antioquia, Uribe’s home province where he was governor between 1995 and 1997.
The evidence that was sent to Congress’ Accusations Committee goes beyond Uribe’s alleged crimes when he was governor. The Medellin tribunal is now also linking him to activity with the paramilitaries when he was president of Colombia between 2002 and 2010.
The harsh ruling
“The Chamber will ratify the order to surrender evidence in order to investigate [Uribe] for promoting, sponsoring and supporting paramilitary groups and for working side by side with them and/or conspiring with them, not only as the governor of Antioquia, but after and even as President of the Republic,” stated the court ruling.
The 786-page ruling tags Uribe’s name in collaboration of offenses committed by the paramilitary groups throughout the past two decades that should be investigated by Congress.
“[Uribe’s name] appears linked to many places and events related to the origin and expansion of paramilitary groups and the grave offenses committed by them,” indicated the Justice and Peace court.
The lengthy and detailed document delineates how the paramilitaries originally evolved and how they have operated in Colombia over the past decades of violence and internal conflict.
According to judges, the government was present in areas where the right-wing, anti-guerrilla forces committed brutal crimes, and further, the government collaborated with these military groups at various levels of authority: the police, the army, and officials of different regional administrations.
Uribe’s record of allegations
Within Uribe’s capacity as governor of Antioquia (1995-1997) the report states that the former president is allegedly responsible for complicity in the following, among many others:
- The massacre of Aro, a town in Antioquia that was burned to the ground after 14 civilians were violently assassinated, in 1997
- The support of the Self Defense Forces of Cordoba and Uraba (the ACCU), a bloody paramilitary group created by the Castaño brothers known for reportedly committing massacres and torturing civilians in the area
- Support of Pedro Juan Moreno, Uribe’s Government Secretary, who the Court states developed the paramilitary laboratory COOSERCOM and was one of the leaders of the AUCC
- The formation of Convivir, an anti-guerrilla group accused of immense human rights abuses and atrocities
- The “pacification” of Uraba with General Rito Alejo del Rio, former commander of the Colombian army in Uraba where paramilitaries murdered thousands of civilians
In Uribe’s capacity as president (2002-2010), the court condemns the current senator for the execution of Operation Orion, a military/paramilitary offensive in the western Comuna 13 of Medellin that injured or killed hundreds of civilians and secured the control of paramilitary groups still terrorizing the area.
Uribe “is behind Operation Orion and the occupation of Comuna 13, carried out systematically with the paramilitaries of the Nutibara Cacique Bloque [of the AUC] with the end of eliminating the last base of the urban [left-wing] militia and consolidating the domination of the (AUC),” stated the report by Justice and Peace.
Judge is/was a communist: Uribe
Following news on the ruling, Uribe immediately responded on Twitter claiming that the presiding judge of the Medellin tribunal is or was a “member of the Subversive Youth.” who “declared himself my enemy since I was young.”
On national radio, the former president pointed out that “they are claiming I am responsible for crimes and disappearances at only a week from elections.”
Uribe has been under increased political and legal pressure since last week when the Supreme Court agreed to include earlier evidence surrendered by the Medellin court over Uribe’s alleged collusion with paramilitary groups during a massacre in 1997.
While accused of being a paramilitary collaborator by human rights organizations and leftist opponents for years, the Supreme Court has yet to open a formal investigation of the alleged crimes.