The chief of state asked for forgiveness from ex-president Betancur and members of the Colombian military over the Bogota Superior Court’s call for an International Criminal Court investigation into the former leader’s criminal responsibility for deaths that occurred during the retaking of the Palace of Justice in 1985.
At the launching of an education policy in Bogota, Santos said, “We can not remain silent before a ruling aimed at President Betancur, who has 90 years of service to the country, 90 years of defending the culture, 90 years of promoting literature, 90 years in public service. That at this point, an international court is trying him for the Palace of Justice, makes no legal sense of any kind.”
He then referred to the 30-year sentencing of Colonel Plazas Vega for his role in the Palace of Justice siege, saying, “We ask for the forgiveness of the army for not being emphatic enough in the admiration that we have in, the respect we have for, and the gratitude we feel for all of our soldiers on land, sea, and air.”
The Palace of Justice, the seat of Colombia‘s Supreme Court, was taken over by M-19 guerrillas on November 6, 1985. The guerrilla occupation and the army’s subsequent siege of the building left more than 100 dead.