A member of the Human Rights Unit of the Prosecutor General’s Office asked the Colombian Supreme Court to investigate the involvement of former governors and military leaders in the 1998 Caño Jabon massacre that left at least 20 civilians dead.
Former General Freddy Padilla de Leon, the former commander of the Seventh Army Brigade, will be investigated for his participation in the massacres alongside Former General Jaime Humberto Uscategui, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2009 for his role in the massacre.
The investigation will also look into whether the former commander of the army Hugo Mario Gaitan, the former director of national police Rosso Jose Serrano and ex-commander of the Fourth Army Brigade Former General Augustin Ardilla Uribe failed to answer pleas from the village for protection.
Two former governors of the central state of Meta, Alfonso Ortiz Duran and Edmundo Bautista Usola will join a list of former military leaders to be investigated for their knowledge of the brutal killings.
On May 4, 1998 an AUC paramilitary force of about 200 armed members descended on the village of Caño Jabon, located in a FARC filled area of the state of Meta, and slaughtered at least 20 civilians before burning down the village. Several AUC members were sentenced to prison for the massacre.
The right wing AUC paramilitaries or Self Defense Forces of Colombia fought against the left wing FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, for decades until the AUC disbanded in 2006 in an amnesty deal with the Colombian government. Many former AUC members are believed to have joined successor criminal gangs to continue trafficking narcotics after the demobilizing agreement. The FARC is the oldest and largest rebel group in Colombia and is currently negotiating peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba.