Senator Roy Barreras, of the Partido de la U, is proposing a separate legal framework for the prosecution of military personnel suspected of criminal acts, Caracol Radio reported Sunday.
Barreras, a loyal supporter of former President Alvaro Uribe, is advocating a supplementary law that would provide a legal framework specifically for the military, which he suggested should be an amendment to the Victims Law that still awaits debate and passage in the Colombian Senate.
His suggestion appears to be fuelled by a perceived imbalance in the judgements against military personnel over the 1985 Palace of Justice siege, in which M-19 guerrillas occupied the building in Bogota before the military stormed and re-took it at the cost of over one hundred innocent lives, as well as the guerrillas themselves.
“We pardon the terrorists who seized the Palace and we condemn the military personnel to life imprisonment for the same event,” he said.
Retired General Jesus Armando Arias was condemned to 35 years in prison on last week for the forced disappearance of 11 people after their rescue from the sieged justice building.
“The country should prepare itself for the construction of a new law for the fighters,” the senator continued, adding that it should include the “special judicial status of legitimate combatants in the exercise of their military actions.”
The Victims Law has been the subject of partisan debate over the last few years, primarily between the Liberal Party and the Partido de la U, over the years to be covered by the law and whether it should include victims of state agents.
Hundreds of members of Colombia’s armed forces have been investigated for human rights violations.