Colombia’s State Council has convicted the state for the failure to protect at-risk citizens in a former demilitarized zone in the south of the country, Colombian media reported on Wednesday.
The council condemned inadequate protection measures in four municipalities in the zone of San Vicente del Caguan and held the lack of state security responsible for a series of attacks committed by rebel group FARC.
Magistrate Stella Conto Diaz ruled that the absence of state presence on a judicial and military level left the town vulnerable to attacks and prevented investigations into crimes committed in the zone.
The FARC committed thefts, kidnappings and other crimes in the area, which led victims to sue the state for having neglected del Caguan.
San Vicente del Caguan was established as a demilitarized zone by former President Andres Pastrana in October 1998 to allow peace talks between the government and FARC to be held in the region. The demilitarized zone became a safe haven for the FARC until February 2002 when the peace talks came to an unsuccessful conclusion and the guerrillas maintained a strong presence in del Caguan over the following years.