In a press release, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), asked the army and police to bring forth information about the whereabouts of Hernan Darío Velasquez, a.k.a. El Paisa.
— Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (@JEP_Colombia) December 6, 2018
The ministry of defense, the army, national police, prosecutor general’s office and the JEP’s investigative unit seek to prove whether or not the once commander of the elite Teofilo Forero guerrilla unit is keeping his promise to submit to justice or has rearmed.
El Paisa is one of several FARC leaders whose whereabouts were unknown following the peace process, citing distrust in the Colombian government’s ability to keep its end of the bargain.
In total, the JEP had asked 31 former FARC leaders to submit supporting evidence of their whereabouts and their peace agreement honoring. El Paisa was the only one who did not.
It’s important to remember that the opening of this investigation is due to the fact that the Office of Reconnaissance asked the 31 people cited in Case 001, including Velasquez, individual and personal accounts about their reinsertion activities and other duties relevant to their case. Of the 31st who were cited, Velasquez was the only one who did not submit any information within the time frame, nor asked for an extension nor named any lawyer working on his behalf.
Special Jurisdiction for Peace
El Paisa joined the FARC in the early 1990s and quickly rose through the ranks of the guerrilla group and became the commander of the Teofilo Forero unit in 1993.
Given relative freedom to command as he chose, the FARC commander began unleashing terror in southern Colombia using mass kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings of public buildings.
He actively took part in the peace talks and was one of the leading forces behind the former guerrillas’ reintegration process, until the arrest of fellow FARC leader and personal friend “Jesus Santrich” on a vague US drug trafficking charge in April.