Colombia’s Defense Ministry has ordered the confinement of seventeen officers and soldiers facing trial for the 2008 murders of young men whose bodies were later presented as those of armed-group members killed in combat. As discussed in this blog’s last post, the seventeen had been set free Friday after a court ruled that, due significantly to defense lawyers’ delaying tactics, the time to prosecute them had run out.
The 17 are now confined to the base of the Colombian Army’s 13th Artillery Battalion, situated near the La Picota prison in southern BogotÃ¡, where they will apparently be given desk jobs while their court case slowly proceeds.
- Statement of Colombia’s Defense Ministry: “At the instruction of the Minister of Defense and the Commander-General of the Armed Forces, the personnel must remain within the military unit, restricted to internal tasks, and they will not be assigned to any type of tactical or operational mission.”
- Statement of Colombia’s Presidency: “It is difficult to understand why now that terrorists’ interference to block justice has been overcome, impunity can still result from decisions rooted in the expiration of time periods.”
- El Tiempo: “The government’s main concern is that this judicial decision could affect the Colombian state internationally, in the sense that this could be seen as a synonym for impunity in the country, which also generates a lack of credibility.”