Thursday, January 20

Peace process in Colombia: Former FARC commanders provide data on the fate of 55 missing kidnapped | International

Rodrigo Londoño, president of the political party created by the extinct FARC, and Luz Marina Monzón, director of the Unit for the Search for the Disappeared.
Rodrigo Londoño, president of the political party created by the extinct FARC, and Luz Marina Monzón, director of the Unit for the Search for the Disappeared.

Kidnapping was one of the cruelest crimes committed by the defunct FARC guerrillas during the Colombian armed conflict. In some cases there were military releases or rescues after years of captivity; but in many others, those people never returned home and their trail was completely lost. The disappearance at the hands of the guerrillas is an open wound for hundreds of families.

Following the peace agreement between the FARC and the government, the ex-guerrillas have the obligation to provide information that helps to clarify these disappearances and, although it is a long process, a first step has just been taken. The ex-commanders of the defunct guerrilla, now turned into a political party, delivered to the Unit for the Search for Missing Persons (UBPD) information on 55 cases.

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“It is a milestone because one of the combatant parties is honoring the commitment by providing very precise information, which we will have to expand, but which contributes to the search for at least 192 people who disappeared during the armed conflict,” said Luz Marina Monzón, director of the UBPD.

The Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice and Reparation that is created in the peace process is a triangle that includes the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the Unit for the Search of the Disappeared and the Truth Commission. In the JEP or the peace court, case 001 is advancing, in which the former members of the FARC secretariat were charged with various war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the practice of kidnapping. The delivery of information is part of your obligation to contribute to the truth. In this specific case, the UPBD has identified 192 disappeared, of which 81 are members of the public force and 111 are civilians.

However, Rodrigo Londoño, ‘Timochenko’, president of the Communes Party and former commander of the FARC, assured that this delivery of information is not conditioned by his appearance before the JEP, nor by his responsibility in the case. “This is an ethical, political and humanitarian commitment,” he said. “Within the framework of Order 019, in coordination with the Search Unit, we have identified 192 cases to work on the documentation, of which in eight we have been able to establish initial information that can yield definitive results in the search for persons deemed missing,” he added. Londoño.

The data provided by the former guerrilla is a starting point. It consists of information about the context in which the kidnappings were carried out, the circumstances of the death and disappearance of the victims, as well as explanations about the structure of the guerrilla or the fronts to which the events are attributed, the areas of operation and the commanders in those regions. With it, explains Monzón, the Search Unit will be able to determine the location hypotheses of those 192 people, find out what happened and give more information to the relatives.

“It is an achievement of the Peace Agreement,” said the director of the UBPD; while Carlos Ruiz Massieu, head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, assured that this contribution of information “once again represents the signatories’ commitment to what Colombian society expects of them and is a step towards the truth” .

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