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Cablegate: Major Sentenced to 40 Years for 1999 Massacre In

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SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER KJUS CO
SUBJECT: MAJOR SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS FOR 1999 MASSACRE IN
LA GABARRA

REF: BOGOTA 6382

1. On September 15, the Colombian Supreme Court found Major
Luis Fernando Campuzano Vasquez guilty of complicity in the
August 21, 1999 massacre of 27 people in La Gabarra, Norte de
Santander. The court ruled that Campuzano, a lieutenant at
the time, ordered the withdrawal of military patrols and
which allowed paramilitaries of the United Self-Defense
Forces of Colombia (AUC) to kill 27--without opposition from
the armed forces. The Court ruled that Campuzano had advance
knowledge of the AUC attack, and sentenced him to 40 years in
prison.

2. In 1999, President Andres Pastrana relieved the then head
of the 5th Brigade (General Alberto Bravo), the commander of
the police in Norte de Santander (Col. Roque Sanchez), and
the regional DAS Director (Almer Munoz Munoz) from duty after
the massacre. Additionally, the case was passed from the
military justice system to the civilian system that year.
The Inspector General (Procuraduria) finished its
investigation into the case in 2004, and the military then
suspended Campuzano for 80 days. On October 21, 2003,
Campuzano was acquitted in the First Specialized Court of
Cundinamarca, and on April 28, 2005 the Superior District
Court of Cundinamarca upheld the acquittal. The Prosecutor
General (Fiscalia) appealed the case to the Supreme Court,
which released its ruling September 15 overturning the lower
court acquittals. Campuzano was immediately detained.

3. This is the second significant human rights case resolved
in the last month with a conviction (Ref A), and a key
victory for the Fiscalia in a case involving the military.
Brownfield

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