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Cablegate: Supreme Court Reopens 1987 Murder Case Against

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DE RUEHBO #1072 0791301
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191301Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2011
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0138
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6028
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ APR 9335
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6682
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4353
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 001072

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS CO
SUBJECT: SUPREME COURT REOPENS 1987 MURDER CASE AGAINST
FORMER GENERAL

1. Summary: On March 6, the Supreme Court ordered the
reopening of the investigation of a retired general and two
officers for the 1987 massacre of 19 businessmen in
Magdalena. New testimony from demobilized paramilitaries in
the Justice and Peace process, as well as a ruling by the
Inter-American Court on Human Rights, led the Court to reopen
a case that had been dismissed by a military court in 1997
for lack of evidence. Six civilians have already been
sentenced for their roles in the massacre. End Summary.

-----------------------------
Case Reopens - 21 years later
-----------------------------

2. On March 6, the Supreme Court ordered the reopening of
the investigation against retired general Farouk Yanine Diaz
and two other retired officers for their alleged roles in the
massacre of 19 businessmen in 1987. Yanine was commander of
the army's Second Brigade at the time and allegedly
collaborated with paramilitaries to kidnap and kill the men
in Puerto Boyaca, Magdalena. Retired Major Oscar de Jesus
Echandia Sanchez and retired Sergeant Otoniel Hernandez
Arciniegas were also reportedly involved. Another military
officer, Lieutenant Colonel Navas Rubio, died in June 2002.
The Fiscalia had already obtained the conviction of six
civilians involved in the massacre. The six were sentenced to
25 years in prison.

3. Investigation of Yanine's role in the massacre was
delayed for years by procedural disputes over jurisdiction
and evidentiary issues. In a controversial decision in 1996,
the Supreme Judicial Council transferred jurisdiction from
the civilian judiciary to the military criminal justice
system. One of the alleged assassins, Alonso Vaquero Agudelo
("Black Vladimir") implicated Yanine, but the military court
threw out his testimony. The military court then closed the
investigation on June 18, 1997 due to lack of evidence.

4. In May 2004, the Inter-American Human Rights Court
recommended that Yanine be prosecuted in the civilian justice
system for crimes against humanity. The Court also ordered
the GOC to pay the victims' families 6 million dollars and to
investigate the massacre's intellectual authors. In May 2005,
the Fiscalia requested the Procuraduria to file a formal writ
of review with the Supreme Court asking it to reopen the
court. The Supreme Court ordered the case to be reopened on
March 6, 2008,

-----------------------------------
JPL Testimony Reveals More Evidence
-----------------------------------

5. The Supreme Court's decision to reopen the investigation
was influenced by recent Justice and Peace Law testimony by
two former AUC commanders -- Ivan Roberto Duque Gaviria (aka
"Ernesto Baez") and Ramon Isaza ("El Viejo") -- that shed new
light on the 1987 massacre. Isaza charged that Yanine was an
informant to paramilitaries while he was a colonel in the
Barbual Battalion in Magdalena. On March 14, Prosecutor
General Mario Iguaran told the press the Supreme Court's
ruling showed the Fiscalia "has the capability and conviction
to fight impunity." Fiscalia officials are awaiting the
official transfer of the case from the Supreme Court,
expected within a month. It will then appoint a prosecutor
who will determine whether to proceed with new criminal
charges.
Brownfield

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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