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Cablegate: Army Captain Charged in February 2005 Massacre Of

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R 071718Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
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INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9634
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC LIMA 5690
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UNCLAS BOGOTA 008400

SIPDIS

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KJUS CO
SUBJECT: ARMY CAPTAIN CHARGED IN FEBRUARY 2005 MASSACRE OF
MEMBERS OF THE SAN JOSE DE APARTADO PEACE COMMUNITY


1. On November 22, the Prosecutor General's office
(Fiscalia) ordered the detention of Army Captain Guillermo
Gordillo for his participation in the massacre of eight
civilians near San Jose de Apartado in February 2005.
Captain Gordillo is in preventive detention, charged with
homicide of protected persons "in concert with delinquency
and terrorism." Gordillo commanded the Bolivar Company of
the Velez Battalion of the 17th Brigade at the time of the
massacre. A former paramilitary cooperating with prosecutors
reportedly testified that Gordillo ordered the murder of San
Jose de Apartado Peace Community leader Luis Eduardo Guerra
and seven others in retaliation for the FARC's killing of
soldiers two weeks earlier. The paramilitary testified that
Gordillo's men secured the area while the paramilitaries
carried out the murders, because they believed members of the
peace community sympathized with the FARC. In addition to
Guerra, the victims included three children aged eleven, five
and two.

2. Human rights groups complain that while Gordillo's arrest
represents progress, the investigation has not reached higher
levels. Amnesty International questions why Colonel Nestor
Ivan Duque, a high ranking officer within the 17th Brigade,
has not been prosecuted for covering up the military's
involvement in the deaths. Duque was questioned by the
Fiscalia and testified that elements of the 17th Brigade were
nowhere near the site at the time of the massacre. The
Fiscalia decided there was insufficient evidence to charge
Duque in connection with the massacre, but the Inspector
General's Office (Procuraduria) has an open investigation
against him. Military officials tell us that in the absence
of an order by the Fiscalia or Procuraduria, they cannot
suspend Duque or take other disciplinary action against him.
Nichols

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