Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice has declared several criminal acts, which were part of an ongoing investigation against the country's former president and legislator Alvaro Uribe, crimes against humanity.
The acts include mass murders carried out by paramilitary forces in El Aro, San Roque, and La Granja, and the murder of human rights defender Jesus Maria Valle.
Declaring these acts as crimes against humanity means they are not subject to statutes of limitations.
Uribe has faced investigations since 2014 due to allegations that he knew about the massacres, which took place between 1996 and 1997 while he was governor of the department of Antioquia.
Twenty-seven people were murdered during the massacres, and hundreds were displaced as a result.
Former paramilitary leaders Carlos Castaño (deceased), Salvatore Mancuso, Ramiro Vanoy and Francisco Villalba have been sentenced for the massacres in La Granja and El Aro, while two members of Colombia’s armed forces were sanctioned for allowing the killings.
Human rights defender Jesus Maria Valle was murdered by hitmen of the paramilitary force United Self-Defenders of Colombia (AUC) after denouncing state inaction to prevent the massacres in La Granja and El Aro.
The investigation against Uribe is also related to his alleged participation in the creation of paramilitary groups based in the Guacharacas Estate, which belongs to Uribe, and the creation of the Metro Bloc of Self-Defenders.
Uribe is one of Colombia’s most popular politicians. In the March legislative elections, he became the Senator with the most votes in Senate despite investigations against him for corruption, illegal wiretapping, links with paramilitarism and witness manipulation.
His protege and presidential candidate Ivan Duque could become Colombia’s next president given he has a 20 percentage point lead over progressive candidate Gustavo Petro.