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News > Colombia

Colombian Judge Declines Indictment Hearing Against Ex-General

  • The graffiti reads,

    The graffiti reads, "Who gave the order?", Colombia, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @MAFAPOCOLOMBIA

Published 31 August 2021

Judge Fabio Bernal holds that Mario Montoya must be judged by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

On Monday, Bogota’s Superior Court Judge Fabio Bernal declined to hold an indictment hearing against former General Mario Montoya for his involvement in the extrajudicial killings of 104 civilians, whom the military presented as guerrillas fighters killed in combat to get financial rewards. 


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"The Montoya case shall be judged by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which adjudicates the armed conflict trials since the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian State and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)," Bernal stated.

He also clarified that the defendant lawyers could only request that his decision be reversed before him and not before other superior judges. The Superior Court asked Bernal to charge Montoya with the crimes of aggravated homicide with concealment and alteration or destruction of evidences. These crimes occurred when he was commander of the National Army between 2007 and 2008.

"Five out of the 104 homicides sponsored by Montoya correspond to minors who did not belong to paramilitary gangs and were put in a state of defenselessness," the Court pointed out on Aug. 12. About 6,402 Colombian civilians were victims of extrajudicial killings, for which JEP has charged 26 soldiers so far. However, JEP has not begun a trial against Montoya yet.

On behalf of this cases' victims, lawyer Sebastian Escobar asked Bernal to revoke his decision since it prevents compliance with justice. The lawyer for the relatives of the victims German Romero also denounced that Montoya has remained silent in JEP proceedings and that his defendants want that the ex-military reveal who ordered the executions.

Despite this, Montoya’s lawyer Andres Garzon insisted that the competence to judge the former general belongs to the JEP and not to the ordinary justice "My client has said everything he has to say before the JEP," he stressed and claimed that this institution’s investigations are progressing.

Over a hundred Colombians on Monday recalled the victims of extrajudicial killings through a street performance in which they used their bodies to form the number 6,402.

During their performance, protesters used military boots to recall that the bodies of some of the victims were found wearing boots on the wrong foot and guerrilla uniforms, which were spotless and without a trace of bullets despite their bodies showed several wounds. Similar demonstrations were carried out in London, Paris, Montreal, Barcelona, Madrid, and Buenos Aires.

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