After 30 years of litigation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (ICHR) on Monday declared the Colombian State responsible for murdering, threatening, disappearing, or forcing the exile of about 6,000 militants of the Patriotic Union (UP).
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"Today is the day of justice. We received the ICHR final judgment, against which there is no appeal. The State was condemned for the crimes against the UP," Senator Aida Avella said.
In May 1985, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian Communist Party (PCC) founded the UP thanks to a peace agreement between former President Belisario Betancur’s administration (1982-1986) and the guerrilla.
In the 1986 legislative elections, 14 UP militants were elected senators and representatives. That same year, 247 members of this leftist party were killed, including legislators Leonardo Posada, Octavio Vargas, and Pedro Jimenez.
"The Colombian State had the possibility of killing and persecuting with impunity the UP militants, who achieved a popular mobilization never seen before in this country’s bipartisan government system,” lawyer expert in conflict Michael Reed told the ICHR.
To repair the survivors and relatives of the victims, the Colombian State will have to build a monument in memory of the UP militants and publicly recognize its responsibility for the crimes within two years.
“We received the IACHR sentence in tears. The State was finally condemned. We were right! Justice will survive. Victims and survivors will keep the memory alive,” Culture Minister Patricia Ariza highlighted.