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News > Latin America

Colombia: Ex President Uribe to Testify on the El Aro Massacre

  • File photo of the massacre in San Roque, Colombia.

    File photo of the massacre in San Roque, Colombia. | Photo: X/ @HarolNieto

Published 27 November 2023

In 2018, the Colombian Supreme Court declared the massacres in La Granja and El Aro as crimes against humanity.

On Monday, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is required to appear before the Prosecutor's Office to provide a statement regarding the El Aro massacre carried out by paramilitary groups on October 22, 1997.


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Uribe will give his voluntary statement to a prosecutor delegated to the Supreme Justice Court, following his expressed intention to address and refute the accusations made against him by former paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso.

The proceedings related to the El Aro massacre, as well as the 1998 assassination of lawyer Jesus Maria Valle, are being conducted under the Law 600, which is part of the former Colombian penal system.

After the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) accepted Mancuso's submission on Nov. 17, a statement from the former paramilitary commander surfaced. In it, Mancuso claimed that the then Antioquia governor Alvaro Uribe was aware of the operations of a paramilitary group in that area planning the massacre.

"Salvatore Mancuso, this outlaw, now changes his story about El Aro to justify the deceptive creation of the hinge theory of the JEP-FARC. I will add this to the complaints in the United States and before the Colombian Prosecutor's Office," Uribe said, emphasizing that he never met with the former paramilitary commander.

The massacres in La Granja and El Aro occurred in the municipality of Ituango. In the first incident, five people were killed in 1996. The second was perpetrated against 15 farmers in 1997. In both acts, Colombian justice demonstrated the responsibility of self-defense groups.

The Superior Court of Medellin forwarded copies against Uribe for investigation into his possible involvement in these events.

In 2018, both crimes were declared as crimes against humanity by the Supreme Court, which is currently conducting a preliminary investigation into what happened in that municipality.

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