Colombia’s Constitutional Court to review Judgment T-342-20 against the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó

Published by Brent Patterson on

PBI-Colombia at the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó earlier this month.

PBI-Colombia has noted: “In 2018, the seventeenth brigade of the Colombian army, which has jurisdiction in the area, brought the Peace Community to court for denouncing the alleged collusion between this brigade and the neo-paramilitary groups.”

“This sentence was appealed and sent to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, who in November 2020 ruled in favour of the 17th Brigade, despite concerns expressed by, among others, Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, that such a mechanism should not be used by the armed forces to silence the civilian population.”

Now, Las 2 Orillas reported:  “On 13 May, Colombia’s Constitutional Court will discuss the nullity of judgment T-342-20, which protects the right to a good name claimed by the commander of Brigade XVII against the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.”

That article comments: “It’s not just [violence that is used as a weapon], the Colombian military also uses legal arguments to try to silence the voice of whistleblowers.”

“Judgment T-342-20 … has raised national and international concerns about the difficult security conditions that this peasant community has paid a very high cost in defending its right to live in peace. This judgment, if not annulled, opens a very negative precedent for all victims or persons who suffer human rights violations by members of the Colombian Army.”

The article adds: “The international community has noticed serious crimes committed by the 17th Brigade, as in the case of the 2005 massacre, where 8 of its members were killed by paramilitaries and soldiers of the massacre.”

Aljazeera has reported: “Brigida Gonzalez [one of the founders of the Peace Community] knows Colombia’s conflict only too well. In 2005, her 15-year-old daughter, Elisena, was murdered in her sleep by members of the Colombian Army’s 17th Brigade, who accused Elisena of joining the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.”

That article adds: “[Then president Alvaro] Uribe, in early 2005, accused members of the community of collaborating with the FARC. Paramilitaries arrived shortly afterwards and executed eight members of the community, including its leader Luis Eduardo Guerra, his wife, and their 11-year-old son.”

This article by PBI-Colombia further explains what happened: The massacre that changed the Peace Community forever.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied the Peace Community since 1999.

Tweet from our friend Kathy Price of Amnesty International Canada:

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