Colombia’s attorney general to investigate defense, military leaders

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Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez
Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]olombia’s national attorney general opened a formal investigation Monday against the country’s defense minister and various members of the armed forces.

At issue is whether the police and army abandoned the small La Guajira village of Conejo earlier this month while a number of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, including chief peace talks negotiators, held an illegal armed meeting with local residents.

“Given the various denunciations made to the attorney general’s office, and journalism recording the presence of the FARC in Conejo on Feb. 18, today marks the opening of a disciplinary investigation,” said Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez in a press conference Monday.

Colombian law requires that “in no case should special logistical orders be established by Public Forces in order to create special free and clear zones in any part of the national territory.”

The Conejo incident threatened to derail ongoing peace talks in Havana, but the Colombian government and FARC, along with envoys from Cuba and Norway, were able to reach an agreement that allowed talks to restart this week.

“[FARC] will continue to comply with the agreements reached by all parties with regards to measures of de-escalation and fostering confidence,” said FARC representatives in a press release Wednesday.

The attorney general will also investigate whether police and army negligence allowed FARC rebels to gather with civilians in a school in Conejo.

Involving schools and other public buildings in armed conflict constitutes a violation of Colombian and international human rights laws.

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