국제앰네스티는 콜롬비아 정부에 군 장교에 의한 인권침해에 대한 기소를 막지 말도록 11일 요청했다.100명 이상의 사망자를 냈던 1985 사법부(Palace of Justice) 인질사건 당시 실종된 11명과 관련해 알폰소 플라자스 베가(Alfonso Plazas Vega) 전 대령이 지난 9일 민사상 유죄선고를 받은 후 알바로 우리베(Álvaro Uribe) 대통령과 군 사령부는 군이 민사소송으로부터 보호를 받을 것을 공식적으로 요구했다.
국제앰네스티 마르셀로 폴락(Marcelo Pollack) 콜롬비아 조사관은 “보안군을 기소로부터 보호하는 행위는 불처벌에 철저히 맞서고 모든 인권침해자들이 법의 심판을 받도록 국제적 의무를 존중하겠다는 정부의 주장을 한낱 놀림감으로 만드는 것이다”라고 말했다.
베가 전 대령은 1985년 11월 군이 M-19 게릴라 무장단체가 인질극을 벌이고 있던 사법부 본부 건물을 기습할 당시 발생한 강제 실종 가담 혐의로 30년의 징역형을 선고 받았다.
우리베 대통령은 10일 베가 대령에 대한 변론으로 “그는 자신의 의무를 다했을 뿐”이라고 전하면서 차후 비슷한 기소에 대한 보호가 이루어지도록 군 사법제도의 강화를 권고했다.
국제인권단체들의 반복적인 권고와 1997년 헌법재판소가 이 같은 사건은 사법제도를 통해 조사해야 한다고 판결했음에도 불구하고, 군사재판소는 특정 인권관련사건들에 대한 사법권을 주장하면서 보안군을 기소로부터 보호해왔다.
Colombia’s human rights abusers must not be protected from justice
11 June 2010
The Colombian government must not protect military officers from prosecution for human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.
President Álvaro Uribe and the military high command on Thursday called for the armed forces to be protected from civil prosecution, following Wednesday’s sentencing by a civilian judge of retired colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega for the disappearance of 11 people during the 1985 Palace of Justice siege in Bogotá, which left over 100 people dead.
“Shielding the security forces from prosecution would make a mockery of government claims that it is serious about fighting impunity and respecting its international obligations to bring all human rights abusers to justice,” said Marcelo Pollack, Amnesty International’s Colombia researcher.
The retired colonel faces 30 years in prison for his part in disappearances that took place in November 1985, after military forces stormed the headquarters of the judiciary where members of the M-19 guerrilla movement were holding those inside hostage.
Defending the senior army officer, President Álvaro Uribe yesterday reportedly said that the colonel was “simply trying to do his duty” and suggested that the military justice system be strengthened to prevent similar convictions in the future.
Despite repeated recommendations from international human rights bodies and a 1997 Constitutional Court ruling that such cases be investigated by the civilian justice system, the military courts have continued to claim jurisdiction in some human rights cases, protecting members of the security forces from prosecution.
“Several high-ranking military officers have over the last few years been investigated by the civilian courts, despite military resistance to civilian jurisdiction,” said Marcelo Pollack.
“But the little progress made so far is now seriously at risk of being undermined by the government.”
“The government and the military high command’s intemperate and very public criticism of the decision to convict retired colonel Plazas Vega is only the latest of many attempts by the authorities to discredit the judiciary and to derail a key human rights criminal investigation.”
“In particular, repeated attacks on the integrity of magistrates from the Supreme Court of Justice have threatened the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.”
“Judges such as María Stella Jara Gutiérrez, who convicted Plazas Vega, and the Supreme Court magistrates, who have led the investigation into links between Congress and paramilitary groups, have worked tirelessly to break down the walls of impunity,” said Marcelo Pollack.
Some of those involved in emblematic criminal investigations into human rights violations committed by security forces, such as witnesses, victims and their families, lawyers, human rights defenders, judges and public prosecutors, have been repeatedly harassed, threatened or even killed.
“The fight against impunity in Colombia is a dangerous occupation. The repeated death threats against María Stella Jara Gutiérrez, and the threats against several Supreme Court magistrates, as well as reports that they were subjected to illegal surveillance and wire-tapping, is a cause of serious concern, and should be unequivocally condemned,” said Marcelo Pollack.
The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has requested that the government adopt the necessary measures to protect the life of María Stella Jara Gutiérrez and her son. In the past, it has also made similar requests with regards to several Supreme Court magistrates.