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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BOGOTA3491 2009-12-01 23:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bogota
Cable title:  

NOVEMBER HUMAN RIGHTS UPDATE

Tags:   PHUM PGOV PTER KJUS CO 
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1. (C) General Jaime Humberto Uscategui was sentenced to 40 years
in prison for the 1997 Mapiripan, Meta massacre -- Uscategui is the
first general to be convicted for involvement in a paramilitary
massacre. A non-commissioned officer was sentenced to 30 years in
prison for a 2005 extrajudicial execution (EJE). General Oscar
Gonzalez Pena told the Embassy his tenure as army commander had
seen many improvements in respect for human rights. The FARC
burned six people alive, including two minors, on a passenger bus.
Unknown assailants killed eight in Narino. End Summary.



GENERAL CONVICTED FOR MASSACRE,

OTHER MEMBERS OF MILITARY HELD IN FALSE POSITIVE CRIMES



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2. (U) Retired General Jaime Humberto Uscategui was sentenced to 40
years in prison for his involvement in the 1997 paramilitary
massacre in Mapiripan, Meta. Uscategui is the first general to be
convicted for a paramilitary massacre; he announced he will appeal.






3. (U) Non-commissioned officer Jorge Andres Estupinan Chamorro,
formerly of the 16th Brigade, was sentenced to 30 years in prison
for his involvement in the November 2005 "false positive" murder of
Jose Angel Higuila, who was presented as killed in combat in
Dabeiba, Antioquia.





4. (U) The Prosecutor General's office ordered the preventive
detention of Major Diego Hernan Padilla, Sergeant Juan Carlos
Oveido, and Professional Soldiers Oscar Mauricio Castrillon and
Diego Alejandro Echeverri of the Fourth Brigade's Pedro Nel Ospina
Battalion for the May 2006 "false positive" murder of Diego Silver
Garcia.



ARMY COMMANDER DEFENDS HR RECORD



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5. (C) General Oscar Gonzalez Pena maintained to Polcouns November
25 that his year-long tenure as army commander had seen vast
improvements in human rights performance. He noted that during his
tenure, which began after General Mario Montoya was retired in the
wake of the Soacha murder scandal, there had not been any proven
cases of "false positives," a military murder presented as a combat
kill. He conceded that there were two EJE cases under
investigation, however. He also touted his creation of a human
rights directorate within his command as well as a human rights
training school. In addition, he claimed he had instituted a
policy prior to last December's rotation cycle that all commanders
of divisions, brigades, and battalions must be vetted for human
rights issues. Gonzalez disagreed with UN Special Rapporteur
Philip Alston's use of the term "systematic" to describe the EJE

problem within the army. He said the Colombian Army, like all
armies, have persons who act outside the law and should be
punished.



FARC ATTACK CIVILIANS,

FORMER LEADER CHARGED IN CHILD RECRUITMENT



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6. (U) Six people, including two minors, were burned alive in a
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attack on a passenger
bus in Barbacoas, Narino on November 20. The FARC attacked and
burned two other buses in November.





7. (U) Since mid-October the FARC have killed 15 civilians in
Southern Tolima; the majority of the victims were either community
leaders or had relatives in the military or police.





8. (U) Extradited FARC leader and jailer, Gerardo Antonio Aguilar
Ramirez, alias Cesar, has been charged in the forced recruitment of
six children from a school in May 2004.



VIOLENCE IN NARINO



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9. (U) Eight people, including two minors and an Awa indigenous
member, were killed on November 4 in Barbacoas, Narino; no suspects
have been identified. According to Bogota daily El Tiempo, five
additional massacres occurred in Narino in 2009: on February 4, an
undetermined number of indigenous were killed (REF A); on February
19, six Afro-Colombians were killed; on May 6, five Afro-Colombians
were killed; on August 26, 12 indigenous were killed (REF B); and
on October 27, four indigenous were killed (REF C).





10. (U) FARC leader Omar Rolando Herrera Nastacuaz, alias Marcos,
was arrested on November 26 for his alleged involvement in the
February 4 massacre of the Awa. The FARC had publicly accepted
responsibility for the massacre.



PRISONS TO PILOT HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVATORIES



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11. (U) The National Prison Institute (INPEC) announced it would
launch pilot human rights observatories in six prisons with the
assistance of several universities, the United Nations, the
Inspector General's Office (Procuraduria), and the Human Rights
Ombudsman (Defensoria).
BROWNFIELD