(Bogota) “Timoshenko,” the former leader of the defunct Marxist FARC guerrillas in Colombia, on Tuesday admitted responsibility for more than 20,000 kidnappings committed by his group during the armed conflict.
Posted yesterday at 5:46 PM.
Sitting in front of several former hostages and their families in the Bogotá auditorium, Rodrigo Londono, nicknamed “Temoshenko,” took responsibility for these kidnappings, along with six other senior former leaders of the FARC.
All are currently mandated by the Special Judicial Authority for Peace (JEP), which arose out of the peace agreement that ended the conflict with the militants in 2016.
On behalf of the 13,000 fighters who signed this agreement, the former rebel leader admitted “individual and collective responsibility for one of the most heinous crimes committed” by the Marxist organization.
The man who was the leader of the FARC at the time of their disarmament declared that they were “the result of a policy that led to crimes against humanity and war crimes”.
Former guerrilla leaders Pablo Catatumbo, Julian Gallo, Reverend Alabi, Milton Tuncel, Rodrigo Granda and Jaime Alberto Parra are participating in the public hearing, which will be held through Thursday.
These men are accused of more than 21,000 cases of kidnapping and other crimes committed between 1990 and 2016.
The politicians and soldiers who were the victims of these kidnappings, and who acted as bargaining chips against imprisoned FARC fighters, listened to the confessions of their former torturers, which they considered insufficient.
Oscar Tullio Lescano, who was kidnapped in 2000 when he was a Conservative MP, demanded that his “jailers” shed light on the fate of the missing hostages.
They must tell us the truth. We forgive, but that doesn’t mean there is no justice, we want the truth,” demanded the 75-year-old former MP, who escaped from his captors in 2008.
Judge Julita Lemaitre, who presided over today’s hearing, commented: “These crimes were the product of a policy adopted by the secretariat (administration) of the FARC” and were “committed directly by their subordinates.”
According to the peace agreement, the former guerrillas are required to make reparations to their victims and tell the truth to avoid imprisonment.
It will take at least three months for the court to judge the accused. If their confessions are deemed inadequate, they could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
In May, about 20 retired army officers, including a general, admitted their involvement in the killing of more than 100 civilians, mostly simple peasants who were then considered combatants killed in the fighting.
JEP estimates that there have been at least 6,400 victims of the practice, known as “false positives”.