UN human rights chief praises Colombian ruling on disappearances in court attack

Oct 11, 2019 zlxsfutf

11 June 2010The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed a Colombian court’s decision to sentence a senior army officer to 30 years in prison for his role in the aftermath of the notorious mass hostage-taking at the country’s Supreme Court complex in 1985. The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed a Colombian court’s decision to sentence a senior army officer to 30 years in prison for his role in the aftermath of the notorious mass hostage-taking at the country’s Supreme Court complex in 1985.Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, described this week’s court ruling as historic and “an important step in the fight against impunity,” and she urged the Government to support the decision and to protect the judge who made it from potential reprisals.Colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega now faces 30 years’ jail for his role in the disappearance of 11 people after Colombian military forces stormed the Supreme Court building in the capital, Bogotá, on 6 November 1985. Most of the 11 people who disappeared were cafeteria workers.The military raid occurred hours after the M-19 guerrilla group had seized the Palace of Justice building and taken several hundred people – including more than 40 judges – hostage. At least 100 people, including more than 60 civilians, died during the military intervention.“I hope that the judicial proceedings currently under way will be able to establish the truth about these tragic events, and the persons responsible, with all necessary guarantees for due process,” said Ms. Pillay in a press release issued by her office in Geneva.“This should include the full protection of witnesses, lawyers, the families of victims, members of the administration of justice involved in these cases, and also those accused of the crimes.”The High Commissioner stressed that international human rights law makes clear that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever – including a state of war, or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency – may be invoked as justification for enforced disappearances.”While any State has the right to use force to guarantee security and maintain public order, it “should observe certain limits aimed at respecting fundamental rights of individuals and the rule of law, even when responding to unjustified attacks by illegal armed groups.”

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