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Colombia: UN rights office condemns leftist rebel massacre of farm workers

Colombia: UN rights office condemns leftist rebel massacre of farm workers

The United Nations human rights office in Colombia has condemned the massacre of 14 farm workers in the north-west of the country and warned leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Popular Army (FARC-EP) that they were incurring war and could be subject to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The workers were shot dead on 23 August in Valdivia municipality of Antioquia province in an attack which the authorities attributed to members of FARC-EP’s front 36, the office noted.

“The Office warns that with killings like that of Puerto Valdivia, the FARC-EP members are indulging in conduct that constitutes war crimes,” it said in a statement issued in Bogota, the Colombian capital.

“Moreover, murders of this type, by their generalized and systematic character, would possess the characteristics of crimes against humanity, and thus those responsible could be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice,” it added.

It called on the FARC-EP secretariat to “publicly assume the responsibility that arises from this atrocious act and order its members to refrain at all times from attacks against the civilian population.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have been killed and millions displaced in four decades of fighting in the Latin American country between leftist guerrillas, Government forces and right-wing paramilitaries.