Colombian rebels commit war crimes in killing civilians, says UN rights office

14 March 2006

United Nations human rights officials have yet again condemned the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Popular Army (FARC-EP) for attacks on civilians, condemning the murder of a former governor of an indigenous reservation and his wife as war crimes within the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC).

“These two new war crimes blatantly show the levels of cruelty and contempt for human life attained by FARC-EP members,” the Colombia office of the UH High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) said in a statement, the fourth such condemnation in the past two weeks.

“The office stresses that by their number and their frequency the murders perpetrated by members of FARC-EP constitute a crime against humanity on which the International Criminal Court will be able to exercise its jurisdiction,” it added.

The former governor of the Makaguán de Caño Claro reservation in Arauca department in north-eastern Colombia, Juan Ramírez Villamizar, and his wife, Luz Miriam Farías, a school teacher, were killed last week.

The Office stressed that High Commissioner Louise Arbour, in her recent report on Colombia, called on the leaders and other members of FARC-EP to fulfil their obligations to respect the lives and personal integrity of all civilians in the four-decades-long war they have been waging against the Government.

In the three earlier condemnations, the Office accused the group of committing war crimes in the separate massacres of nine bus passengers, nine members of a local municipal council and three civilians, including a 76-year-old woman and an eight-year-old child.


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