Following its investigation into a 13 November incident in Colombia's Santa Rosa municipality that resulted in the death of two Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) members, a United Nations-coordinated tripartite ceasefire monitoring mechanism has said that the events of that day constituted violations of the ceasefire protocol.
"The information collected showed that there were significant incidents and breaches that constitute violations of the protocol [...] which currently governs the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities," read a news release issued by the Mechanism, which also includes the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP.
"The Mechanism will make recommendations to the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) to prevent such situations, emphasizing that the flow of information and communication is vital for the coordination between the parties and with Mechanism," it added.
A third FARC-EP member – also involved in the incident – was demobilized, also noted the release.
According to the Mechanism, the displacement of the three FARC-EP members involved in the incident was "neither informed nor coordinated with the Mechanism nor with the Public Forces located in the region."
It added that this was in breach of the protocol governing the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities which states that the FARC-EP must "not make a presence outside the armed and uniformed Temporary Preclusion Points without previous coordination with the Mechanism."
The Mechanism added that the Public Force opened fire on the FARC-EP members without previous action, due to the Public Force's "conviction that they were executing an action against the National Liberation Army."
It further noted that the victims were identified as FARC-EP members after the incident, breaching provisions of the protocol wherein the Government promised not to "come into armed contact" with the FARC-EP.
The tripartite Mechanism also reiterated its willingness to receive direct information from civilians as well as from social organizations, which contributes to monitoring and verifying of the ceasefire.
"[The Mechanism] also highlights the commitment of the parties to respect the Bilateral Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities, and notes that despite this incident there has been good coordination among [its] members," the release added.