BOGOTA – A Medellin court asked Colombia’s Supreme Court to investigate former President Alvaro Uribe for his alleged knowledge of two massacres carried out by paramilitaries in northwestern Antioquia province when he was governor there, local media reported on Tuesday.
The ruling was issued by the Antioquia Superior Criminal Court upon confirming sentences handed down to two cattle raisers as the responsible parties behind the 1998 killing of human rights activist Jesus Maria Valle by paramilitary assassins with the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the daily El Tiempo reported.
The court found that “sufficient elements exist” to bring several people to trial, including Uribe, given that the meeting to arrange the murder took place on a ranch owned by the ex-president’s family, and it stated that there are links between that crime and the La Granja and El Aro massacres.
The court also found that cattlemen Jaime Alberto and Francisco Antonio Angulo Osorio, whose 30-year prison sentences were upheld on Tuesday, also masterminded Valle’s murder and the 1997 El Aro massacre in the town of Ituango.
The ruling also says that the cattle raisers attended a meeting also attended by then-Antioquia Government Secretary Pedro Juan Moreno, now deceased, and there the participants agreed on the need to “silence Dr. Valle,” the report said.
“Several other people” also participated in planning the massacres, the court found, although several of them are now dead and others have not been linked to the crimes.
Several witnesses have said that they saw an Antioquia government helicopter flying over the area while paramilitaries were carrying out the massacres, although the pilots have denied participating in the AUC operations.
Four people died in the 1996 La Granja massacre and dozens were displaced, and 15 people lost their lives in the El Aro massacre the next year.
Uribe responded on his Twitter account to the request to bring him to trial, saying that it was an “electoral” accusation without any basis.