(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)
An Extra-Judicial Execution
A peasant is murdered in the municipality of El Castillo, Meta Department, after having been detained by troops of the 21st Pantano de Vargas Battalion
Saturday, the 26th of May of 2007 at 3 PM, Mister Genaro Potes, 51 (identified by his national ID card No. 17,351,972 given in San Martin, Meta) left the house of his brother, located in the community Campo Alegre, of the municipality of El Castillo (Meta), headed for the community Puerto Esperanza, wearing a white shirt and blue pants. He went on horseback, intending to attend a meeting on tax discounts At 4 PM, he was detained in the Campo Alegre community by troops of the 21st Vargas Battalion, under the command of Commander Ferro. According to the versions of neighbors who witnessed the events, the peasant was tied up in a cacao plantation, next to the community’s school. The army interrogated another easant who passing by the site at that time, asking if he knew Mister Genaro. The soldiers said that the detained man was a guerrilla fighter. The neighbor told them that he did know him as a hard-working and honest man of the area.
On Sunday, May 27, neighbors from the Puerto Esperanza community that the body of Mister Genaro Potes was put into a pickup truck belong to the armed forces and taken to the Municipality of Granada, Meta.
In the morning of the 28th of May, the radio Station Colombia Stereo gave out the news that in the Municipality of El Castillo, in the community of Campo Alegre, during a confrontation with the guerrilla forces, the army had brought down a guerrilla fighter.
Commander Pérez, in command of the 21st Vargas Brigade, indicated on repeated occasions that Mister Genardo Potes was a guerrilla. He also put up obstacles to identifying and delivering the body on the pretext that there were no personal documents, when his family affirmed that Mister Genaro left his house with his personal indentification documents, along with the title to his land.
Special physical characteristics of the person:
Mistor Genaro Potes suffered a minor cerebral paralysis and mobility problems, which manifested themselves in his poor equilibrium while walking, as a result of having had polio as a child. This situation was known by all, since it was obvious at first glance.
Antecedents of the Displacement:
According to the declaration in the single registry of displaced populations, dated February 2006, Mister Potes was internally displaced within the municipality on Mat 26, 2003, from the community of Los Alpes to the community of Caño Embarrado. During this period there was a massive displacement in the municipality of El Castillo that left the fields deserted, as well as multiple murders, disappearances and other violations of human rights and of the International Humanitarian Law.
Mister Genardo Potes still presented special physical and mental characteristics, fully evident, which gave him the right to special and respectful treatment, and especially when those who arbitrarily detain him (the National Army) are authorities who, because of their constitutional duty, must watch out for the life, honor and possessions of the inhabitants of the territory. He was submitted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, his personal identification documents were taken from him, and then he was murdered and reported to be a guerrilla killed in combat.
This evident shameless mistreatment by which the rights of the peasants are violated, and their later use to demonstrate the results of combat actions, alarms the community of this municipality who feel insecure in the face of the very forces of the State.
That is why we raise the following
We ask friends and social and human rights organizations who have this information that they please spread it through all the possible media and that they send communications to the following national authorities:
To the President of the Republic, Doctor Álvaro Uribe Vélez, that he guarantee the right to life, and to the free movement of the people of the Municipality of El Castillo, Meta
To the President of the Republic, Doctor Álvaro Uribe Vélez, as commander-in-chief of the military forces, that he demand of his soldiers that they guarantee the fundamental rights of the peasants of the region.
To the National Army, that they abstain from presenting extrajudicial executions as casualties of combat and that they carry out their constitutional duty to protect the life, honor and possessions of all Colombians.
To the Inspector General of the Nation, Doctor Edgardo Maya Villazón, that he initiate the appropriate disciplinary investigations.
To the Attorney General of the Nation, that he initiate criminal investigations.
To the Defender of the People, Doctor Volmar Pérez, that he assume direct control of the case in question. In the same way, that he guarantee the permanent presence of a representative Defender of his office for the region of Alto Ariari, who would effectively accompany the peasants who have been the victims of violations of fundamental rights.
MOVIMIENTO NACIONAL DE VICTIMAS DE CRÍMENES DE ESTADO (National Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State)
CORPORACIÓN CLARETIANA NORMAN PEREZ BELLO (Claretian Firm “Norman Pérez Bello)
COMITÉ DE SOLIDARIDAD CON PRESOS POLÍTICOS (Committee of Solidarity with Political Prisoners)
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621