The largest drug cartel in Colombia, known as the Clan del Golfo, threatened two magistrates of the court of peace that is investigating the worst crimes that occurred in the prolonged armed conflict, authorities denounced this Saturday.
The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) reported that magistrate Alejandro Ramelli and auxiliary magistrate Hugo Escobar received intimidation related to their investigation into the scandal known as “false positives. A lurid military practice in which the public forces murdered thousands of civilians and presented them as rebels killed in combat to inflate their results in the fight against the leftist guerrillas.
According to the peace court, 6,402 civilians died under this practice between 2002 and 2008 alone.
“I strongly reject the threats from the Clan del Golfo to JEP magistrates who are investigating false positives. The search for the truth will always be the fundamental principle of any peace process. If the gulf clan does not understand that Peace implies the truth, it is better that they say so and we do not waste time”, President Gustavo Petro wrote on Twitter.
The first leftist to govern Colombia came to power in August with the ambition of extinguishing the armed conflict through dialogue with all illegal organizations.
Within the framework of its “Total Peace” policy, the government has had hasty rapprochements with the Clan del Golfo, a feared narco army made up of 9,000 combatants that extend its tentacles to some 30 countries and traffic close to half of the cocaine from Colombia.
In March, Petro resumed the offensive against the Clan after accusing it of breaking a ceasefire agreed on December 31 with attacks on the civilian population and public forces.
The prosecutor’s office announced the start of the investigations and assured that “it contacted the two judicial officials to find out details about the origin of the intimidation and guide the investigative acts that allow those responsible to be identified and prosecuted.”
The Clan was formed from the remnants of the far-right paramilitaries that operated with the help of some members of the public force and is financed mainly from cocaine trafficking in the world‘s largest producer of that drug.
Emerged from the peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas in 2016, the JEP investigates the crimes of all the actors in the internal conflict and offers alternative sentences to prison for those who accept responsibility, tell the truth and make reparation to the victims.
The UN, the United States Embassy in Colombia and the High Commissioner for Peace also rejected the threats.