Massacre of Alaska
Colombian SOA Graduate Arrested for His Participation in Massacre
Former Commander of the Palacé Battalion, Colonel Jorge Alberto Amor Páez, Linked to Massacre of 24 Persons

Sábado 23 de mayo de 2009, por Press Office - Lawyers Collective

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A preventive measure of detention was issued against the former commander of the Palacé Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Alberto Amor Páez, by the specialized human rights prosecutor in the city of Calí, Juan Carlos Oliveros Corrales. This warrant confirmed Amor Páez’s participation in the massacre of 24 peasant farmers, which took place in the rural communities of Alaska, Tres Esquinas and La Habana, in the municipality of Buga in the department of Valle del Cauca, on October 10, 2001.

The warrant was issued on May 7, 2009, after the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, as the representatives of the victims, requested the revocation of the decision taken this past September 2, 2008, which denied issuing the preventive measure of detention against Lieutenant Colonel Amor Páez.

Lieutenant Colonel Amor Páez, who until recently was the commander of the 5th Artillery Battalion, based in the municipality of Socorro, Santander department, is presently detained in these same installations, since he was captured by agents from the CTI, Sijin, and DAS, after the warrant was issued.

Charges against Lieutenant Colonel Amor Páez

At the time of incidents, Amor Páez, an expert in military intelligence, was the commander of the 3rd Artillery Battalion at the Palacé Battalion. According to the School of the Americas Watch Database, Jorge Alberto Amor Páez carried out military training in the United States in 1981 and 1996. He also had military training in Chile and Israel. In 2007, he was appointed by president Álvaro Uribe Vélez to be the naval military attaché in Argentina. He held this post until February 2008, when he returned to Colombia.

It should be stressed Hebert Veloza García, aka HH, paramilitary boss of the Calima Bloc, provided testimony in the criminal case being prosecuted for the massacre of Alaska, before he was extradited to the United States on April 2, 2008. This testimony asserted Lieutenant Colonel Amor Páez coordinated with members belonging to this paramilitary group. He also claimed Amor Páez facilitated a list to Armando Lugo, aka El Cabezón, one of the members of this Bloc, which consisted of the names of the persons who were later murdered by this paramilitary group. Later, this testimony was corroborated and extended in the Justice and Peace proceedings.

Lieutenant Colonel Amor Páez was also accused of coordinating and facilitating the criminal activities carried out by the Calima Bloc, providing vehicles to transport its members, and receiving money from these structures, according to statements made by Armando Lugo, aka El Cabezón, and Yesid Enrique Pacheco, aka El Cabo. The latter participated in the meetings Amor Páez held with aka El Tocayo, who was in charge of political affairs and coordinated activities with civilian and military authorities in the area.

Up to now, the paramilitary Dairo Antonio Castaño, had been the only person convicted for the massacre of Alaska. Castaño was sentenced to 40 years of prison by the Criminal Second Court of the Specialized Circuit on December 2006.

Despite the evidence demonstrating the responsibility of members of the public force in the commission of these crimes and that the incursion of the paramilitary groups in this part of the county was widely known by the local civilian and military authorities, until today, no military officer had been criminally charged.

The Massacre

On the day of October 10, 2001, members of paramilitary structures belonging to the Calima Bloc, arrived to the rural community of Tres Esquinas and, after selecting eight persons from the community, proceeded to murder them in a total state of defenselessness.

Later, the paramilitaries went to the communities of Alaska and La Habana, which are located within the municipality of Buga, department of Valle de Cauca. There they removed men, women and children from their homes forced them to go to an area near the Alaska Agricultural and Livestock School.

Once a considerable number of people were gathered there, one of the paramilitary leaders ordered the women and children to shut themselves in any of the 30 houses in the community.

Next, members of the Calima Bloc ordered the men and children to form a line and minutes later the paramilitaries began to shoot them indiscriminately. There were 16 victims, among them several children.

It should be stressed this massacre took place just 15 minutes from the base for the Palacé Battalion, which belongs to the Army’s Third Brigade, and 5 minutes from the La Magdalena police station, where police officers were being trained in counterguerrilla operations.

For the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective and for the victims, this decision represents a step forward in the fight against impunity and in the recognition of the rights of the victims to truth, justice, and comprehensive reparation. It also demonstrates once again that paramilitary structures were developed and consolidated as a State strategy. With the support of senior civilian, political and military authorities, these structures perpetrated thousands of crimes against humanity so as to exterminate and destroy organizing processes and achieve political, economic, social and military control in many regions of the country.

Afiliaciones

Afiliado a la Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos
y la Organización Mundial contra la Tortura
Estatus Consultivo en la OEA

José Alvear Restrepo

Nace en Medellín el 1 de julio de 1913 en el seno de una familia de profundas convicciones religiosas y bajo los parámetros de la ideología del partido conservador. Realiza sus estudios en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Antioquia, donde se gradúa de Abogado con una brillante tesis titulada: "Conflictos del trabajo: la huelga"

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