Army colonel to stand trial over 2003 paramilitary massacre

A Colombian army offiical is to stand trial over his alleged role in a paramilitary massacre in 2003.

On 2 May that year, the Bloque Central Bolívar group entered Chiscas in the department of Boyacá and killed two men and a woman. The paramilitaries also forcibly disappeared another man whose whereabouts are still unknown, while a 19-year-old woman was sexually abused over several days.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yerson Ortegón Rodríguez faces charges relating to homicide, forced disappearance, torture, kidnapping and forced displacement. Security forces have been found to have collaborated with the paramilitaries. Chiscas police chief, Gregory Ernesto Amado Rueda, was previously sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the atrocity. Nine paramilitaries were also convicted.

Paramilitaries committed the majority of human rights violations during the armed conflict, murdering and disappearing thousands of people. Millions more were displaced and their lands made available to multinational corporations to conduct resource extraction or industrial-scale agriculture. Today, paramilitary-successor groups continue to operate in many parts of the country.