BOGOTA, Jun 11, 2010 (IPS) - Surrounded by a protective phalanx of stern generals and police chiefs, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe assailed a court ruling that sentenced a senior army officer for human rights crimes committed nearly 25 years ago.
In his Thursday night televised message, the right-wing president also announced "new legislation," among other measures, to provide the military with legal protection. Earlier, he had stated that "human rights cannot be invoked to commit abuses against the security forces."
On Wednesday, retired colonel Alfonso Plazas was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the disappearance of 11 people in November 1985, when he led a military assault on the Palace of Justice after it was occupied by the leftist April 19 Movement (M-19) guerrilla group.
Retired military officers slammed the conviction of Plazas as "legal and political warfare" driven by "national and international terrorism."
They also demanded that all cases in which members of the military are implicated fall under the jurisdiction of the military courts.
In 1997, the Constitutional Court ruled that cases involving members of the security forces accused of human rights abuses were to be investigated by the civilian justice system.
Read the rest at www.ipsnews.net