Colombia’s FARC rebels recruited greater than 18,000 kids: Court

Now-demobilised insurgent group subjected baby recruits to abuses throughout 20-year interval, transitional justice courtroom finds.

Colombia’s now-demobilised FARC rebels recruited greater than 18,000 kids into their ranks throughout a 20-year interval, a transitional justice courtroom (JEP) has stated, accusing the group of subjecting the youngsters to abuses and remedy that quantities to conflict crimes.

The JEP’s investigation pertains to case 07, which issues the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) recruitment and use of minors between 1996 and 2016.

The tribunal will see 26 former FARC members testify, as Colombia seeks to grapple with the lasting impression of the nation’s decades-long civil conflict between insurgent and paramilitary teams and authorities forces.

“Instrumentalising boys and girls in the conflict caused pain in Colombian society,” JEP President Eduardo Cifuentes stated throughout a information convention on Tuesday within the capital, Bogota.

“A provisional estimate, which could be even greater, of 18,667 boys and girls used in the conflict by the FARC is, without a single doubt, one of the most terrible acts that could have happened during the conflict,” he stated.

The tally got here from analysing 31 databases compiled by victims teams and the state, in addition to testimonies from 274 individuals who had been forcibly recruited, stated Lily Rueda, the JEP Justice of the Peace main the case.

The tribunal additionally stated at the least 5,691 of the minors had been underneath age 14, which violates worldwide humanitarian regulation.

As the investigation advances, the JEP can even take a look at related sexual and gender-based violence, and compelled disappearances, in addition to homicide, torture, and merciless and degrading remedy.

The numbers revealed by the JEP are far above these beforehand launched by the federal government, which had estimated that greater than 7,400 minors had been recruited in Colombia between 1985 and 2020, whereas 16,000 died throughout the battle.

The JEP was created underneath a 2016 peace deal between the FARC and the Colombian authorities to examine crimes and atrocities dedicated throughout the battle. It has the facility to impose lighter sentences than the odd justice system.

Former FARC leaders, who’ve since fashioned a political social gathering known as Comunes, have beforehand stated recruitment of minors was not a normal coverage and that many joined the rebels’ ranks for defense or to flee poverty.

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