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02.10.2008, Colombia, International Audience for Truth demands withdrawal of five high-ranking Colombian diplomats

Call for Immediate Removal of Colombian Diplomats

An International Hearing on Truth, which examined the cases of Colombian political refugees and those in exile and was convened in Paris on October 2nd and 3rd, 2008, is requesting the immediate dismissal of five high Colombian diplomats:  Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, Ambassador to Italy; Luis Camilo Osorio, Ambassador to Mexico; Ignacio Guzmán, of the Consulate in Miami; Milene Andrade, government representative in New York; and Carlos Alberto Frasica, military diplomat in Chile.
With the presence of a delegate of the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Alonso Ojeda Awad, the political refugees and those in exile presented testimonies which indicated the existence of diplomatic representatives who are known to be connected to paramilitary organizations or are implicated in grave human rights violations.  The refugees reported that this presents a significant risk for their security and the security of their families.
In the recent past, individuals such as Carlos Arturo Marulanda Ramírez, Salvador Arana, Jorge Noguera, Juan José Chaux have been in the diplomatic service as ambassadors or consular representatives, all of which are currently under investigation for links to paramilitary groups.
The ambassador in Mexico, Luis Camilo Osorio, is currently under investigation for impeding investigations of crimes committed by paramilitaries and high-ranking members of the military while he was the Attorney General of Colombia.  Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, the current ambassador in Italy, has been accused of conspiracy to illegally permit presidential reelection while serving as Minister of the Interior.  Victims and witness have identified Ignacio Guzmán, consular representative in Miami, as having links to African Palm companies with connections to paramilitary groups who are responsible for crimes against humanity in the region of Bajo Atrato.  Milene Andrade, consular representative in New York, participated in a meeting on February 18th, 2003 in Santa Fe del Ralito, in which the paramilitary leader Salvadore Mancuso named Claudio Sanchez Parra as the rector of the University of Cordoba.
Along with this request, the participants in the International Hearing in Paris called upon the Colombian government to remove those implicated in crimes from the diplomatic service, to end the placement of military officials and civilians who have been connected to violations of human rights into diplomatic positions, and to guarantee the dignified and safe return for all people exiled from the country.  They also requested that Attorney General’s office expedite the investigations against these diplomats.  In addition, they invited the governments of Europe, Latin America, and the United States to review the trajectory and presence of all diplomats currently implicated in human rights violations.  In the International Hearing they called attention to the persisting impunity for these diplomats, and the importance of bringing these cases before the International Criminal Court or national tribunals with international jurisdiction.
The members of the Ethics Commission, a body responsible for safeguarding the process of historical memory in Colombia, comprising 27 people from around the world including Aldolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize winner, brought these issues to the attention of their respective governments and before international bodies, supporting the requests raised in this hearing.
International Citizen Hearing on Truth - Ethics Commission - National Movement of Victims of State Crimes

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