Latin American Weekly Report

08/10/2020 - Farc murder confession triggers judicial power clash

The authorship of one of the most infamous political assassinations in Colombia’s history has been shrouded in uncertainty for nearly a quarter of a century. Now the leaders of the demobilised Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), never considered culprits, have claimed responsibility for the crime. The consternation caused by the gunning down of the thrice presidential candidate Álvaro Gómez Hurtado, of the Partido Conservador (PC), in November 1995 prompted a fierce political dispute, with right-wing groups, drug cartels, the military, and even then-president Ernesto Samper (1994-1998) all suspected of involvement at one time or another. When President Iván Duque came to power in 2018 he instructed the attorney general’s office to get to the bottom of the case, once and for all. Duque cast doubt on the Farc’s confession, which means a parallel investigation will now also be conducted by the transitional justice system (JEP). The stakes could scarcely be higher. The credibility of the JEP, and the future of the peace accord, is on the line.

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