May 27, 2020

The JEP highlights new information on the disappeared in the Hidroituango area

The Special Justice for Peace (JEP) today highlighted the emergence of information that it did not know about the disappeared in the area of ​​influence of the Colombian construction hydroelectric plant in Ituango.

This was stated by magistrate Gustavo Adolfo Salazar, of the Section of Absence of Recognition of Truth of the JEP, at the conclusion of the hearing in Medellín to investigate the remains of people disappeared by the FARC and establish whether Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), In charge of the hydroelectric project, he did what was necessary in his search.

"In these hearings new things arise. Information emerged that we did not know as the certification of the Prosecutor's Office delivered to EPM to perform the non-forensic exhumation done by the University of Antioquia. We were not clear about the extent of that exhumation," Salazar said in Press conference.

The togado said that in general terms the "objective" of the public hearing was met and highlighted the "interesting counterpoint" that occurred among the participants.

In the future, he indicated that the JEP hopes that with the participation of the FARC party and its "commitment" and the other work they do with entities and residents of the region "to finish as soon as possible the inventory of possible places of burial and contrast it with the places of Prospecting and exhumation presented by the Prosecutor's Office ".

On the subject of a possible disembarkation in the electrical project he chose "not to anticipate" because they must wait for the consolidation of the burial sites and from there determine the procedures that would begin with a field visit to "confirm the coordinates with connoisseurs of the area ".

"It will look at the depth and the issues to which there is room to proceed," said the magistrate, and revealed that "the possibility of underwater search was raised, but it is something that is barely being outlined."

On the last day of the hearing the representative to the Chamber for the FARC party Ómar Restrepo, spokesman for the Search Commission of the ex-guerrilla, asked in his intervention for forgiveness to the victims in that area of ​​influence of the project.

"I want to take advantage of this scenario to, on behalf of the FARC party, apologize to those who have affected the weapons of our structure and who are here today," said Restrepo, formerly known as "Olmedo Ruiz."

The director of the Ríos Vivos Movement, Isabel Cristina Zuleta, considered the audience as an "opportunity" to tell the country "how much the dead have to say."

"We have many questions, especially to the Prosecutor's Office, whom we consider the most responsible for having allowed the flooding of the territory since there were bodies of missing persons," he added.

On the first day of the hearing, the anthropologist Timisay Monsalve, from the University of Antioquia, responsible for the transfer of cemeteries that would be flooded by the Hidroituango dam, revealed that 349 bodies that were exhumed from the informal cemeteries of Orobajo (Sabanalarga), Barbacoas (Peque ) and La Fortuna (Buriticá), but only 25 were identified.

The others, he said, have been stored since December 2017 in the Anthropology Laboratory of that university.

The lawyer Alirio Uribe Muñoz, of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (Movice), indicated that the purpose of the hearing is to establish precautionary measures to "protect, preserve and conserve" the places where there were burials or disposition of bodies.

"This project was set up within the framework of those scenarios of violence that were lived in that region of Antioquia, where there were displaced, more than 50 massacres and, at least, 676 disappearances in municipalities of direct influence of the megaproject," said the lawyer. .

He stressed that at the hearing he concluded that "not all the bodies that were in the region were recovered" and emphasized the "imminent" risks of a collapse in the dam or the affectation in areas where "there are graves."

The power plant was declared in emergency in May last year due to technical problems that appear to be the result of alleged irregularities in EPM contracting processes.

. (tagsToTranslate) JEP (t) highlights (t) information (t) missing (t) Hidroituango

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