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Colombia Grants Conditional Liberty to Former Paramilitary Boss

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro granted the former boss of the now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC, Salvatore Mancuso, conditional liberty.

According to Justice Minister Nestor Osuna, Mancuso will not be free once United States authorities repatriated the extradited the former AUC commander to Colombia.

In a virtual press conference held from his prison in the American city of Atlanta, Mancuso celebrated the decision and vowed to work closely with the Peace Commissioner’s Office (OACP).

I want to tell the country and the president that I honor my word and accept his appointment to work hand in hand with the OACP in the search for the total peace in which I believe… I do it to help seek the total peace that Colombia needs.

Salvatore Mancuso

The president’s decision was opposed by Inspector General Margarita Cabello, who said in a statement that Mancuso belonged in jail to await money laundering charges.

The Prosecutor General’s formally accused Mancuso of money laundering in 2014, but has yet to call the former AUC boss to trial.

According to the Justicia y Paz tribunal, which sought justice for paramilitary crimes against humanity until 2005, Mancuso has cooperated with justice and has completed his reduced prison sentence.

The AUC chief has been accused of involvement of more than 75,000 crimes, including homicides and massacres.

Mancuso joined the AUC in 1996 and was one of its main commanders until a demobilization process partially dismantled the organization between 2003 and 2006.

The AUC chief asked to be allowed in the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, another war crimes tribunal, in order to solve crimes that were not tried by Justicia y Paz.

Mancuso reiterated concerns about his safety because of his knowledge about the involvement of politicians and businessmen in crimes against humanity.

If the adequate security measures are in place, the former AUC chief will revoke a request made to American migration authorities to be expatriated to Italy, of which Mancuso is also a citizen, said his lawyer Jaime Paeres.

Source : colombiareports