Palace Of Justice

Colombian authorities have identified the remains of two guerrillas who stormed the Colombia’s Palace of Justice in 1985, at least one of whom appear to have been executed, according to local media.  

Colombia’s Noticias Uno reported Sunday that the two women identified, Carmen Cristina Garzon and Monica Molina Beltran, were not on the official list of the 11 people who disappeared following the siege, nor did their bodies bear the marks of having been burned in the military assault on the palace.

In addition, one of the remains reportedly had the mark of a “coup de grace” gunshot wound to the head, raising questions about the nature of their death and the possibility of their execution.

Photographic evidence appears to show the gathering and dumping of bodies by the police in such a way that did not comply with necessary protocols.

A sister of one of the identified women, Carmen Cristina Garzon, said she believes her sibling left the palace alive, pointing to a video of a woman being escorted from the palace whom she claims could be her sister.

It is unclear how many mass graves exist which contain the remains of those killed during and after the events surrounding the Palace of Justice siege. Investigators exhumed a grave in 1998 from which only one person connected to the palace was identified.

In 2008, Colombia’s Semana news magazine revealed photographs taken by Dutch journalists back in 1986 that indicated another mass grave existed in Bogota close to the “official” Palace of Justice mass grave.

On November 6, 1985, 35 M-19 guerrillas burst into the Palace of Justice intending to symbolically put then President Belisario Betancur on trial. Judges, staff and civilians were taken hostage. More than 100 people later died when the military stormed the building.

It is widely believed that the several people who disappeared following the siege were tortured and killed for their alleged connections to Movement M-19. An army colonel was convicted in 2010 of participating in these forced disappearances and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

MORE: Evidence in Palace of Justice case implicates military in citizen killings


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