Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 7 News List

FARC guerrillas face trial for death of tribe members

AFP, BOGOTA

Seven suspected Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are to be tried today by an indigenous court for allegedly murdering two leaders of the Nasa tribe in western Colombia, officials said.

The leftist rebel fighters face penalties including lashes, expulsion from the territory, forced labor or prison, Northern Cauca indigenous councils association leader Gabriel Pavi said.

When crimes are committed in Aboriginal territory, the punishment for the accused is decided by the community and not the ordinary justice system.

An assembly of about 5,000 members of the indigenous reserve in the Cauca province town of Toribio are to debate for six hours on whether the captured guerrillas are guilty and what sanctions they should face.

“An investigating committee will report to the council authorities. The authorities will put it up for consideration by the assembly, which will determine the remedy to be applied to those who were caught,” Pavi said.

The suspected rebel fighters on Wednesday allegedly attacked two native leaders who were removing billboards praising the late leader of the FARC, Guillermo Leon Saenz, also known as Alfonso Cano.

Pavi said the guerrillas were captured “in uniform and with rifles” and that “all are indigenous.”

The Colombian constitution gives indigenous authorities jurisdiction over their own territory, unless this contravenes the national constitution or the laws of the country.

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