At least 18,667 children were forced to join the now demobilized FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas after being subjected for two decades to abuse and treatment considered war crimes, the court said on Tuesday. (10) special for peace, which judges heinous crimes in the country.
The court will investigate the group, dissolved after the signing of a peace agreement in 2016, for recruitment. “The instrumentalization of boys and girls in the conflict has made Colombian society suffer,” declared the president of the tribunal, Eduardo Cifuentes.
The figures were extracted by analyzing 31 databases compiled by victim groups and the state, as well as testimonies from 274 forcibly recruited people, said Lily Rueda, judge in charge of the JEP case.
According to the court, at least 5,691 of the cases concern minors under the age of 14, which violates the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). “The FARC systematically recruited and used, for the development of the armed conflict, boys and girls of this age group, contrary to their own provisions,” the JEP said in a statement.
The investigation will hear 26 former guerrilla fighters called to testify and will give priority to the events which took place from 1996 to 2006, a period which represents the majority of cases. The tribunal will further investigate sexual and gender-based violence, kidnappings, killings, torture and cruel and degrading treatment. According to the court, several were subjected to “forced abortions” and “violent carnal intercourse”.
The figures presented by the court are much higher than those previously released by the government. The estimates covered 7,400 miners recruited between 1985 and 2020, while 16,000 died during the conflict.
Created as part of the FARC peace agreement with the Colombian government, the JEP in January accused eight high-ranking guerrilla commanders of kidnapping 21,396 people between 1990 and 2016. The victims are offered sentences. alternatives.
Dozens of former soldiers have also been accused of the military execution of 6,400 civilians and presented as victims of the fighting in exchange for advantages, in the so-called “false positives” scandal.