Bogota, Colombia (nsnbc) – U.S. troops and contractors sexually abused scores of Colombian girls, including a 12-year-old reveals a recently released document. Suspects have allegedly not been prosecuted due to a bilateral agreement that endowed U.S. troops and contractors in Colombia with immunity.
The information came to light in an 800-page independent report that was jointly commissioned by the Colombian government and the largest Colombian rebel group FARC-EP as part of the ongoing peace process to end the over five decades-long civil war in the country.
The 800-page report was, among others, commissioned to clarify the social and historical perspectives of the civil war and responsibility for the over seven million victims of the decades long war.The abuse and sexual abuse of Colombian children by the U.S. military personnel and contractors reportedly took place in the period between 2003 – 2007.
The report was also commissioned on the premises that truth and fact-finding is one of the major contributing factors to reconciliation. Renan Vega, a scholar at Bogota University’s Pedagogical Faculty and contributor to the report stressed in the 800-page report that:
“There exists abundant information about the sexual violence, in absolute impunity, thanks to the bilateral agreements and the diplomatic immunity of U.S. officials”.
The report documents the sexual abuse of 53 under-aged Colombian girls on a U.S. base near the central Colombian town of Melgar. The sexual abuse of these 53 girls was, moreover, filmed and sold as pornographic material.
One of the cases that attracted the attention of Colombian media was the abuse of a 12-year-old who was raped by a U.S. Army Sergeant and a former U.S. military officer who was working as military contractor in Melgar.Similar crimes were reportedly committed by U.S. military personnel and contractors at the Tolemaida Air Base. Also here, the perpetrators never faced charges due to the bilateral agreements and immunity.
Colombian prosecutors would establish that the 12-year-old girl had been drugged and then repeatedly raped by US. Sergeant Michael J. Coen and contractor Cesar Ruiz.
Also this case had to be dropped due to the bilateral agreements and immunity, prompting outrage and indignation among Colombians.
Another 23 cases of sexual child abuse were reported in 2006 and another 14 in 2007. The total of documented cases that can be documented is estimated at about ninety cases in the years 2004 – 2007 alone, while there may be scores of unreported cases of child sexual abuse.
The Colombian government’s National Victims Unit reports that some 7,234 women have been registered as victims of sex crimes committed within the decades-long conflict.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Peace Delegates of the FARC-EP continue negotiations towards a just peace, which includes an objective attribution of responsibility for the suffering of the 7.2 million who have been afflicted by the civil war.
U.S. President Barack Obama, for his part, has deployed special U.S. envoy Bernie Arson to assist in the negotiations which are hosted in the Cuban capital Havana. One of Arson’s possible roles will be to respond to the victimization, including the sexual abuse of children while he admittedly, at the same time, has the role to maintain and protect U.S. interests.
Author: Christof Lehmann
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