Some 1,200 agents from the police forces of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca tried unsuccessfully on March 26 to remove local residents who were blocking a road leading to the Bii Yoxho wind farm, which is under construction in Juchitán de Zaragoza municipality near the Pacific coast. The operation was also intended to recover construction equipment protesters had seized on Feb. 25 in an ongoing effort to stop the completion of the wind project, which is owned by the Mexican subsidiary of the Spanish company Gas Natural Fenosa. Local prosecutor Manuel de Jesús López told the French wire service AFP that 22 people were injured in the March 26 operation, including 11 police agents, and one police agent was taken prisoner. Protesters reported eight local people with serious injuries, including Carlos Sánchez, the coordinator of Radio Totopo, a community radio station.
Officially, US State Department aid to the Honduran National Police must bypass units under the direct supervision of the force's overall commander, Director General Juan Carlos Bonilla AKA "El Tigre"—who in 2002 was accused of three extrajudicial killings and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances in so-called "social cleansing" operations. He was tried on one killing and acquitted; the other cases were never fully investigated. But an investigation by the Associated Press, based on interviews with unnamed Honduran officials, finds that all police units are actually under Bonilla's direction. Speaking on record was Celso Alvarado, a criminal law professor and consultant to the Honduran Commission for Security and Justice Sector Reform, who said the same. "Every police officer in Honduras, regardless of their specific functions, is under the hierarchy and obedience of the director general," he said.
Colombia's Supreme Court of Justice on March 7 found former lawmaker César Pérez García guilty of being complicit in the November 1988 massacre at the village of Segoiva, Antioquia department. He now awaits sentencing, and may face 30 years in prison. Pérez García was named by a liuetenant of notorious paramilitary commander "el Negro Vladimir" as having financed the massacre to eliminate a stronghold of support for the electoral left.
Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is demanding the government conduct a comprehensive investigation into a mass grave uncovered by a construction project late last year in the Central province town Matale, asserting that the more than 140 sets of human remains date to a wave of bloody repression 25 years ago. In 1988 and '89, when the JVP was outlawed and led an armed insurrection, paramilitary groups and death squads were formed by the army, and some 60,000 were killed in massacres and assassinations. The JVP was allowed to re-enter the political process after 1993 peace accords and now holds seats in parliament, but charges that there has never been an accounting for the bloodletting of the 1980s. (Groundviews, Feb. 24; Sunday Leader, Feb. 10; Colombo Page, Feb. 5, JVP)
The Administrative Tribunal of Colombia's Antioquia department on Feb. 8 ordered the national army to hold a public ceremony officially apologizing for the massacre at San José de Apartadó Peace Community, almost exactly eight years after it was carried out. In the Feb. 21, 2005 attack, six adults and two children were killed at the village in Apartadó municipality of Antioquia's northern Urabá region, where residents had declared their non-cooperation with all armed actors in Colombia's civil conflict.
International human rights advocates have commended Colombia on the return of usurped lands to 32 displaced families in northwest Córdoba department. Human Rights Watch (HRW) which had previously been critical of the Victims' Law which includes the Land Restitution Law, hailed the occasion as "a major step." The ruling on Feb. 13 by a specialized land restitution tribunal, orders the return of approximately 164 hectares (405 acres) on the Santa Paula finca (plantation), outside the city of Montería. Persons linked to the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) forced out the 32 families and fraudulently titled their land between 1999 and 2002, according to the ruling—especially naming AUC founders Carlos and Vicente Castaño.
On Jan. 25 Colombian judge William Andrés Castiblanco sentenced Jaime Blanco, a former contractor for the Alabama-based Drummond Co. Inc. coal company, to 37 years and 11 months in prison for masterminding the March 2001 murders of two union leaders in the northern department of Cesar. The court found that Blanco, who supplied food services for Drummond's La Loma mine, had arranged with rightwing paramilitaries, including one known as "Tolemaida," for the killing of Valmore Locarno and Víctor Hugo Orcasita, leaders of the mine's union. Blanco's assistant, Jairo Charris, was convicted in 2009 in the same murder plot and was sentenced to 30 years.
A lawyer with Colombian prosecutor's office, the Fiscalía, who specialized in the paramilitary demobilization process, was transferred Jan. 20 after working in the same department in Medellín for more than six years—raising fears that years of insight into the area's paramilitary activities could be lost. According to conflict-monitoring website Verdad Abierta, local magistrates expressed concern over the transfer of Patricia Hernández Zambrano, who was responsible for prosecuting the "Mineros Bloc" of the United Colombian Self-Defense Forces (AUC) in the northeastern department of Antioquia. As Prosecutor 15 for Justice and Peace, Hernández handled all court hearings related to top AUC leaders like "Don Berna" and "Gordo Lindo"—both now in US prisons for drug trafficking.