Medellín (Colombia), (EFE).- Retired Colombian Army Colonel Jaime Humberto Pinzón Amézquita returned an award during a symbolic act held in Medellín to “dignify” the victims of “false positives” and apologize for these war crimes .
Pinzón, who recognized before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) his responsibility for at least 53 murders of civilians, left in the hands of groups of victims a medal awarded for his military actions 18 years ago.
“I present this medal in order to dignify your murdered loved ones and to satisfy the will of you, the victims,” said the former soldier, who at the end of his speech exclaimed: “I ask all of you for forgiveness.”
At the ceremony, which took place at the Casa de la Memoria Museum, where that award rests as of today, which, according to Pinzón, he received in a “disastrous time” and which became a “symbol of ignominy” with which his superiors “they rewarded the crime.”
Pinzón commanded the Atanasio Girardot Infantry Battalion No. 10 in Medellín between December 2005 and October 2006, during which period, he said, “53 murders and forced disappearances by men under my leadership and command occurred there.”
On June 2, 2022, the ex-soldier rendered a voluntary version before the JEP in which he promised the victims to return the Distinguished Services in Public Order Medal that he received as a result of the “simulated military operations” by his battalion.
Sorry for an embarrassing time
In his speech, he said that the awarding of the medal “means the materialization of the recognition” of his responsibility “for the crimes committed against his relatives, who were not combatants or criminals.”
He regretted that they lost their lives within a context of “inexplicable” internal armed conflict, in which members of the Army, “in a shameful time, we were measured and qualified by our superiors by the dead, by the liters of blood that we had to present ».
construction of truth
On behalf of the victims, José Alexander Castro, from the Tejiendo Memorias collective, received the case with the award and shook the hand of the former soldier, a moment that he defined as “an achievement of all this struggle.”
«I spoke with him and he is very sorry. I believe him. She spoke from her heart, it was seen in his eyes and in his speaking. There is a commitment to build the truth that the victims are looking for,” he told EFE Castro.
He wore a T-shirt with the phrase: “Who gave the order?” as a claim for justice for his brother Humberto Pulgarín Castro (24 years old) and his uncle Jhon Freddy Navarro (36 years old), assassinated by the military in 2006 after taking them from a farm in Antioquia.
He appreciated Pinzón’s “gallantry” and hopes that they are a “first step” so that the “other perpetrators” return the medals they won “for murdering innocents.”
After the delivery of the decoration and the projection of a video that reconstructs the story of some civilians executed by the military, which shocked the relatives and embarrassed Pinzón, some of those present left messages on a canvas and the retired colonel closed the act of pardon giving a white dove to the groups of victims so that they could fly it as a symbol of reconciliation.
JEP magistrate Nadezhda Henríquez pointed out that this restoration exercise, which was accompanied by the Libertad Legal Corporation (CJL) and the Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (CSPP), is “very important” within a “so complex” judicial process.