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El Tiempo: Drummond Colombia President Accused of Alleged Link with Paramilitaries

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 15:28 -- admin

Below is the english translation of a recent El Tiempo Article describing the prosecution of the heads of Drummond Colombia, Augusto Jimenez Mejia and Jose Miguel Linares. Please also find attached below the decision of the prosecutor.

 

Drummond Colombia president accused of alleged link with paramilitaries--
The prosecuting body declared the illegal actions of the Northern Block of the AUC
a crime against humanity.


Justice Section        December 17, 2020, 12:27 a.m.
The Prosecutor's Office accused the current president of the multinational Drummond in Colombia and another former president of the crime of conspiracy to commit a crime linked to the financing of paramilitary groups.
In a decision of a Transitional Justice prosecutor, the investigating body accused Augusto Jiménez Mejía, former president of the multinational in Colombia, and José Miguel Linares Martínez, former vice president of corporate affairs and current president of the company in the country.
The process began with a verification of copies of the ordinary jurisdiction to investigate officials of the multinational “for financing and promoting the creation and illicit purposes” of the Self-Defense Forces between 1996 and 2001. The investigators were heard in an investigation by the Prosecutor's Office and on October 27, the investigation was partially closed.
In the process, the victims of the illegal actions of the paramilitaries, who are represented by the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective, are accredited.
In the 149-page decision, reviewed by this newspaper, the Prosecutor's Office declared crimes against humanity the events surrounding the actions of the ‘Juan Andrés Álvarez’ front of the Northern Bloc of the Self-Defense Forces in the department of Cesar, in particular, in the municipalities from Becerril, El Paso, La Jagüa Ibirico, Agustín Codazzi and Chiriguaná.
(Also read: Court revokes contempt for which it had suspended 15 Drummond wells)

“Where the mines of coal companies were located, as well as the section of the railway that transported the product of exploitation, to whom the directors of the multinational Drummond Ltd. financed and promoted, in exchange for benefiting from the ‘security’ that their incursion , presence and operation represented in the area,” says the document.
The Office of the Prosecutor documented 3,382 records of victims, approximately, for the crimes of homicide, forced displacement, forced disappearance and kidnapping. She also pointed out that the attacks by that group were against the civilian population, “who were broken into their homes, to be killed and/or disappeared, with the intention of causing terror in the area; they tortured, threatened, dismembered.”

The investigating body questioned that these actions were not isolated and were perpetrated “in a generalized context, directed against a multitude of people, the civilian population, who suffered inhuman attacks.”
(It may interest you: Sister Teresa, the black widow of the ‘Castaño clan’, apologizes to victims)

Questioning the defendants
The Prosecutor's Office pointed out that those investigated “learned of this macro criminal context, which also affected employees of the multinational they ran, and despite this
intervened in the contracting with (Jaime) Blanco Maya, through which the
they allocated the resources to the illegal armed group.”

Blanco Maya was a contractor for the company and is convicted of his responsibility in the crime of murdering two trade unionists. His process passed to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP).
The Office of the Prosecutor made reference to the testimony of several witnesses to point out that “the paramilitary presence was allowed, tolerated, promoted” in the company's facilities “when it was within its competence to repel such presence, which only contributed to teaching and to show the control of arms by the illegal organization that was present in the Cesar department, in front of a vulnerable and seriously affected sector such as the union leaders of Drummond Ltd.”
(Read in context: JEP accepts Blanco Maya to talk about the murder of trade unionists)

The accusing entity pointed out that the two defendants “decided to intervene in a complex contractual and mediation operation, as well as other officials of the multinational, contractors, members of the self-defense organization, to agree, guarantee and ensure the monthly monetary contribution, from 1996 to 2001, to this paramilitary structure.”
She added that Jiménez Mejía knew of the paramilitary presence in the casino's facilities “and, even so, under his jurisdiction he consented to the conclusion of a food contract with Jaime Blanco, who openly fostered and maintained such an irregular armed presence, allowing a hostile and unsafe for leaders of the Drummond Union.”

Investigated they plead innocent
During the process, those linked indicated that they had no connection with the murder of trade unionists Víctor Hugo Orcasita and Valmore Locarno, perpetrated in 2001, and that they did not finance illegal armed groups “because the security of the Drummond's facilities and officials were in charge of the Public Force.”
They also pointed out that irregularities such as falsehoods in documents and inconsistent and contradictory witness statements have been registered in the accusations made against them. They added that there are decisions in countries like the United States in which the thesis of financing paramilitaries by company executives was discarded.

They added that witnesses such as Jaime Blanco Maya have lied on behalf of alleged economic interests and seeking benefits.
“The evidence confirms the non-existence of responsibility of those linked, since the prosecution witnesses, in their entirety, failed to be truthful, in exchange for economic remuneration,” said the defense of the defendants.
In its decision, the Prosecutor's Office certified copies so that the witnesses Óscar José Ospino Pacheco and Manuel Alcides Mattos Tabares could be investigated, considering that “there are several statements that question their accounts and the influence they have had on some witnesses.”