UN Rights Office Condenms Fresh "War Crimes" by Leftist Rebels

United Nations human rights officials have accused the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Popular Army (FARC-EP) of committing new war crimes in the recent massacres of nine bus passengers and nine members of a local municipal council.

In the first incident, nine civilians were killed and 11 wounded last Saturday when FARC-EP members attacked a bus that had stalled due to mechanically problems, the Colombia office of the UH High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) said, calling it a "grave violation of international norms" banning attacks on civilians.

In the second case, nine councillors were killed and two more and a policeman wounded in "a new war crime" when the rebels launched an attack in Rivera on Monday, the office said in its latest condemnation of human rights abuses in Colombia's decades-old civil war.

"This grave violation of international humanitarian law once more makes clear FARC-EP’s absolute contempt for these norms," it added.

It stressed that High Commissioner Louise Arbour, in her recent report on Colombia, called on the leaders and other members of FARC-EP to fulfil their obligations to respect the lives and personal integrity of all civilians.

[Source: UN, New Yor, 01mar06]

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