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.
Norma Enríquez, a leader of the Permanent Assembly of Civil Society for Peace, an umbrella of Colombian NGOs and popular organizations, on Feb. 10 called on the government to include the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the talks now underway in Havana with the FARC guerillas. Enríquez told the Mexican news agency Notimex that failure to include the ELN "would be to risk marginalizing one of the expressions of the conflict from the peace dialogue." Initial contacts between the government and the ELN, brokered by the Catholic Church, apparently broke down in November, when the guerilla group took hostage two German nationals in Santander department. (Notimex, Feb. 11; Sexenio, Mexico, Feb. 10)
On Nov. 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave Colombia a clear warning that the Court expects accountability at the senior level for serious crimes that fall under its jurisdiction, or else it may pursue a formal investigation. The warning came in the first interim examination report ever issued by the Court's Prosecutor Office. Colombia joined the ICC in November 2002 and is one of only eight countries formally under ICC examination. The others are Honduras, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Georgia, Guinea, North Korea and Mali.
The San José de Apartadó Peace Community in Colombia's northern Urabá region, one of several citizen peace initiatives by local communities demanding their right not to take sides in the war, is once again under threat—seven years after a massacre that forced many residents to flee the village. Several outlying hamlets (veredas) continue to adhere to the Peace Community, and their leaders are now facing escalated harassment. On July 30 and 31, Germán Graciano, a Peace Community leader, received phone calls from men who identified themselves as members of the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group. The callers demanded he agree to collaborate with them, or "purchase coffins for himself and his family."