Fifty-four Colombian girls were allegedly sexually abused by U.S. soldiers and military contractors between 2003 and 2007, according to a new report by the Colombian government’s reconciliation commission. The report claims that none of the perpetrators of the heinous sex crimes against minors were ever prosecuted because U.S. forces had diplomatic immunity under bilateral agreements. The U.S. military members and contractors are said to have not only sexually abused the 54 minors, but also videotaped the incidents and uploaded them to porn sites.
The Colombia Report notes that the study was commissioned by the Colombian government, along with rebel group FARC. The Colombian government and the FARC are in the middle of negotiations to end the 50-year-long conflict. As part of the negotiations, the report was established to help determine who was responsible for the more than 7 million victims of the civil conflict. Though the report was focused on actions by FARC and Colombian military, it also highlighted the atrocities that resulted from American troops and military contractors in Colombia to fight drug trafficking and FARC rebels.
The report indicates that U.S. soldiers or military contractors are responsible for the sexual assault of at least 54 Colombian minors. RT reports that the majority of the sexual assaults took place in a small town called Melgar, which is located in the province of Tolima. One particular case gained national Colombian attention after a 12-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a U.S. sergeant and military contractor. The pair allegedly drugged and raped the girl at the military base, but local authorities could not prosecute the duo due to diplomatic immunity. Instead, the U.S. flew out the two assailants and claimed they would deal with the sexual abuse charges in military court. However, six years later, no charges have been brought against either men.
Renan Vega of the Pedagogic University in Bogota, who helped write a portion of the historic document, notes 53 cases of underage girls being sexually assaulted by military members or contractors. Vega says that in one particularly startling case from 2004, 54 girls were sexually abused while the abuse was filmed. The video recordings of the abuse was then sold as pornography.
“[The men] who moreover filmed [the abuse] and sold the films as pornographic material.”
In addition to the 54 cases of sexual abuse detailed above, El Turbion, a local news publication, claims that 37 minors were sexually assaulted by U.S. military personnel between 2006 and 2007. However, the 37 cases of abuse were not able to be independently verified like the 54 Melgar abuse cases.
“In 2006 there were 23 reported cases of sexual abuse committed by active American soldiers and another 14 in 2007.”
Should all charges against U.S. military be followed-up with in U.S. military court? Or should military members face prosecution in the country the alleged crime took place by amending the bilateral agreements in place?