Thursday, March 06, 2008


Chavez threatened with international court for funding rebels

March 6, 2008, smh

Latest related coverage:
Tensions escalate over Colombian raid
Colombia says documents tie FARC to Ecuador
South American troops on alert
Chavez sends tanks to Colombia border
Chavez accused of giving FARC rebels $300m

CARACAS: Colombia says it will file charges against Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, with the International Criminal Court, accusing him of providing assistance to Colombia's largest rebel group as tension in the Andes intensified over Colombia's foray into Ecuador to kill a senior guerilla commander.

And Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa, said on Tuesday that it would defend itself if Colombia did not apologise for the attack on rebels in its territory and if the world did not condemn it.

"The aggressor has to apologise and the international community condemn him," Mr Correa told journalists in Brazil. "If not we will have to defend ourselves with our own means.

"If this act goes unpunished, the whole region will be in danger, because the next victim could be Peru, it could be Brazil, it could be Venezuela, Bolivia or any of our countries." At an emergency meeting in Washington, Ecuador asked the Organisation of American States, a pan-regional body, to condemn Colombia.

Venezuelan and Ecuadorean troops deployed on Colombia's frontier on Tuesday while Venezuela started shutting crossing points on the 2200-kilometre border to try to economically isolate its neighbour.

Tensions escalated when Colombia's President, Alvaro Uribe, said that he would file a complaint with the International Criminal Court accusing Mr Chavez of funding the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Colombian officials contend computer documents recovered in Saturday's raid revealed Mr Chavez had given more than $US300 million ($322 million) to the FARC.
Bogota also said the computers revealed the guerillas were negotiating to obtain material to make a dirty bomb.

"Colombia proposes to denounce Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, in the international criminal court for sponsoring and financing genocide," Mr Uribe said.

On Saturday Colombia bombed a rebel camp 1.5 kilometres inside Ecuador, killing at least 21 guerillas, including a senior commander, Raul Reyes, who FARC says died on a mission to arrange the release of the ailing Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt through Mr Chavez and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The New York Times, Guardian News & Media, Reuters