The SIJIN policemen will be investigated for allowing the alteration of the scene in the Mario Paciolla case
On July 16, due to the negligence in securing the place where Mario was found dead, officials from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the United Nations Department of Safeguarding and Security cleaned the site and collected the personal effects of the Italian UN Agent.
Columbian General Prosecutor Office (Fiscalia) decided to investigate the agents of the Criminal Investigation Section (SIJIN) of the San Vicente del Caguán police, who allowed members of the UN Colombia Verification Mission to collect the personal belongings of the volunteer Mario Paciolla and alter the place where he was found dead on July 15th.
The Prosecutor of the 8th Special Section of Florencia has opened a file against the patrol agents Yomer José Velandia Casallas, Jesús Alberto Rada Gutiérrez, Carlos Alberto Cerón Anacona and Cristian David Giraldo López, who were in charge of the initial investigation. They have been charged of neglecting to monitor the apartment in which the Italian volunteer lived, located in the Villa Ferro district of San Vicente del Caguan, thus allowing evidence tampering by the UN Mission members, which constitutes an obstacle to justice.
In this way the possibility of reconstructing the facts or collecting new material evidence with the obligation of adequate custody has been lost.
According to the inventory sent to Paciolla’s family in Italy, the Mission found over 7 million pesos (about 1,695 euros at the exchange rate on 15 July) in cash in the apartment of the Italian agent, credit cards, passport, a Canon EOS700D camera with their respective lenses, case, SD card, a mouse, a pen drive, an mp3, various diaries, notebooks, receipts, printed photographs, his clothes and other personal effects.
The UN intervention in the judicial investigations included the presence at the autopsy of the head of the Mission's Medical Unit, Jaime Hernán Pedraza Liévano, despite not being a forensic expert.
Columbian General Prosecutor Office also will interrogate Christian Leonardo Thompson Garzón, Security liaison of the UN Mission in San Vicente del Caguán, whom Mario Paciolla called on July 14 at 10 pm, a few hours before his death.
According to the curriculum, which appeared on LinkedIn yesterday, Thompson Garzón is a retired non-commissioned officer of the Army, corporate administrator and expert in Military Sciences who has held administrative, operational and managerial roles both at national and international level. Besides UN, he also worked in mining and hydrocarbon companies.
Seven questions were sent to the head of the Misión de Verificación, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, in regard to the actions that could hamper the Prosecutor's investigations in Colombia or Italy as well as what happened to Mario Paciolla's personal belongings and the context in which he made the phone call to Thompson Garzón.
The UN official decided however to remain silent and delegated the Mission's press officer, Liliana Garavito, who sent a short note which declared UN’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation. However, United Nations attitude indicates otherwise.
Original article: Claudia Julieta Duque for El Espectador.