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ICE Says US Deported Colombian Commander Who Murdered 5 Civilians

Lt. Col. Oscar Gomez Cifuentes was an army battalion commander accused of human rights violations

 

November 5, 2017

Demobilized members of the ELN (National Liberation Army) arrive in Cali, Colombia. Individuals pictured were not involved in this story.

Deportation officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) on Tuesday removed a former Colombian national army battalion commander accused of human rights violations.

Retired Lt. Col. Oscar Gomez Cifuentes, 53, was implicated in five killings in Colombia that allegedly occurred while he was the commander of Infantry Battalion 43 Efrain Rojas Acevedo. These allegations relate to a disputed report stating that five persons were killed by the battalion during a confrontation at a Colombia ranch in November 2007. This incident was among other incidents reported by military units as "positive" killings of guerrillas in combat; but later these killings were alleged to have been executions committed outside of combat. Such killings are referred to as "false positives."

Between 2008 and 2014, Gomez was admitted into the United States three times as a temporary non-immigrant visitor through New York and Miami. He departed as required the first two times, but he overstayed his visa in 2014. On April 4, 2017, a federal immigration judge ordered him removed back to Colombia; Gomez appealed that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

On June 10, 2017, ERO Miami officers assigned to ICE's Fugitive Operations Team arrested Gomez, and he was taken into custody pending his appeal to the BIA regarding his removal order. However, on Aug. 24, 2017, he withdrew his appeal.

This case was litigated by ICE's Office of the Chief Counsel in Miami with the support of the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

The HRVWCC was established in 2009 to further ICE's efforts to identify, track and prosecute human rights abusers. It leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency's broader enforcement efforts against these offenders.

 

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