The 1989 bombing of Avianca Airlines flight 203 was a crime against humanity, Guillermo Mendoza, Colombia’s Prosecutor General, said Tuesday.
Mendoza’s announcement came two months before the time limit for prosecuting those engaged in the terrorist act.
Crimes against humanity have no time limit for prosecution. That is why those guilty of the airplane atrocity can be prosecuted even after November 20, which was the time limit before the bombing was given the new criminal status.
Mendoza explained that Avianca Flight 203 bombing and the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan both in 1989 were part of a systematic plan to exterminate those who opposed drug kingpins. Sources say that the then presidential candidate Cesar Gaviria was to board the plane, but he made last minute changes. Gaviria was running as the heir of the political legacy of slain Galan.
Although the Medellin drug cartel claimed responsibility for planting the bomb on the aircraft and one of its chief assassins was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences for the bombing by a U.S.A district court, an imprisoned former member of the Medellin drug ring alleged that some of the bombing conspirators have not been convicted.
The Avianca aircraft exploded on November 27, 1989, after being five minutes in the air.