On 13 February 2013, three pellets were fired at the vehicle of Father Alberto Franco, a prominent human rights defender and Executive Secretary of the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace CIJP).Father Alberto has been a partner of SOA Watch since 2006, when SOA Watch was invited to join the Ethics Commission of Justicia y Paz. Father Alberto traveled twice to Fort Benning, Georgia to join the November Vigil to close the SOA (click here to view his powerful speech from the stage in November 2010).
The CIJP is a church-based human rights organisation working to expose human rights violations committed by state security forces and paramilitary groups in conflict regions in Colombia.
The attack follows acts of surveillance and intimidation of Father Alberto Franco during recent weeks and coincides with the hearing of the case on “Operation Genesis”, a joint military and paramilitary operation which resulted in the killing and forced disappearance of many civilians; a case for which the CIJP has provided key evidence.
On 13 February 2013, at approximately 7:50 am, the front window of Father Alberto Franco's vehicle was hit with three pellets. It is reported that the attack was an attempt to test the level of protective plating in the armoured vehicle used by Father Alberto Franco, which he received as part of a government protection programme, as directed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).