Army General Jhon Jairo Rojas is under investigation for alleged crimes committed while serving as commander of the Joint Command in the regions of Valle del Cauca, Cauca, and Nariño. The investigations involve charges of collaboration with dissident FARC groups, drug trafficking, and sexual harassment. The general, who was recently denied a promotion and has been removed from active duty, faces accusations from the Colombian Attorney General’s Office of committing the three crimes during his tenure in these southern regions of the country.
According to the prosecutor’s statement, Rojas is being investigated along three lines: first, for corruption and ties to the Diomer Cortés structure of the Second Marquetalia, a dissident group of the now-disbanded FARC operating in the southern region; second, for sexual harassment of female subordinates, including several female Army officers; and third, for favoring criminal organizations.
Evidence from the Attorney General’s Office
On the morning of September 26, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office made the accusations against the official public. According to the evidence in the possession of the prosecuting authority, the general “allegedly allowed drug trafficking corridors and operations to develop in Cauca.”
Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office asserts that “his alleged criminal actions would have affected the authorities’ efforts in combating illegal groups.”
The Second Marquetalia is one of the most significant dissident groups from the 2016 Peace Agreements in Colombia. Its leader is Ivan Marquez, who was part of the leadership of the now-defunct FARC and played a prominent role in the peace talks held in Cuba during the presidency of Juan Manuel Santos.
The general drew attention last week when he was not promoted to the rank of Major General, as originally planned. At that time, the Army stated that “it was not a personal matter, but sometimes the Army only needs a couple of promotions, and it schedules them based on supply and demand.”
However, the accusations made against the general today were evidently the reason for his removal from active military service and the denial of his scheduled promotion along with other military personnel in the recent ceremony.
So far, no further information has been released. A special prosecutor from the Supreme Court of Justice has initiated an inquiry, and the general will be called to testify in the coming days.
General Calls it a “Set-Up”
Jhon Jairo Rojas has already responded to the allegations against him. In statements to W Radio, Rojas stated, “When I arrived in Cauca, Argelia was in danger (…) I deployed two battalions to Argelia, and we reclaimed it, which the mayor can confirm. I don’t understand how they can accuse me, but I was aware of the alleged set-ups. They were even trying to find some criminals to say that General Rojas knew where the operations were going to take place. They conducted four inspections on me, and I had nothing two months ago. Mayimbú was demanding 2 billion for me, and they were looking for a setup against me.”
The general believes there is a plot against him, especially since his name was recently mentioned as a possible commander of the Army. He added, “A mistake is being made with a general, it’s defamation, a general who has dedicated time to the war, three years without leaving Cauca (…) the problem is that my name came up as the Army commander. Don’t create a situation like this against a soldier who has served the country.”
Rojas, who remained calm throughout, concluded his defense by stating that he was ready to respond and provide evidence.