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Chavez denounces Colombian raid on leftist guerilla camp as 'war crime'

[JURIST] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday denounced a Colombian attack on a Ecuadorian camp belonging to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [MIPT backgrounder] rebel group as a "war crime." Chavez joined Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa [official website; JURIST news archive] in condemning Colombia for the attack, and both urged the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website] to conclude that the attack violated Ecuador's sovereignty. OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza has asked the three countries [press release] to respect "the principles that govern coexistence among the American nations," while the US has encouraged the countries to use the OAS [VOA report] as a forum to resolve the dispute. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has also urged restraint [statement].

Ecuador and Venezuela severed diplomatic ties with Colombia following the attack. Colombia claims that its actions were a necessary part of its struggle to eradicate terrorism and says that the raid produced documents proving that Chavez has provided financing for the rebels and that Correa has met with FARC leaders. Both Correa and Chavez have been involved in negotiations with FARC in order to secure the release of hostages, but deny that they have supported the group. On Tuesday, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website; BBC profile] said that his country would seek to have Chavez charged [JURIST report] before the International Criminal Court [official website] for supporting what he called the "genocide" of Colombian citizens by leftists militants. AP has more.

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