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Colombia president threatens to charge Chavez at ICC for aiding 'genocide'

[JURIST] Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website; BBC profile] declared Tuesday that his country would bring charges against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for allegedly "sponsoring and financing genocide" in Colombia. It was not immediately evident, however, how the ICC could take jurisdiction of such a case [Radio Nederlands report], and no complaint has yet been filed. Uribe's comments, made in reference to mass killings inside Colombia [JURIST news archive] by leftist rebels, come amid rising regional tensions after Ecuador and Venezuela [JURIST news archive] severed diplomatic ties with the country and sent troops to their respective borders. Colombian troops entered Ecuador on Saturday to attack a camp belonging to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [MIPT backgrounder] rebel group. While Colombia claims that its actions were a necessary part of its struggle to eradicate terrorism, Ecuador has called the raid an infringement of its sovereignty. According to Colombia, the raid produced documents proving that Chavez had been financing the rebels and that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa [official website; JURIST news archive] 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 they deny allegations that they have supported the group.

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States [official websites] held an emergency meeting Tuesday to try to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis, and Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza [official website] has asked the countries [press release] to respect "the principles that govern coexistence among the American nations." The United States is encouraging the countries to use the OAS [VOA report] as a forum to resolve the dispute, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged restraint [statement]. Bloomberg has more. BBC News has additional coverage. El Periodico has local coverage.

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