first indictment, accusing eight top FARC leaders of orchestrating a kidnapping-for-ransom operation that lasted decades and resulted in more than 20,000 victims, many of them civilians, some of whom were raped or murdered. The kidnappings were used to fund the insurgency, said the court, and amounts to crimes against humanity.

The accused former FARC leaders have indicated that they will admit guilt. If they do, they will receive non-prison sentences, which could include up to eight years digging up old land mines or tracking down bodies. If they don’t admit guilt, they’ll face a trial and the possibility of decades behind bars.

They have until late April to reply to the court.

“We are assuming collective responsibility,” said Julián Gallo, who is among the indicted leaders, in an interview.

“These were practices that in some form delegitimized our fight,” he went on. “What we have asked for is forgiveness.”

scathing report that implicated officials in the intentional killing of at least 6,402 civilians when Mr. Uribe was in office.

The killings were part of a previously revealed strategy in which Colombian soldiers or their allies lured civilians from their homes with the promise of jobs, and then killed them and tried to pass off their deaths as combatant kills. Many of the victims were poor, some were mentally disabled.

The idea was to show that the government was winning the war.

responded to the court’s announcement by calling the numbers “inflated,” and an attempt to “delegitimize the commendable work” of the military.

Magistrates are expected to begin announcing indictments in that scandal later this year.

Mr. Uribe, who has repeatedly said he did he everything he could to stop the killings, is exempt from the court as a former president.

During one of the court’s public hearings, Jacqueline Castillo described how her brother Jaime, a civilian, disappeared one day in August of 2008, and reappeared days later in a mass grave far from home, identified by the military as a rebel killed in combat. She went to the grave, she said, and watched as men pulled her brother from the earth.

Before, she had idolized the Colombian military.

“They were my heroes,” she said, pressing her palm to her heart. “Now they make me sad.”

Sofía Villamil contributed reporting.

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