Palacio de Justicia

Bogotá, Columbia


Artwork from The Disappointed Tourist series by Ellen Harvey

It’s one of the biggest traumas and losses that Colombia has. When you read about it, you will find that the building held all the files against Escobar, but also all the lawsuits that existed against the government during the government of President Turbay (who disappeared people a la Pinochet). Nancy F.

The Palacio de Justicia (Palace of Justice) was located in Bolívar Square in Bogotá. It was a modernist building designed by the architect Roberto Londoño to replace the previous neoclassical Palace of Justice which had been destroyed in the Bogotazo riots of 1948. It was destroyed in 1985 when it was captured by leftist M-19 guerrillas demanding that President Belisaro Betancur come to stand trial. The guerrillas took 300 people hostage, including 24 Supreme Court judges and 20 other judges. The army stormed the building igniting a fire that took over two days to put out and killing 98 people, including twelve judges. All the records in the building were destroyed. A new building on the same site housing the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Judicial Council was opened in 2004.