Colombia's Supreme Court has thrown out the conviction of an army colonel who was found guilty of "disappearing" several people taken alive during a 1985 army raid on the high court after it was seized by guerrillas.

On a 5-3 vote, justices ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence that now retired Col. Alfonso Plazas was responsible for the disappearance of two people who were captured in the building after the 48-hour standoff and never seen again.

President Juan Manuel Santos this year apologized for the deadly siege in compliance with an Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling that condemned the government for the disappearance of 12 people.

Plazas has maintained his innocence and stuck by his declaration during the assault he helped lead that he was defending democracy.