Colombian Military Admit Guilt in 247 ‘False Positive’ Cases

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) of Colombia informed that a total of 21 soldiers and a civilian have admitted their guilt in 247 “false positive” cases, a term used to denote extrajudicial executions of innocent civilians who are then “identified” as guerrillas who died in combat.

In a press conference, JEP magistrate Catalina Díaz informed that 22 of the 26 people who had been summoned have recognized their guilt and admitted their responsibility for the crimes charged.

The JEP is a court that was created as a result of the Peace Accords that were established between the Colombian government and the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to investigate and penalize human right violations committed during the armed conflicts.

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Some of those responsible have admitted their guilt in two proceedings of case number 03. The first of those proceedings documents false positives in the Colombian Catatumbo, in a judgement issued on July 6, in which 10 soldiers and a civilian have been charged for the murder of around 120 people.

In the second case, two colonels and 13 soldiers have been charged for perpetrating illegal actions in Valledupar, where 127 people where murdered or forcibly disappeared. Neither of the two colonels admitted the imputed charges.

So far, the only retired general who has admitted his guilt is Paulino Coronado, who allegedly had knowledge of the false positives, but did nothing to prevent them.

“With a plea for forgiveness for the great pain caused by the execrable acts committed,” declared General Coronado, “leading to the death of innocent people who were presented as combatants, and which has left a deep desolation among their bereaved families, I now offer them my absolute willingness to contribute to the clarification of the truth as a means of reparation.”

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The JEP will now send the admissions of responsibility to the victims and to the Attorney General’s Office so that they can issue their observations, and new hearings of recognition, truth and responsibility can be initiated.

In its investigations, the JEP found “patterns of macrocriminality” in the criminal acts committed by the Army in alliance with paramilitary groups.

The JEP documented that those involved in “false positives” operated by attracting innocent civilians, mostly young peasants, to later assassinate them and then “identify” them as guerrillas in order to raise the “deaths in combat” figures and hence obtain rewards and incentives from their superiors.

 

Featured image: Colombian false positives is one of Uribismo’s legacies of impunity. File photo

(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón

Translation: Orinoco Tribune

OT/GMS/SC

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Ana Perdigón
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