Peace court docket accuses 10 Colombian military members of murdering at the least 120 civilians and falsely saying they have been fighters.
A Colombian court docket has accused 10 members of the army and a civilian of forcibly disappearing 24 individuals and murdering at the least 120 civilians and falsely presenting them as fighters who had been killed in fight.
It’s the first time that the Particular Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) tribunal in Bogota accused members of the military of being concerned within the so-called “false optimistic” scandal.
The JEP, which is investigating crimes and atrocities dedicated throughout half a century of armed battle within the nation, dominated earlier this 12 months that Colombia’s army had carried out at the least 6,400 extrajudicial killings and offered them as fight deaths between 2002 and 2008.
The court docket mentioned on Tuesday that the defendants performed a decisive function within the murders, which have been offered as fight deaths within the Catatumbo area of Colombia’s Norte de Santander province between January 2007 and August 2008.
At present from the Bogota bureau: Colombia’s peace tribunal has accused 10 troopers of murdering 120 civilians in 2007 and 2008, the primary time the court docket has charged army members, by @ACOSTALUISJAIME https://t.co/SiQMyfxgY1
— Julia Symmes Cobb (@JSymmesCobb) July 6, 2021
The accused, recognized by the JEP as these answerable for giving orders with out which the crimes wouldn’t have systematically occurred, included a common, six officers, three non-commissioned officers, and a civilian.
“It was a sample of macrocriminality, which is to say, the repetition of at the least 120 murders throughout two years in the identical area by the identical group of individuals related to a legal group and following the identical modus operandi,” Justice of the Peace Catalina Diaz mentioned on Tuesday.
The tribunal was created below the 2016 peace deal to prosecute former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgent group and Colombian army leaders for alleged warfare crimes.
Dozens of military officers have been detained and convicted by Colombia’s common court docket system for his or her half within the murders and have testified earlier than the JEP as they search extra lenient sentences.
If these accused on Tuesday don’t settle for the fees inside 30 days, they might obtain a sentence of as much as 20 years in jail in a civilian court docket, mentioned Justice of the Peace and JEP President Eduardo Cifuentes.
Juan Pappier, a Colombia researcher for Human Rights Watch, referred to as the court docket’s announcement “a vindication for victims and human rights teams which were preventing for justice on this case for greater than a decade”, the New York Instances reported.
Human rights teams have argued for years that the apply of army members killing and falsely representing civilians as enemy combatants was extra frequent than the Colombian authorities acknowledged.
A 2018 report, compiled with official sources and impartial analysis, estimated that greater than 10,000 civilians have been murdered throughout the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe.
Whereas the army excessive command has denied there was a scientific coverage of inflating the numbers of killed left-wing rebels with so-called “false positives”, troopers and officers have advised the court docket that superiors strain them to spice up the looks of success within the authorities’s army marketing campaign throughout the civil warfare.