BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A particular court docket in Colombia has charged a common and different prime navy leaders of crimes in opposition to humanity, accused of assassinating 120 civilians and presenting them as fight casualties in a bid to indicate the nation was successful its lengthy civil struggle.
The indictments are the primary through which Colombia’s particular peace court docket, created by a 2016 settlement between the nation’s authorities and its largest insurgent group, has held anybody accountable for the killings, which erupted into public view in 2008 and have become referred to as the “false positives” scandal.
The scandal has emerged as emblematic of the nation’s decades-long inside battle, a painful image of the best way civilians weren’t simply unintentional casualties in a struggle between left-wing guerrillas, paramilitaries and the navy — however generally targets of all three teams.
Tons of of members of the navy had been convicted within the scandal by the nation’s common court docket system however had been later launched below the 2016 peace accord, which transferred jurisdiction of their circumstances to the particular peace court docket.
Tuesday’s indictment is notable, mentioned Juan Pappier, Colombia researcher for Human Rights Watch, in that it holds a number of high-ranking people accountable. Previous indictments within the common court docket system centered on lower-ranking officers.
Among the many 11 folks indicted by the peace court docket are Brig. Gen. Paulino Coronado Gámez and the colonels Santiago Herrera Fajardo and Rubén Darío Castro Gómez.
The indictment mentioned the killings, which passed off in 2007 and 2008 within the Catatumbo area, close to the border with Venezuela, “weren’t remoted, spontaneous or sporadic acts.”
As a substitute, the indictment mentioned, “these acts are interrelated and had been dedicated as a part of a widespread and systematic assault in opposition to the civilian inhabitants, that’s, they’re crimes in opposition to humanity.”
Mr. Pappier known as the announcement “a vindication for victims and human rights teams which have been preventing for justice on this case for greater than a decade.”
In February, the particular peace court docket mentioned that the navy was chargeable for killing as many as 6,402 civilians and attempting to go them off as combatant fatalities. Court docket officers mentioned they are going to challenge extra indictments sooner or later.
Below the phrases of the particular peace court docket, the 11 people have the choice to acknowledge the crimes as charged, or go to trial. In the event that they admit to the crimes, they are going to obtain as much as eight years of an alternate sentence corresponding to home arrest or labor. In the event that they select to go to trial and are discovered to be responsible, they might withstand 20 years in jail.
Most of the victims in Colombia’s false positives scandal got here from poor neighborhoods. Blanca Nubia Monroy’s 19-year-old son, Julián Oviedo Monroy, disappeared one night time in 2008 after he informed his mom he’d been recruited for a job.
In an interview final 12 months, Ms. Nubia Monroy, 62, mentioned that she later found that the recruiters had handed him over to the navy, who had killed him and tried to go him off as a member of one of many nation’s left-wing guerrillas.
On Tuesday, she mentioned the indictment introduced her a measure of peace. “They’re not going after the low-level officers just like the common justice system,” she mentioned of the peace court docket. “They’re going after the very best ranks,” she added, “in order that the deaths of our kids don’t finish with impunity.”
Reported was contributed by Sofía Villamil in Cartagena.