Colombia: Former army officials admit role in killing civilians | Military News

Ex-army officers inform particular tribunal they participated in so-called ‘false constructive’ killings of over 100 civilians.

Ten former members of the Colombian army have publicly acknowledged their position within the 2007 and 2008 killings of greater than 100 civilians, who had been falsely portrayed as armed group members killed in fight with the military.

The admissions had been made on Tuesday throughout an historic public listening to of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) tribunal within the Norte de Santander division close to Colombia’s border with Venezuela, the place the killings happened.

The tribunal was created below a 2016 peace deal between the Colombian authorities and the now-demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.

It’s meant to strive former combatants, doling out different punishments in change for full disclosure of incidents that happened throughout Colombia’s decades-long, inside armed battle.

On Tuesday, a former army basic, 4 colonels, 5 different military officers and one civilian stated they participated within the kidnapping of 120 youth from the city of Ocana and neighbouring communities to kill and later current them as members of left-wing guerilla and different armed teams that operated within the space.

“I recognise and settle for my accountability as a co-perpetrator of those struggle crimes,” stated Nestor Gutierrez, who was the corporal of the fifteenth cell brigade when the killings occurred.

“We killed harmless individuals, peasants. I need to emphasise this: these we killed had been easy peasants,” he stated, including that strain from higher-ups and “calls for for outcomes” performed a task in what occurred.

The so-called “false positives” scandal has rocked Colombia, because the family members of the victims for many years have demanded justice and accountability – and insisted that their kinfolk weren’t concerned with armed teams.

The JEP final 12 months stated the Colombian army carried out more than 6,400 of those extrajudicial killings between 2002 and 2008, when President Alvaro Uribe was in energy. However rights teams and kinfolk have stated the true quantity could be much higher.

Dozens of individuals – together with round 50 kinfolk of the victims – attended Tuesday’s JEP listening to in Ocana, the newest alternative for them to attempt to get some closure.

Choose Catalina Diaz described it as a “fact and accountability” listening to, saying the previous army officers had been anticipated to “clearly clarify themselves, reply questions and most significantly, take direct accountability in entrance of the victims and the nation”.

“After years of silence and concern, the time for fact has lastly arrived, to place an finish to many years of impunity,” the JEP stated in a video shared earlier than the ex-military officers’ statements.

Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from the capital Bogota, stated “actually highly effective” testimonials had been delivered, providing kinfolk of the victims “the likelihood to realize some fact of what occurred”.

“The scenario in [the region] is only one of many who the court docket has been investigating. They’ve been in a position to decide that greater than 6,400 individuals have been killed this fashion by the army,” Rampietti stated.

“Now the Colombian army has insisted that there wasn’t a scientific plan to kill harmless individuals”, he added, however many former military officers which have spoken to the tribunal stated they had been below strain from the federal government on the time “to point out outcomes”.

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