Extrajudicial executions perpetrated by the Colombian armed forces, a number of whom are trained by the United States, are not being properly addressed by the Juan Manuel Santos administration, lawmakers from the Democratic Pole (PD) party said in a government debate Wednesday.
The armed forces have been killing innocent, often poor, people and dressing them as guerrilla fighters in order to collect bonuses or promotions in a phenomenon that has come to be known as the case of “falsos positivos” or “false positives.”
The practice began during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), whose administration was marred with allegations of widespread human rights abuses.
Angela Robledo, lawmaker for the Green Alliance, asserted that about 4,000 soldiers have been investigated for extrajudicial executions. Robledo also revealed that during Uribe’s mandate, 12 extrajudicial executions were committed each day.
The parliamentarian also encouraged the country’s Defense Secretary, Juan Carlos Pinzon, to fully support the peace talks that the government is maintaining with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
PD legislator Alirio Uribe urged government to investigate and punish former President Uribe, whom he accused of being responsible for the extrajudicial executions.
During his speech, the PD lawmaker cited a study published by the Colombia, Europe and U.S. Coordinator (CCEEU) and the Fellowship Reconciliation organization, which indicates that 5,763 people were victims of extrajudicial killings, with 88 percent of these executed during Alvaro Uribe’s mandate.
Of this group of victims, 20 percent were children. The report also notes most of the victims were farmers and indigenous people, but several union and community leaders were also executed.
Alirio Uribe went on to point out that a significant number of the soldiers charged with committing extrajudicial executions were trained in United States, while five generals who have been linked to “falsos positivos” have not been charged.
The left-leaning lawmakers also urged government to not support a bill that would provide a type of immunity to all soldiers who commit crimes against civilians.