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

Military officers inform particular tribunal they participated in so-called ‘false optimistic’ killings of greater than 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 have been falsely portrayed as armed group members killed in fight with the military.

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

The tribunal was created underneath 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 various punishments in trade for full disclosure of incidents that occurred throughout Colombia’s decades-long, inner armed battle.

On Tuesday, a former army common, 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 duty as a co-perpetrator of those struggle crimes,” stated Nestor Gutierrez, who was the corporal of the fifteenth cellular brigade when the killings occurred.

“We killed harmless folks, peasants. I wish to emphasise this: these we killed have 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 family weren’t concerned with armed teams.

The JEP final yr stated the Colombian army carried out greater than 6,400 of those extrajudicial killings between 2002 and 2008, when President Alvaro Uribe was in energy. However rights teams and family have stated the true quantity may very well be a lot greater.

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

Decide Catalina Diaz described it as a “fact and accountability” listening to, saying the previous army officers have been anticipated to “clearly clarify themselves, reply questions and most significantly, take direct duty 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 a long time 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 “really highly effective” testimonials have been delivered, providing family of the victims “the likelihood to realize some fact of what occurred”.

“The state of affairs in [the region] is only one of many who the court docket has been investigating. They’ve been capable of decide that greater than 6,400 folks 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 folks”, he added, however many former military officers which have spoken to the tribunal stated they have been underneath strain from the federal government on the time “to point out outcomes”.

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