Colombia’s constitutional court on Tuesday warned the government that they must provide reparations to the families of victims of extrajudicial killings carried out during the armed conflict.
The order refers directly to the “false positives” scandal that saw thousands of civilians murdered by members of the armed forces, who dressed their victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills.
The ruling highlights that the next of kin of the victims should be compensated for the material and moral suffering resulting from the deaths as they continue their plight for justice.
According to the court, the state should provide “judicial payment… with the aim of paying for the damages caused by the deaths of family members.”
The Constitutional Court decision came after an unsuccessful reparation claim was made for the victim of a “false positive” case, rejected because “it exceeded the terms established for its presentation.”
The court claimed however that the executions of civilians represent a violation of international treaties.
They are victims of the Colombian armed conflict and therefore should be treated as such; that is to say, one should apply the national and international laws that relate to the matter.
According to the ruling, the killings were committed against “protected people” since they were civilians that were not part of the armed conflict.
The family claimed that armed forces had presented their son who was murdered in 2005 as “a person dressed in combat clothes” when in reality the young boy “lived at home with his parents and siblings and was in charge of picking coffee,” reported El Espectador.
In a June 2015 report, the Prosecutor General’s Office said it had found that the armed forces and civilian collaborators had killed 4,475 civilians since 1986.
The same office said that 5,137 officials were implicated in the extrajudicial killings.
The wave of killings peaked in 2006 following a declining number of combat kills.
The rise in deaths came shortly after a directive implemented by then Defense Minister Camilo Ospina, which included “the payment of rewards for the capture or killing of ringleaders of the illegal armed groups.”