A Colombian court Monday sentenced four members of the armed forces to 33 years in jail for the 2005 murder of a farmer in Argelia, Antioquia department, reported by the soldiers as a guerrilla casualty. This type of killing is known in Colombia as a “false positive.”
The court found the four men guilty of the kidnap and murder of Gabriel Valencia Ocampo. On October 5, 2005 Ocampo was reported as killed in combat between the army and the FARC.
The prosecution proved that a day before his death, Valencia Ocampo was detained by a military patrol. He escaped and sought help from the local police.
When the army arrived at the police station, they said that Valencia Ocampo was an army deserter and the police handed him back to the soldiers, without verification.
The International Criminal Court last week requested access to all reports released in Colombia that pertain to extrajudicial killings, although it is not currently directly processing any “false positives” cases.
The court is concerned that many soldiers arrested for their responsibility in false positives have since been released.
In response to the court’s request, commander of the armed forces General Freddy Padilla said Colombian authorities are competent in processing false positive cases and that there is no reason for international interference.
Padilla reminded Colombians that the ICC only has jurisdiction to intervene in a nation’s justice when there is a failure by the state to bring war criminals, or those who have committed crimes against humanity, to justice – a fact that the court has stressed in the past.