More than 400 more state agents have been accused of killing civilians within the last year, bringing the total to 4,774.
These numbers are from a Prosecutor General’s report dated to February of this year, which the Prosecutor General’s Office pointed to as the most updated statistics in an email.
Colombia’s so-called “false positives” scandal is centered around the extrajudicial killings of thousands of civilians by members of the armed forces who dressed their victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills.
Prior to the report, Colombia Reports had been told in July of 2013 that a total of 4,373 state agents had been implicated in the scandal, indicating that hundreds more had been discovered in the last half of that year.
As this report claims, the statistics were current as of January 31 of 2014, leaving it unclear how many more state agents have been implicated since then or the current total number of investigations.
A total of 4,212 victims of extrajudicial killings by the military have so far been identified by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Of the nearly 5,000 state agents implicated in the crimes, 742 have been convicted, almost all from the army. More than 200 are officers rankings from corporal to colonel, and more then 500 soldiers.
False Positives: A brief history
While governmental and non-governmental organizations had been denouncing “false positivies” for years – the earliest cases date back to 1986 – the Colombian government of former-President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2008) denied the armed forces were killing civilians.
False positive cases per year
FACT SHEET: False positives
This position was maintained until late 2008 when prosecution investigators linked the bodies of unidentified rebel fighters found in the north of the country to people who had been reported missing in Soacha, a city south of the capital Bogota.
Investigators found out that the general practice was to execute civilians, dress them up as guerrillas and then present the body as a combat kill. According to media reports, the civilians were killed in order to collect bonuses. This however has been categorically denied by the Colombian government.
What the practice effectively did — be it intentionally or unintentionally — was inflate the apparent success of the government in its fight against left-wing guerrillas and right wing paramilitaries.
In 2007, at the height of the extrajudicial killings, more than two in five reported combat kills – 41% – were in fact executed civilians.
- Informe de Gestion 2013-2014 (Prosecutor General’s Office)