Seven Colombian soldiers were charged Wednesday with the extrajudicial killings of two farmers in central Caldas Department.
The soldiers allegedly shot farmers Darby Quintana and Arlex Ramirez in February 2008 in a rural town outside the city of Manizales, 300 km northwest of Bogota.
Quintana and Ramirez were supposedly encountered by the soldiers during a routine operation and were arrested, before later being found dead.
Charges were brought against Corporal Carlos Magroveja and soldiers German Bermudez, Jovier Dorado, Alonso Palacio, Robinson Diaz, Diomar Ipio and Jose Harvey Pena, who was also convicted of falsifying public documents. They each face up to 50 years in prison.
Following the ruling, the victims’ lawyer Jorge Eliecer Molano recognized that the convicted soldiers were following orders and said that Major Jose Linares and Captain Julio Cesar Alvarez, who Molano claimed ordered the murders, should also be brought to justice.
The incident is yet another case of the “false positives” scandal which has plagued the Colombian Army since 2008, in which murdered civilians are reported as rebels killed in combat to artificially boost the military’s success rate.