Nine Colombian soldiers were called to court over their alleged participation in the killing of a farmer accused of being a left-wing FARC member.
Colombia’s Inspector General said the nine soldiers, belonging to an anti-guerrilla unit of the army’s 11th battalion, could have killed the civilian during the “Marcial” operation launched against Colombia’s largest rebel group, FARC, in 2003, “without being certain if said person was a military object.”
The military claimed the individual, who was killed in Antioquia‘s Andino municipality, was a collaborator of the guerrilla, which is active in this part of the department. According to testimonies and documents, the civilian was the owner of a small farm and worked as a peasant.
The Inspector General said there was not enough proof to conclude that the individual was a FARC member and that he was not armed or in the company of rebels on the day of his killing. The two officers and the seven non-commissioned officers could have acted in a disproportionate manner and had possibly violated their commitment to protect people who were not a part of hostilities.
The case could become the latest episode in the so-called false positives-scandal, in which some 3,000 cases of extrajudicial executions on the behalf of the armed forces against civilians accused of being FARC or ELN rebels have been presented in courts.