Freddy Padilla, the acting Commander General of Colombia’s Military Forces between 2006 and 2009, publicly announced his resignation as the ambassador to Austria after being accused of being responsible for the so-called ‘false positives’ scandal, in which the Colombian military, in league with paramilitary forces, killed an alleged 3900 civilians and dressed them up as enemy combatants in order to boost their reported ‘combat kills’ throughout the 2000’s.
FACT SHEETS: False Positives
In August, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) sent a dossier about Padilla to all of the countries that the ambassador represented demanding that they designate Padilla a ‘persona non-grata’ and remove his diplomatic immunity. These countries included Austria, where Padilla was Colombia’s ambassador, as well as the Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary, where he acts as a diplomatic representative of Colombia.
This past week, the ECCHR publicly released the dossier, which contained accusations and evidence against Padilla claiming that the ex-general was “presumably responsible for international crimes committed by his subordinates, because he knew of the crimes, but neither prevented, nor punished the wrongdoers.”
The ECCHR asserted that Padilla is responsible for “crimes against humanity” in its press release on Wednesday. Furthermore, the 18-page dossier stated that Europe should not be a safe-haven for war criminals.
The document asserts that due to the “systematic nature” of the crimes committed during the false positives scandal, the lower soldiers must have “had to report to the Central Commanders.” It goes on to make the case of why a commander in Padilla’s position is liable according to international law and the International Criminal Court.
Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Relations said that Padilla officially submitted his resignation over a month ago after the report was first sent to countries in Europe, but the news was only released today.
The ex-general has been abroad since 2010 as a diplomat after President Juan Manuel Santos named him as ambassador to Austria.
This signals the third resignation of an ambassador this week, and the third this year to have been caused by scandal. Colombia’s ambassador to Russia resigned Wednesday after accusations of sexual misconduct with minors. Colombia’s ambassador to the United States left due to a land-theft scandal in July.
Padilla insists that the allegations are false, and it is not known yet whether or not charges will be pressed in light of this report.
Colombia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom also resigned Friday morning, as he was accepting a new job as a consultant in Colombia.
- The Padilla Case and Crimes against Humanity (ECCHR Website)
- The Full Dossier on Freddy Padilla (ECCHR Website)
- General Pinilla reemplazaría a Freddy Padilla en embajada en Austria (El Tiempo)
- Renunció embajador en Austria, general (r) Freddy Padilla de León (El Colombiano)
- General Freddy Padilla renuncia a Embajada de Austria, en medio de escándalo por informe (El Heraldo)
- La confusa salida del general Padilla de la Embajada (La Semana)
- Freddy Padilla de León renuncia a embajada en Austria tras escándalo por dossier (La FM)