Colombia’s former army chief submits to war crimes tribunal

Mario Montoya (Image: Zona Cero)

One of Colombia’s most controversial former military commanders, General Mario Montoya, agreed to submit to the country’s war crimes tribunal on Tuesday.

The former National Army commander and close ally of former President Alvaro Uribe is accused of ties to paramilitary group and the mass execution of civilians.

Montoya is one of 23 generals and six colonels that the International Criminal Court wants to see prosecuted on charges of crimes against humanity.

The former military commander and diplomat is the second retired general to appear before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) who was already under investigation by the common justice system and risking decades is prison.

Colombia tries first general over mass execution of civilians

If the JEP accepts Montoya’s request to try him, he can evade prison by telling the truth about the so-called “false positives” scandal in which the military executed thousands of civilians to present them as guerrillas killed in combat to the public.

I don’t want trails of blood, I want rivers of blood. I want results.

General Mario Montoya according to Colonel Robinson Gonzalez

According to prosecution statistics, most civilian executions took place in Antioquia where Montoya led the 4th Brigade and spiked nationwide after he was appointed national army commander.

Montoya has always been considered as one of the most extremist members of the military and has been linked to a covert terrorist plot against a communist organization in the 1970s.

The “false positives” scandal is only one of the war crimes Montoya will have to clarify; together with crime lord “Don Berna,” Montoya led “Operation Orion,” a military attack on Medellin’s 13th District that replaced leftist militias with crime syndicate the Oficina de Envigado.

He was sacked from the military after the false positives scandal broke in 2008, after which Uribe appointed him ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

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