Over 3,700 extrajudicial killings under Uribe

Over 3,700 extrajudicial killings, defined as the murder of non-combatants by members of the security forces, were recorded in Colombia over the past seven years, according to investigations by human rights coalition Coordination Colombia-Europa, reports El Espectador.

The Colombian Foundation for Education and Development (FEDES) say that cases in which members of the army murdered civilians then falsely reported them as guerrillas killed in action, known as the “false positives” scandal, is only “the tip of the iceberg.”

The organization reported that since 1994 there have been 3,796 cases of extrajudicial killings, of which 3,084 were recorded since the implementation of President Uribe’s hardline “democratic security” policy.

Human rights activists and mothers of false positive victims have sent letters to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, asking the court to take over the investigations as they see the Colombia justice system as inadequate.

The relatives of the Soacha victims also expressed their concern over Juan Manuel Santos being a current front runner in the upcoming Colombian presidential elections, as they see the former defense minister as bearing responsibility.

In May, a Colombian court sentenced four members of the armed forces to 33 years in jail for the 2005 false positive murder of a farmer in Argelia, in the central department of Antioquia.

A week earlier the ICC requested access to all reports released in Colombia that pertain to extrajudicial killings, although it was not directly processing any “false positives” cases at the time.

In response, the commander of Colombia’s armed forces, Freddy Padilla, said that the national justice system and not the ICC should be responsible for prosecuting soldiers involved in extra judicial killing cases.

“How can we turn to international justice to help us clarify what happened in Colombia, when we have judges and lawyers known for their integrity,” Padilla said.

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