A judge has ordered Colombia’s Ministry of Defense to pay $460,000 to the family of taxi driver killed by soldiers in just one of the thousands of cases of extrajudicial killings by the army, according to local media.
Soldiers in the northern region of Cesar killed 27-year-old moto-taxi driver Carlos Arturo Madero and presented him as an extortionist in 2007, according to El Heraldo newspaper.
Madero’s brother expressed relief after the ruling, as his brother was cleared of the army accusations he was a criminal.
“We decided that it was through the law that it would be demonstrated and made public how they killed him and indicated that he was an extortionist,” he said.
Eight soldiers are currently being held and prosecuted over the killing.
The murder is just one of thousands extrajudicial assassinations which have been carried out by the state since 1986. The scandal centers around members of the armed forces who dressed up victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills.
FACT SHEET: False positives
In 2007, at the height of the extrajudicial killings, more than two in five reported combat kills – 41% – were in fact executed civilians.
A total of 4,212 victims of extrajudicial killings by the military have so far been identified by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Of the nearly 5,000 state agents implicated in the crimes, 742 have been convicted, almost all from the army. More than 200 are officers rankings from corporal to colonel, and more then 500 soldiers.
There is currently a revived debate over the expansion of military jurisdiction which could greatly affect the prosecution of these case. Critics argue that handing over the false positive cases from civilian to military courts could lead to impunity. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly expressed this opinion.
- Millonaria condena al Estado por falso positivo (El Heraldo)