A retired general of Colombia’s army is filing a libel lawsuit case against a former colonel imprisoned for war crimes, after the colonel accused the general of orchestrating the murder of thousands of innocent civilians, according to media reports on Tuesday.
The lawyer for General Mario Montoya, Andres Garzon Roa, has begun drawing up legal documents to initiate criminal procedures against disgraced army Colonel Robinson Gonzalez for “false testimony, procedural fraud, and slander,” Colombia’s Caracol Radio reported on Monday.
The announcement of the lawsuit came just hours after Gonzalez dropped a bombshell accusing Montoya as the “creator of false positives.” “False positives” refers to the practice in which soldiers murdered thousands of civilians over the course of years, literally dressing the dead civilians as guerrillas in order to boost their reported number of guerrilla fighters killed.
FACT SHEET: False Positives
No contact at all
According to a statement signed by Garzon, Montoya had no contact with Gonzalez, whatsoever.
“Colonel Gonzalez was never under any direct command of military units he [Montoya] commanded. We have strong evidence of this information that can be verified not only by the command of the National Army, but also with subordinates and fellows-in-arms who worked with General Mario Montoya Uribe,” Garzon said, quoted in a Colombia’s RCN Radio report on Tuesday.
“He [Montoya] does not know nor has he ever met the aforementioned official [Gonzalez], nor has he had any dealings or communications with him,” said Garzon.
Rivers of Blood
However, Gonzalez claimed to have been under Montoya’s command when the general ordered that he did not want “pools of blood” but “rivers of blood” when they needed to boost their kill count.
The jailed colonel also noted that for every killed combatant, there were economic incentives of between $2,100 and $2,600 as well as time off on weekends to spend with family, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
However, if Gonzalez’s accusations are found to be true, it could prove widespread allegations that the murdering of at least 4,000 civilians were not isolated events, as the army has claimed in past trials of those who killed civilians, but rather a central aspect of state policy.
Not the first accusations against Montoya
Accusations against Montoya are not new. Similar claims surrounded the commander general even before he retired and was named ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
As for Gonzalez, the disgraced colonel was imprisoned in 2012 for executing civilians to inflate the apparent effectiveness of his military unit, later admitting to have participated in 17 operations in which 24 civilians were killed.