Human rights organizations said on Tuesday that the investigations of extrajudicial killings, known in Colombia as “false positives,” need to be “treated as crimes systematically produced and not as isolated cases.”
The human rights NGO International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the NGO Coordination Colombia-Europe-United States (CCEEU) both claimed that thus far the extrajudicial killings executed by the military, euphemistically known as false positives, have been approached as individual cases and the process needs to be accelerated.
By individually trying cases, the NGOs claimed that it disregards the “repetitive nature of these crimes” and does not take into account the policies that permitted these crimes to happen, reported Caracol Radio. If the cases are only examined one by one, then lower ranking personnel are scrutinized but not the upper military or governmental structures that either allowed or encouraged the atrocity to happen.
Moreover, the Colombian judicial system has placed most of the cases in military courts, since most cases fall under violation of International Humanitarian Law. This however would likely lead to impunity since it was the military itself that committed these crimes, newspaper Semana weekly reported.
A report by the the Prosecutor General’s Office done in August found that the armed forces had killed 2,984 civilians. The same office said that 4,373 persons were implicated in the extrajudicial killings by state agents, while 1,948 had been charged. Some 230 members of the armed forces — primarily lower-ranked officials — had been sentenced to prison sentences.
This means that four years after the false positive phenomenon was uncovered, thousands of implicated people are still awaiting prosecution.