The commander of Colombia’s armed forces says that the national justice system and not the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be responsible for prosecuting soldiers involved in “false positive” killings, in which the army murdered civilians and reported them as guerrillas killed in combat.
General Freddy Padilla said Colombian authorities are processing false positive cases effectively and there is no reason for an international court to interfere.
“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, adding that Colombia needs to have faith in its justice system, and support it.
Padilla spoke out in reaction to a request by the ICC Monday that Colombia give it access to all national reports related to the army’s extra-judicial killings.
The court, which already monitors “parapolitics,” cases in which politicians are linked with paramilitary groups, the Justice and Peace process and activities by illegal armed groups in Colombia, also expressed concern that soldiers arrested for their responsibility in false positives, have since been released.
Padilla reminded Colombians that the ICC only has jurisdiction to intervene in a nation’s justice when there is a failure by the state to bring war criminals, or those who have committed crimes against humanity, to justice – a fact that the court has stressed in the past.