Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos will defend his position
Tuesday in a debate with the Senate about the growing scandal of the
Colombian military kidnapping and murdering civilians to register them
as guerrillas killed in combat. The prosecution is investigating more
than a 1,000 of these ‘false positives’ cases.
Colombia’s main opposition parties Polo Democrático and Partido Liberal will demand the resignation of Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos as being politically responsible for the killings of his troops.
Héctor Helí Rojas (Partido Liberal) and Parmenio Cuéllar (Polo) told Caracol Radio the same rules that were applied on the 27 sacked military officials that were dismissed should also apply on the Minister.
“Santos knew what happened. In September 2006 Senator Gustavo Petro (Polo) had a debate with him about those ‘false positives’. Several national and international NGOs have been saying it in all forms. Santos refused to hear them and of course remained silent,” Cuéllar said.
It’s not only the opposition that wants Santos to take responsibility. The debate was requested by coalition senator Jairo Clopatofsky (Partido de la U) who told Spanish press agency Efe the sacked army officials shouldn’t be teh only ones held accountable for the human rights violations.
According to Liberal Senator Rojas, approximately 5,000 Colombians have been reported missing since 2002 and were murdered by the army without the Defense Minister doing or saying anything.
Santos will be joined in the debate by army chief general Mario Montoya and chief prosecutor Mario Iguarán.