Members of Colombia’s armed forces that are victims of war crimes are not given the same treatment as civilian victims, says a military defense NGO.
According to Demil, the attention of both the domestic population and the international community is unequally focused towards human rights abuses experienced by civilians and argues that soldiers are being killed with impunity throughout the country, with little recourse to a fair judicial process.
“Despite the fact that their is a recognition of armed conflict, the prosecution is not interested in investigating these cases,” Jean Carlo Mejia, director of Demil told Colombia Reports.
Mejia argued that the process of achieving justice for wounded or killed soldiers and their families is particularly complex. According to Mejia, 90% of soldiers do not know their rights regarding the armed conflict, or even that they and their families are considered victims of the conflict.
According to the NGO director, “any soldier, any police to die in the line of duty is a victim.”
Mejia despairs of what he sees as a desequilibrium in the justice system, and hopes that those responsible for killing members of the armed forces will be pursued with as much fervor as those members of the armed forces who are responsible for killing civilians.
According to Mejia the work of Demil is “to demonstrate that behind every soldier is a human being.”