A video recording of a Colombian military officer discussing the falsification of testimonies to cover up extrajudicial murders was released Sunday.
The officer, Nestor Guillermo Gutierrez, is depicted hashing out the details of false testimonies. Gutierrez was convicted of aggravated homicide and illegal weapons posession in relation to a false positives case for which he is serving 22 years in prison. The false positives scandal refers to the Colombian military’s alleged sanctioned practice of killing civilians and then dressing them up in guerrilla fatigues in order to present them as combat kills. The majority of the killings were carried out between 2002 and 2009.
FACT SHEET: False Positives
Gutierrez was implicated in a false positive case which occurred in the municipality of Ocaña in the Norte de Santander department in northern Colombia. Members of the armed forces allegedly used the town for extrajudicial executions dating back 2006 according to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Soldiers supposedly lured young men to Ocaña where they would be executed and then presented as combat kills.
The video dates back to 2010 and shows Gutierrez telling soldiers under his command what they should say in their testimonies. Though the context is vague, the implications of his orders are clear.
“If they ask who was with the corporal, you have to say: the soldiers who were implicated in the killing, the soldiers that haven’t been captured yet, they are the ones who were with the corporal,” ordered Gutierrez.
The video also implicated the local prosecutor, whom Gutierrez presumably had a mutually beneficial relationship.