The Colombian deputy defence minister has denied knowledge of 69 alleged new cases of extrajudicial killings of civilians at the hands of security forces.
Congressman Ivan Cepeda made the “false positives” allegations on Tuesday, local media reported. The reports contradict government claims that there have been no new cases since President Juan Manuel Santos took office in 2010.
“We rely on the facts and from 2006 to 2011 there has been a 98% decrease in complaints,” said Jorge Enrique Bedoya, according to newspaper El Espectador.
“The Ministry of Defence has no official reports of these kinds of actions in 2012. If people are aware of specific cases of alleged false positives, it is pertinent they they be brought to the attention of the authorities,” he added.
The “false positives” scandal broke in 2008 with revelations that the military was passing off murdered civilians as guerrilla fighters killed in combat to boost the armed forces’ success rate. There are now more than 3,000 investigations underway.
On Tuesday, Cepeda submitted a statement to congress based on five recent NGO reports, including one from the United Nations, that collectively allege 69 cases of “false positives” committed by security forces during Santos’s presidency.
The deputy defense minister asked for details of the 69 cases.
Bedoya defended the government’s record on addressing the scandal and said the number of investigations transferred from military courts to civilian courts had increased by about 43%, from 140 cases in 2010 to 249 in 2011.
“That means that both the military criminal justice and ordinary justice are doing their task objectively so there is no impunity,” he said.