Colombia’s Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza Diago has announced the formation of a new body to investigate the origins of thousands of recently discovered unidentified corpses, local media reported Wednesday.
The investigative body will be made up of representatives from the PG’s investigative body (CTI), the armed forces, and the Supreme Court.
According to Mendoza, some 8,000 unidentified bodies are buried in 385 cemeteries in La Macarena, Guaviare, Uraba, and Magdalena Medio. A number of them may be civilians killed by armed forces. An official from the Prosecutor General’s Office last week spoke of 6,700 unidentified bodies.
Mendoza said the new organization will conduct an investigation to confirm whether or not these bodies are “false positives” – civilian victims of extrajudicial killings by the army, reported as rebels in order to inflate kill counts.
“The creation of this new body will allow the new allegations to be investigated more effectively with inter-agency work,” Mendoza said. “At the moment, it has been determined that there is no mass grave [in Macarena] but a there is a large amount of people buried there. What we have to do with the coroner’s office is to determine whether they were actually homicides committed outside of combat.”
The prosecutor general added that there are also plans to strengthen the Human Rights Unit of his office, as well as units that combat criminal gangs.
Mendoza also said that no concrete figures exist on how many false positives killings have taken place in Colombia. The authorities estimate that there have been over 2,000 victims.