A former Colombian army general on Wednesday was charged with the homicide of three men as part of the “false positives” scandal, when civilians were murdered and dressed up as guerrilla fighters to be presented as combat kills.
Henry William Torres, the current commander of the Army’s 5th Division, which operates in the central region of the country, was accused on Wednesday by a prosecutor specialized in Human Rights, according to a statement released by the Prosecutor General.
The alleged crimes occurred on April 6, 2007 in Hato Corozal, Casanare. Three locals were allegedly taken from a local establishment by several men – reportedly working for the now-defunct intelligence agency DAS – and bundled into a van. Days later they were presented as guerrillas and tallied as combat kills.
FACT SHEET: False positives
The prosecutor asked that an investigation be opened to determine Torres’ involvement in the crimes, which include the murder of a protected person, forced disappearance, procedural fraud, falsifying public documents and illegal possession of firearms.
The ex-director of the DAS in Casanare, Orlando Rias Tovar, is being investigated for his alleged involvement in the same crime, as are 3 sub-officials of the DAS and 6 soldiers.
This latest investigation comes after the Prosecutor General announced in May that 4 generals, one of which was Torres, would be investigated for their part in the false positives scandal. The former Commander of the Colombian army, Mario Montoya, is among those being investigated.
According to the Prosectutor General’s Office, the false positives scandal involved the murder of an estimated 3,900 civilians. The President at the time, Alvaro Uribe, denied the armed forces were killing civilians until late 2008 when investigators linked the bodies of unidentified rebel fighters found in the north of the country to people who had been reported missing in Soacha, a city south of the capital Bogota.