Four Colombian soldiers have been dismissed from the national army for killing a peasant and dressing him like a guerrilla fighter.
Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office said the men had “completely and knowingly failed in their professional duty” when they killed a civilian in a rural area near the town of Silvania, Cundinamarca district, in August 2003.
Third Corporal Wilmar Bedoya Arias and soldiers Manuel Crane Páez, Alexander Sánchez Cacais and Jhon Jaime Beltrán García, then tried to “justify their actions by presenting this civilian as a militant killed in self-defense, claiming he was carrying a weapon he had used against them.”
The investigation proved the death had not occurred in combat.
The soliders were also banned from rejoining the force for 20 years, for what the Inspector General called ‘grave violations of international human rights law’.
The ‘false positives’ scandal first came to light in 2008, when men who had disappeared from Soacha, a town south of Bogota, were found in a mass grave near the Venezuelan border. It was discovered the men had been registered by the army as guerrillas killed in combat.
More than 3,000 cases of ‘false positives’ are currently being investigated.