Colombian government officials acknowledge as many as 15 new cases of “false positives”: extrajudicial killings by the armed forces of civilians, which are then reported as guerrillas killed in combat.
In a committee meeting of a group monitoring the cases, Defense Minister Gabriel Silva Lujan said at least 80 people have been involved in the investigation into the illegal extrajudicial murder of civilians by the armed forces since October 2008, Colombian media reported Tuesday.
The government recently said the number of false positive complaints has been declining but, as the defense minister said Tuesday, there is still much more for the investigations to cover. There has been no consensus on the figures on false positives registered after October 2008, the date of a court decision regarding the killings of protected persons, Silva said.
“All participants agreed to acknowledge that there has been a significant reduction in complaints of this type of behavior, attributable to the implementation of fifteen measures in late 2008 designed to prevent these heinous cases,” said Silva.
The Representative of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Christian Salazar, said it was important that the institutions responsible for investigating these events agree on the figures.
“We’re not doing the statistics, but if you look at any figure in this regard we can see that there has been a sharp decline and we hope that state entities agree on this information,” he said.
He commented that “this year has shown that there is political will to make major changes in an institution as large as the military, and we are seeing a dramatic reduction in cases of extrajudicial executions.” This must be acknowledged and the reforms must continue, he said.
There are currently nearly 1,300 false positive cases being handled by PG investigators involving the murder of more than 2,000 civilians.