The Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating three alleged cases of “false positives,” civilians murdered by the army and reported as guerrillas, buried in what was alleged to be a mass grave in La Macarena, in the Meta department.
The prosecutor general‘s human rights unit opened an investigation following an analysis of the burial site by the Office for the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR). The U.N. organization found that the cemetary contains at least 446 unidentified bodies that were reported as guerrillas killed in combat with the armed forces.
The UNHCHR undertook the analysis after human rights groups voiced concerns that the cemetery may have been used as a mass grave to house up to 2,000 bodies, including victims of extrajudicial killings.
The human right unit began its own preliminary investigation last week by analyzing exhumed remains and comparing data to family testimony.
The UNHCHR found no evidence that La Macarena was the site of a mass grave, reporting that it contained bodies buried individually but not identified.
The organization said it was “extremely concerned about the large number of people buried in the cemetery, whose identities and causes of death have not been clarified” and who “were reported as killed in combat with the armed forces since 2002.”
The UNHCHR also expressed concerned about “the lack of effective controls and adequate records regarding reports of people killed in combat, which raises questions about the circumstances surrounding their deaths.”