Partido de la U presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos claimed on Friday that it was he who put an end to the phenomenon of extrajudicial killings by the military during his tenure as defense minister, reports El Espectador.
According to Santos, he inherited the scandal – known as “false positives,” in which soldiers would kill innocent civilians and pass them off as guerrillas killed in action in order to inflate their statistics – from his predecessors.
“We did not invent false positives, we ended it, this is the reality, nobody can deny it,” Santos argued.
Santos’ main opponent in the May 30 presidential elections, Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus, accused Santos earlier this week of being morally responsible for the murders of civilians by the army, which reports say numbered about 3,000 during the administration of President Alvaro Uribe.
A report released Thursday by the United Nations backs up Santos’ claim that since he assumed the role as defense minister in July 2006, the number of false positives cases dropped. According to the report, the number of false positives killings increased substantially in 2004, but reduced since the government took steps to curb them in 2007.
“It broke my heart when I found out what was happening at that time,” Santos said, adding that he took “effective actions against” the scandal while in charge of the military, and that as president, he would continue to act in this manner, “forcefully, transparently and effectively.”
Santos responded to Mockus’ accusations of being “morally responsible” for the killings by saying that what is “immoral is to undermine the policy of democratic security which has changed the peace of the country.”