United Nations representative Christian Salazar called on Colombia to investigate cases of unidentified persons killed in combat, who he claimed should be reclassified, Caracol Radio reported Friday.
Salazar commended the Defense Ministry’s recent identification of nearly 10,000 cadavers buried under the classification “NN,” or unidentified, in mass graves in Colombia, and made a series of recommendations, particularly regarding the cases of those classified as “NN muertos en combate” (unidentified killed in combat), who he said were often the result of extrajudicial or “false positive” killings.
“We estimate that between 2004 and 2008 more than 3,000 Colombians were executed extrajudicially, the majority attributed to the armed forces, and were presented as ‘NN killed in combat’ but were connected with forced disappearances,” said Salazar.
He added that there are numerous cases of unidentified killed in combat that have been closed without investigation, and that these should be reopened and examined by an independent commission.
The international body’s human rights representative said that the Defense Ministry and the public forces should work with President Juan Manuel Santos‘ administration to bring to light the human rights violations and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations that occurred during the conflict.
Salazar said the centralization of a national archive of those killed in combat is positive progress, but that the government and independent bodies should be able to access the records in order to obtain transparency regarding those cases.
Earlier in the week, Salazar reported that the Colombian armed forces and paramilitaries are responsible for a combined total of 16,000 forced disappearances in the country over the past three decades.