Colombian President Alvaro Uribe slammed plans to question armed forces commander General Freddy Padilla over the “false positives” scandal, in which the army murdered civilians to inflate rebel kill statistics, reports El Espectador.
“I categorically reject the accusations against Freddy Padilla … useful idiots are looking to threaten democratic security, but General Padilla is satisfied that the Colombian people are with him,” Uribe said at a police college south of Bogota.
Sources close to the general said Padilla had not yet received official notification from the Prosecutor General’s Office, which has said it will call the general to testify in the investigations into extrajudicial killings.
Uribe complained that there “are attacks everyday against democratic security, raising false accusations against our generals.”
“Every day ways are found to attack this government and prevent their efforts, this little egg of democratic security has to grow and germinate so that future generations enjoy the full guarantees of security that this government and the armed forces have undertaken,” Uribe said.
“This is extremely serious for the morale of the armed forces,” the president said. “This government is going on August 7, but there are the armed forces and the Colombian people who still require the defeat of terrorism,” he added.
General Padilla declined to comment on the issue, saying only that he was committed to the “democratic security, happiness and prosperity of Colombians.”
In early May, the commander said that investigations into extrajudicial killings are the job of the Colombian justice system, and not the International Criminal Court, following a request by the ICC to open investigations.
“How can we turn to international justice to help us clarify what happened in Colombia, when we have judges and lawyers known for their integrity,” Padilla said.
Freddy Padilla handed in his resignation as armed forces commander in May, and will stand down in August.