Colombia’s Attorney General declined to confirm or speculate whether 11 youths from a city east of Bogotá were killed by paramilitaries or in combat with the army, saying only a prosecutors and judges will be able to make that conclusion.
Mario Iguarán Arana issued an unusual statement of eight questions and answers, perhaps anticipating the queries of journalists, reported El Espectador. Read the full text below.
Some weeks ago, the bodies of dozens of youth were found in a mass grave in northern Colombia. Officially reported by the army as guerrilla casualties, initial forensic evidence revealed they had been killed just days after their families, most in the city of Soacha, reported them missing.
The country’s defense minister launched an internal investigation shortly after the discovery.
- Was there recruitment? Yes, there was recruitment.
- Was their recruitment with criminal ends? Yes. I said and I say that they didn’t go to harvest coffee.
- Who was recruited? We don’t know. We are investigating which is the macabre network of enrollment.
- Where they killed by the Army? Yes, the Army itself assures that the troops shot them.
- Who is carrying out the urgent work, the inspection of the bodies? The CTI (Technical Investigation Body) of the Attorney General’s office.
- Were they killed in combat? We don’t know. We are investigating. For the moment, the Attorney General’s office can’t confirm, it can’t speculate that they were killed in combat.
- Who is should advance the investigation? Only the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General should advance it.
- Can Legal Medicine (the government morgue and forensic service) conclude or confirm that they were killed in combat? Legal Medicine can’t confirm. Only prosecutors and at the end judges can conclude that.