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Colombia army 'behind 6,400 extrajudicial killings'

19 Feb 2021 10:05, Somoy English Desk
Colombia army 'behind 6,400 extrajudicial killings'
Colombia army 'behind 6,400 extrajudicial killings'

An inquiry in Colombia has found that 6,402 civilians were killed by the military between 2002 and 2008 and falsely passed off as enemy combatants.

The number of killings, known as "false positives", is almost three times higher than previous estimates.

The inquiry is by a special court looking into crimes committed during a half century of conflict between troops and left wing rebels.

A peace deal ending the conflict was signed in 2016.

What were the "false positives?
It is the name given to the killings of young men - mainly from poor families - carried out by the Colombian army.

The army's aim was to pass them off as left-wing rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) to boost its kill rate and give the impression it was winning the armed conflict against the group.

Who's behind the investigation?
It is being carried out by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which was set up as part of the peace process after the left-wing Farc rebels signed the 2016 peace deal with the government.

The JEP is a transitional court system which was put in place for a period of 10 years to try all participants in the conflict, be they rebels or state actors.

Those who admit to their crimes up front will avoid jail time, but will be required to contribute in other ways to reconciliation - such as participating in programmes to remove landmines, build key infrastructure or construct monuments. 

What did the court find?
After having investigated kidnappings carried out by the Farc rebels, the court has now turned its attention to the "false positives" and crimes committed by government forces. 

Colombia's public prosecutor's office had acknowledged that there had been 2,249 "false positives" between 1988 and 2014 in a report it handed to the JEP last year.

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