Crime & Justice

JEP charges former army commander with “false positives” for first time

Bogota, Aug 30 (EFE) – The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) indicted on Wednesday for the first time a former commander of the Colombian Army for the extrajudicial executions of innocent people, “false positives.”

The accused is retired general Mario Montoya and eight other military officers of 130 extrajudicial executions of innocent young people.

He is accused of “lying about the number of casualties, covering up cases of excessive use of force, pressuring members of military units under his command to obtain casualties ‘in combat,’ using violent language that exalted bloodshed and ordering that captures not be reported because he considered them undesirable operational results,” said the JEP’s truth recognition judge, Catalina Díaz.

For the same crimes, the Truth and Accountability Chamber of the JEP also charged lieutenant colonels Julio Alberto Novoa Ruiz and Iván Darío Pineda Recuero, as well as four-second lieutenants, a lieutenant, and a regular soldier, all former members of the Infantry Battalion No. 4 “Jorge Eduardo Sánchez” (BAJES) and retired from the Army.

“According to the Chamber’s order, these officers, through the articulation of generic and, in some cases, implicit orders and measures of diverse nature, instigated or induced the material executors, despite not always having direct contact with them and being, as a general rule, relatively far from the place of the perpetration,” the indictment chamber considered.

The JEP asked Montoya to acknowledge his responsibility as a “perpetrator” for having lied about the number of supposed FARC casualties, his cover-up of these war crimes, and the pressure he exerted on his subordinates.

Montoya is the highest-ranking military officer to have testified before this tribunal for the “false positives,” one of the darkest episodes of the conflict in which soldiers offered work to young people to take them to other parts of the country and kill them to present them as guerrillas killed in combat and thus obtain incentives and rewards from their superiors.

So far, the JEP considers that in the country, there were 6,402 deaths or forced disappearances illegitimately presented as combat casualties throughout the national territory between 2002 and 2008,” which corresponds to the government of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), of which Montoya was commander of the Army between 2006 and 2008.

With these new nine, the JEP has charged 62 people for “false positives” in Case 03, of which 55 have acknowledged their responsibility.

Of these new 130 crimes charged (among which there are four girls, 11 boys, and three persons with disabilities) to the nine ex-military personnel, 53 correspond to 2002 and 77 to 2003. EFE


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