Home » Colombia’s Former Army Chief Indicted for 130 Extrajudicial Killings
Colombia Crime Government News South America

Colombia’s Former Army Chief Indicted for 130 Extrajudicial Killings

Colombia’s former army commander, retired General Mario Montoya, is responsible for 130 extrajudicial killings committed between 2002 and 2003, according to war crimes tribunal JEP.

All victims were falsely presented as combat kills to the press, JEP magistrate Catalina Diaz told journalists at a press conference.

Montoya’s indictment was the result of war crime investigations in the Eastern Antioquia region while the retired general was the commander of the 4th Brigade.

According to the JEP indictment, Montoya was partly responsible for the extrajudicial executions in Eastern Antioquia because he ordered his subordinates only to report combat kills.

While communicating with his troops, Montoya ordered them to report “liters,” “rivers,” “barrels,” or “tanks” of blood,” notes taken by army field officers showed, according to the indictment.

Defendants told the JEP that the commander of the IV Brigade, retired General Mario Montoya Uribe, conveyed the message that he only wanted casualties and no other as operational results.

Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)

The former general and his immediate subordinates additionally disincentivized and rejected the reporting of other operational results like arrests of injured guerrillas.

The commanders reproached the lack of results through radio programs with expressions such as: “What happened to the results?”, “How many days have you been without casualties?”, “Is it that there are no guerrillas in the Ospina area or what? Could it be that there aren’t?”, “You are good for nothing”, “You are only stealing salaries”, “You are only eating the rations and nothing else.” Another consequence was the transfers. Soldiers who did not report casualties had to stay in the mountains or in the hills indefinitely, while those who did report could patrol in the towns and enjoy better conditions.

Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)

As a consequence of Montoya’s explicit and implicit orders, army units in Eastern Antioquia stopped reporting on operational results that weren’t combat kills.

In some cases, Montoya knowingly lied to news media to present victims of extrajudicial executions or military accidents as guerrillas killed in combat.

Of the 130 documented crimes, 53 people were killed in 2002 and 77 in 2003. Of these, 113 were men, eleven were boys, five were women and four were girls. In addition, three victims were disabled. Most of the direct victims were men (86.9%) and the survivors were mostly women (76.5%). Of the 81 crimes confessed by those who appeared before the JEP, 33 were also forcibly disappeared and buried as unidentified persons. In the framework of the judicial investigations in the ordinary justice system, it was possible to establish the identity of some of the victims who were forcibly disappeared. However, the Chamber found that 25 victims remain unidentified.

Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP)

Montoya and his co-defendants have 30 days to accept responsibility for their role in the so-called “false positives” scandal, which cost the lives of 6,402 civilians between 2002 and 2008, according to the JEP.

If the suspects deny their responsibility, they will not be eligible for participation in the transitional justice process, which includes their release from prison and victim reparations.

Source : colombiareports