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Excomandante del Ejército colombiano será imputado por más de 100 homicidios

Former commander of the Colombian Army will be charged with more than 100 homicides

Retired General Mario Montoya will be charged with the executions of 104 civilians presented as rebels killed in combat during his time in command of the Colombian Army (2006-2008), the Prosecutor's Office announced this Saturday, July 31.
"We are going to impute him as the determiner for aggravated homicide (...) of 104 of the so-called false positives," Attorney General Francisco Barbosa told Semana magazine, alluding to the scandal in which the military executed thousands of civilians among 2002 and 2008 to pass them off as casualties in the midst of a fierce anti-guerrilla struggle.

According to the investigating body, these murders occurred between 2007 and 2008 and five of the victims were minors. "All the perpetrators were active members of the Army," added Barbosa.

Montoya submitted in 2018 to the Special Justice of Peace (JEP), which investigates the worst crimes of the conflict and offers alternative sentences to jail to those who confess their crimes and make reparations to the victims. His file has not been resolved.

According to the JEP, more than 6,400 civilians were killed during Álvaro Uribe's government by soldiers encouraged by a body count or awarded body count .

The prosecution's indictment seeks to “help” the court that emerged from the agreements with the FARC guerrillas in 2016 to clarify these crimes, Barbosa explained.

Several of Montoya's subordinates have admitted to the JEP that they murdered civilians to present them as combat casualties in exchange for vacation days and other benefits.

The then army major Gustavo Soto told AFP in 2020 that Montoya measured operational results "in deaths."

According to Barbosa, the retired officer "went to the brigades, to the battalions, to the divisions (...) with the policy of rewards for those executions."
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