Colombia: Top generals implicated in 'false positive' killings


President Juan Manuel Santos and General Juan Pablo Rodriguez, one of the generals singled out by the report. Photo: Presidency of Colombia via TeleSUR.

Top generals in the Colombian army have been implicated in the long-running “false positives” military scandal, according to a new report Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on June 24.

“False positives” are extra-judicial killings carried by the Colombian army, in which unarmed civilians were killed by soldiers. The dead were then presented as “guerrillas” killed in combat, in a bid to portray the decades-long war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as successful. More than 3000 people were killed this way between 2002 to 2008.

Two serving generals, Jaime Lasprilla and Juan Pablo Rodriguez have been listed in the new report as being involved in “false positive” killings. The report also names dozens of other high-ranking active commanders.

President Juan Manuel Santos, however, rejected the accusations and called the report baseless. Despite this, he later met with HRW representatives and said he was committed to investigating anyone involved in the false positives scandal.

Declassified United States documents show the CIA knew about the practice since 1994 and was aware the Colombian army worked in coordination with paramilitary forces.

The report shows that the false positive killings happened while US troops were deployed within Colombia, working together with the Colombian army. HRW demanded Washington explain if US troops knew of the killings.

[Abridged from .]

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