BOGOTA: Colombia’s attorney general’s office will charge former army commander General Mario Montoya for responsibility of 104 extrajudicial executions, as part of the “false positives” scandal, it said on Sunday.

The false positives took place between 2002 and 2008, during the term of ex-President Alvaro Uribe, when soldiers murdered civilians and registered them as guerrilla fighters killed in combat to receive benefits. The country’s transitional justice court (JEP) says at least 6,402 people were killed this way, but some victims’ groups allege the numbers could be higher.

The accusations against Montoya, who is retired, relate to killings that took place from November 2007 and November 2008, including the deaths of five minors.

Despite orders from the defense ministry and military command to prioritise captures, Montoya, 72, did not pass them on and continued to incentivise combat deaths, for which he will be charged with multiple counts of aggravated homicide, the attorney general’s office said.

“He continued to evaluate commanders by number of reported combat deaths,” said an attorney general’s office document.

“General Montoya continued to exert pressure on all the country’s commanders to comply with his policy of operational results, in which combat deaths were the only criteria for evaluating the campaign,” the document added.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd , 2021

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