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  • Relatives of Edison Lexcano, who disappeared 18 years ago, receive his mortal remains, Dabeiba, Colombia, Feb. 17, 2020.

    Relatives of Edison Lexcano, who disappeared 18 years ago, receive his mortal remains, Dabeiba, Colombia, Feb. 17, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 February 2020

Human rights defenders claim that at least 5,000 missing persons are buried in clandestine graves.

Colombia's Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) Monday found three more bodies in one of the mass graves of the Dabeiba cemetery, in the department of Antioquia, where it is presumed that more than fifty possible victims of extrajudicial executions were buried clandestinely.

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The first identified body belongs to Edison Lezcano, a farmer and father of three children who was 23 years old when killed by the Colombian Army in 2002.

He is one of about 5,000 cases of "false positives," a term used in Colombia to refer to disappeared persons who the Army murdered accusing them of being linked to insurgent organizations.

The JEP, which is an institution created by the 2016 Peace Agreements to investigate crimes committed during the armed conflict, sent his remains to the Institute of Legal Medicine.

"France's ambassador to Colombia Gautier Mignot sends a message in solidarity to the victims of extrajudicial executions and thanked the Dabeiba mayor and population for their commitment to peace. Truth for peace."

In Dec. 2019, the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (Movice) asked the JEP to establish adequate measures to protect 16 places where victims of the dirty war (1988-2014) could be buried.

So far, the JEP has received information about some 2,200 victims of extrajudicial executions whose bodies could be hidden in some 18 places scattered all over the Colombian territory.

According to a report delivered by the Colomba's Prosecutor General to the JEP, the disappearance and murder of persons had its most critical stage between 2006 and 2008, that is, during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), as local media recalled.

Currently, this far-right politician, who is considered the mentor of President Ivan Duque, faces legal proceedings for crimes of bribery of witnesses in cases where former paramilitaries are involved.

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