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During the Uribe administration, the military received financial rewards each time they featured dead civilians as guerrilla fighters killed in combat.
On Monday, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) called on Colombian ex-generals Jaime Lasprilla, Miguel Perez, and William Perez and seven Army officials to testify about their implication in 267 extrajudicial killings committed by military personnel in the Huila department between 2002 and 2008.
"These military men will appear to clarify the full and exhaustive truth of what happened and to guarantee justice for the victims of Huila department,” the Court stressed, adding that the trial against them will be held between Oct.12 and Nov. 17.
Before calling them to testify, the JEP contrasted the statements of 81 members of the ninth Army Brigade, which was then operating in that department, with information gathered from judicial inspections and NGO reports. These organizations agreed that the officers received financial rewards each time they featured dead civilians as guerrilla fighters killed in combat.
In February, the JEP revealed that the number of extrajudicial executions carried out between 1988 and 2014 was 6,402, almost triple what the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office had reported.
Blanquita, 62, holds an image of her son, lost in Colombia’s extrajudicial killings. She and other mothers were in Bogotá’s main public square today: International Day of the Disappeared. It is believed over 6.402 fell victim to these killings, known in ���� as “false positives”. pic.twitter.com/Dg2lJc0aKi
Sixty-seven percent of the extrajudicial killings happened during President Alvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010), according to a report from the Court, which adjudicates the armed conflict trials since the signing of the 2016 Peace Agreement.
After hearing about the new figures, Uribe claimed that they were based on information from nongovernmental organizations that opposed his government. “There is not a single military man who can say he received an undue insinuation from me,” he stated and defended his “Democratic Security” policy against the guerrillas.
During his administration, however, the violation of human rights was obvious: due to press reports, for example, Uribe was forced to suspend 27 soldiers, some of whom were later sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
While the cases of judicial assassinations were not part of the front pages, Uribe ignored the denunciations made by the human right defenders and evaded sanctioning his soldiers. Following the Colombian far-right's denialist narratives, President Ivan Duque also questioned the validity of the JEP report and requested that all the data be verified.