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Colombian State to Apologize Publicly for Extrajudicial Murders

  • Colombian woman holds the photo of her missing son.

    Colombian woman holds the photo of her missing son. | Photo: X/ @IvanCepedaCast

Published 3 October 2023

During the Uribe administration, 6,402 civilians were murdered by the Colombian army and falsely presented as guerrillas who had fallen in combat.

On behalf of the Colombian state, Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez and Army Commander Gen. Luis Ospina will publicly apologize for 19 extrajudicial executions in Bogota and Soacha that occurred during the administration of President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010).


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According to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), 6,402 civilians were assassinated by the Colombian state security forces and falsely portrayed as guerrillas killed in combat. These victims of state terrorism are known as "false positives."

The apology event will take place at 3 p.m. in Bogota City's Bolivar Square on Tuesday and will be attended by the victims' families.

These acts of State terrorism were carried out by the Colombian Armed Forces, which pressured troops to "show better results" in the anti-insurgency war.

In some cases, the modus operandi involved prior coordination between military and civilian personnel who recruited Indigenous citizens and poor people only to later murder them and present their corpses as guerrillas killed in combat.

"The public apology is another step toward addressing the impunity that has surrounded these cases," said the Jose Alvear Restrepo Organization (CAJAR), a group of lawyers working pro bono to promote human and environmental rights.

"While the pain of the families cannot be compensated for, this apology can serve as a form of reparation for them and for Colombian society, as it publicly acknowledges that State agents committed crimes."

"For many years, the military high command and then-President Uribe have attempted to downplay and even justify these crimes," CAJAR pointed out.


Alvaro Uribe
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