|A woman in front of a banner of faces of young men who suffered extrajudicial killings. CINEP’s report points out that impunity produces the continuation of ‘false positives'. PHOTO: Semana|
|The statistics point out that the paramilitary, or Bacrim members, are the principal human rights violators. The report attributes to them 565 cases committed last year, followed by 268 acts committed by the National Police and 187 acts by National Army troops.|
(Bogotá) June 11, 2013 — The increase in the number of cases of “false positives” (extrajudicial killings), the continuation of paramilitarism and the impunity of rights violators are the most-worrying illegal practices in Columbia, according to a special 2012 report on the situation of human rights and international humanitarian law, presented by the Center of Research and Popular Education/Program for Peace (CINEP/PPP).
The study, which used the Data Bank of Human Rights and Political Violence, indicates that in 2012 there were 20 cases of “false positives” with 52 victims, while in 2011 there were 17 such acts with 85 victims.
Moreover, the statistics revealed that last year 58 extrajudicial executions, better known as “false positives”, came to light. These cases were committed between June 1, 1992 and December 20, 2011. These occurrences “had not been reported in previous publications because it was not until 2012 that they were presented and documented.”
The publication also calls attention to paramilitarism’s “more lively and dynamic” activity through the second-generation paramilitary groups that still exist after demobilization, called Bacrim. The statistics point out that the paramilitary, or Bacrim members, are the principal human rights violators. The report attributes to them 565 cases committed last year, followed by 268 acts committed by the National Police and 187 acts by National Army troops.
In terms of international humanitarian law, the paramilitary leads with 493 violations, followed by the FARC with 347, the National Army with 118, unidentified combatants with 98, the National Police with 72, and ELN with 48.
“False positives”: Do not disappear nor diminish
The CINEP/PPP points out in its study that “even though they recognize the efforts of the national government, it is clear that their measures are still insufficient and need to be supplemented in order to guarantee protection of human rights and international humanitarian law. Going forward, the government must have better control to avoid these kinds of violations by the police force, as well as a full guarantee that the same abuses will not be repeated.”
The research center adds that “the persecution of victims, survivors, and victim’s relatives is alarming, where the police force has also been involved. Here too there must be effective means of protection and respect for human rights.
The information collected in the study on human rights violations shows that last year there were 12 victims in 11 cases of extrajudicial execution (10 attributed to National Army troops and 1 to the National Police).
Among the violations there are also 8 arbitrary detentions against 39 people (2 committed by the army, 1 by the police, 2 by the Technical Investigation Unit of the attorney general (CTI), 1 by the army and the CTI, 1 by the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence and the Office of the Attorney General and 1 by Venezuelan army troops). There was also one person injured “under the responsibility of the National Army troops.”
The report exposed that those most affected by false positives are farmworkers, laborers, students, political opponents, merchants, independent workers, an ex-deputy, a handicapped woman, an indigenous man, a journalist and others without further information.
Cauca is the department most affected by these violations (6 cases), followed by Antioquia (4), Valle del Cauca (3), and Meta, Bogotá, Norte de Santander, Caquetá, Córdoba, Sucre, and Venezuela, with one violation each.
The registry from 2012 totaled to-date 58 cases of “false positives” committed between 1992 and 2012, which left 77 victims; 76 cases were extrajudicial executions and one victim was injured. According to the Data Bank of the CINEP/PPP, between 2001 and 2012 there were 695 rights violations and 1416 victims.
“Averted gaze” and paramilitarism
In its report, the CINEP/PPP expressed that “the panorama of judicial investigations is also worrying, due to the length of time in which they have been developing, the current status of the processes, and the few bold results, in contrast with the number of reported cases and the number of verdicts given.”
The agency called attention to other factors that indicate impunity, such as “the limited collaboration” of the Military Justice with Civilian Justice, the expiration of statutes of limitation, the existence of condemned soldiers who still continue in the service and the absence of means to protect the families of victims, witnesses, prosecutors, and judges.
The numbers in report contradict those of the government, and the report cites an interview with President Juan Manuel Santos in which he expressed that in 2012 there had not been a single complaint of a “false positive.”
For the CINEP/PPP, in the country there is “impunity” and an “averted gaze” to neither see nor address the root of these barbarous practices. The foundation adds that another situation similar to that of “false positives” has been that of paramilitarism, classifying both as “complementary strategies of a state drowning in violence.”
The analyses point out that paramilitarism “tries to blur its existence in media and institutional language with the usage of ‘Bacrim’ in an attempt to relate the phenomenon much more with common delinquency than with historical paramilistarism.”
The CINEP/PPP also establishes that “many of the current paramilitary structures admit to serving the ‘mining locomotive’ brought about by multinationals. Many admit to their victims the agreements that they have made with the police force and the messages of peace that they transmit to the high government.”
The statistics of the report relate human rights violations with mining. The registries show 12 cases in which 13 people were assassinated, 10 of which were apparently by paramilitaries. The most-affected zones are Puerto Gaitán, Meta (2 cases); Remedios, Segovia y Caucasia, Antioquia (5); Marmato, Caldas (2); La Sierra, Cauca (1); Montecristo, Bolivar (1); and Tumaco, Nariño (1).
Other violations were committed against land claimants. According to the study, in 2012 there were 24 incidences of this type.