Colombian Military Personnel Commit to “Zero Violations” of Human Rights

By Dialogo
June 15, 2011

Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera promised that extrajudicial executions carried out by military personnel will not remain unpunished or be repeated, and he committed to “zero violations of human rights” among the armed forces.

“These cases are not going to remain unpunished, nor are they going to be repeated,” said Rivera, who nonetheless specified that “not all denunciations correspond to reality.” He also committed to collaborating with civilian justice so that all complaints are investigated “with full rigor.”

The Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating 1,486 reports of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law allegedly committed by members of the armed forces, Attorney General Viviane Morales revealed.

At a public event, Minister Rivera launched a strategy named “Zero violations of human rights means zero impunity,” which foresees fifteen measures, including a joint effort with the Public Prosecutor’s Office on crimes committed by uniformed personnel not under the heading of their official activities.

“Those most interested in quick and strict justice are the government and the military,” Rivera affirmed, after warning that “no case of human-rights violation can be heard by the military criminal justice system.”

At the end of 2008, when current president Juan Manuel Santos was serving as defense minister in former president Álvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010), the military was shaken by the scandal of the extrajudicial execution of fourteen youths from the depressed locality of Soacha, near Bogotá.

The youths, who were missing, were found dead in separate instances in the country’s northeast and reported by the Army as leftist guerrillas killed in combat.

According to defenders of human rights, these executions were encouraged by a 2005 Defense Ministry directive in which it was suggested that combat casualties would be rewarded with bonuses.

Up to the present, the Colombian judicial system has handed down convictions in 125 cases of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the majority of them committed by members of the armed forces, with a total of 344 uniformed personnel convicted of those violations, announced Attorney General Morales, who attended the event in Bogotá.

It’s terrible to see people that have compromised themselves with the security of our country involved in humiliating acts such as the violation of human rights and even more from people like these boys. We hope that this government will have a firm hand on these crooks. We will see! Lady: I understand that the language on the Internet is more casual. But the spelling mistakes and the bad writing on your comment make the message you want to communicate practically unintelligible. Remember that the more articulate we are, the better we can protest and fight for our rights.

I believe. that. what. you. say. is. true