Military aid provided by the United States to Colombia between 2000 and 2010 had a significant impact on the increase in cases over the extrajudicial killings of civilians by the army, known as “false positives,” according to a report released Thursday.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Colombia-Europe-United States Coordination (CCEEU) conducted this research, released on Thursday by the Lawyers Collective Jose Alvear Restrepo, who seek to “defend and promote human rights and the rights of peoples (…) in order to contribute to the fight against impunity.”
“There is a correlation between army brigades that received a medium level of US assistance with extrajudicial executions.”
The report states that it is an “attempt to understand what role was played (if any at all) by security assistance of the United States in the rise and fall of extrajudicial killings committed under the name of “false positives” by the Colombian Army during the period 2000-2010.”
The report revealed that “there is a correlation between army brigades that received a medium level of US assistance with extrajudicial executions.”
According to testimony from military leaders, the positive correlation can be explained by the fact that there was an established policy to produce inflated kill-counts so as not to miss out on US aid. As a result, military units engaged in the extrajudicial killings of civilians, which they subsequently presented as guerrillas killed in combat.
The report subsequently states that “a higher percentage of units commanded by officers trained by the United States between 2001 and 2003 committed multiple executions rather than randomly selected Colombian units.”
The report draws specific attention to Plan Colombia, a program of cooperation with the United States that was implemented in 2000 to end drug trafficking and to militarily defeat the guerrillas. It states that as a result of the cooperation there was “a substantial increase in extrajudicial killings by the Armed Forces and Police. ”
According to the data in the study, between 2000 and 2010, 5,763 extrajudicial executions were reported in Colombia, of which 1,821 were attributed to a specific unit of the army by witnesses, judicial agencies, and NGOs .
Estimates suggest that during the administration of former President and Senator-elect Alvaro Uribe, false positive cases grew by 101%.
Records began to decline in 2008 when the false positives scandal was revealed after a number of young civilians from the town of Soacha, near Bogota, were deceived by the army through a non-existent job and then executed, only to be then presented as combat kills dressed in guerrilla fatigues.
Accordingly, US investment began to decline because of the misuse of aid and the corresponding deterioration in human rights.